[Text by Jordan Frand]
[Photos by Jordan Frand & Andrew McFarland]
Nutella. The mere mention of it is enough to send mouths a-watering, because there is something simply transcendent about the combination of chocolate and hazelnuts. This marriage, like so many, arose from privation. Several hundred years ago Europe developed a taste for cacao, a storied and precious commodity in its Latin American colonies which Europeans blended with sugar, creating what we today recognize as chocolate bars. But this was a case of expensive taste, as cacao is difficult to grow in large quantities and the cost of importing cacao was (and still is) quite high. Somewhere in Italy a very wise soul thought to make the most of their meagre, costly chocolate by blending it with local hazelnuts, which were abundant and cheap. And so gianduia was born, the solid predecessor of today’s Nutella and similar spreadable/squeezable gianduia pastes.
I’ve always adored Nutella but have also struggled with its cloying sweetness. And by “struggled” I mean “am only able to eat a quarter of a tub as opposed to the whole thing before feeling sick.” So when I saw this recipe on The Kitchn, a dairy-free and relatively less sugary version, I knew it was time to try my hand at a chocolate-hazelnut paste more to my liking. See below for my adapted version of The Kitchn’s recipe, with even less sugar than they call for and the addition of cardamom, one of my favorite flavors and I think a great pairing with that roasty-toastiness of chocolate and hazelnut. I also use coconut oil instead of canola. The light coconut flavor works well, though it should be noted that coconut oil becomes solid below about 75° F. This means my Not-ella is liquid right out of the food processor, but in the fridge it will solidify into something more scrapeable than spreadable.
We had some fruit and graham crackers to dip, but I think my favorite way to eat Not-ella is on a spoon. A very big spoon. But there’s no reason to rush to eat this nutella – it can technically last two weeks in the refrigerator if you have more self control than I do. Good thing we didn’t finish it all in one day, though. Dasha came in the next day with crêpes, freshly made by her grandmother visiting from the Ukraine. Thank you, babushka!
Jordan’s Not-ella (adapted from The Kitchn)
Makes ~6 ounces
1 cup toasted hazelnuts, peeled
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
1/4 cup powdered sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons coconut oil
5 dashes Scrappy’s cardamom bitters, or to taste
Place the hazelnuts in your food processor and blend continuously until they turn into a smooth butter, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and continue blending until smooth and creamy. If stored in the refrigerator, the nutella is good 2 weeks.Posted on