The first thing you should know is that making your own chocolate spread is easy, and you don’t even need to use the hob or the oven.
The second thing you should know about chocolate spread is that the popular Nutella brand of chocolate spread isn’t as good for you or the planet as you might think.
- Palm Oil
- Milk powder
- Soy Lecithin – Is an emulsifier and is used to stop the ingredients separating out as the jars sit on the supermarket shelves. It’s used a lot in food production and isn’t harmful–unless you have a soy allergy.
- Vanilla flavour
So even though Nutella is a chocolate hazelnut spread, the two main ingredients are sugar and palm oil. Hazelnuts make up only 13% of what’s in your jar, and cocoa only 7.4%. That’s not much is it?
In our Mini Yummers recipe, we won’t be using milk or milk powder, as we want it to taste more chocolately, but we will be using vanilla–only ours will be natural vanilla. We don’t need to use emulsifiers as our chocolate spread won’t be sitting on the shelf for months–I guarantee it will be eaten within weeks (even days)!
We will be using oil and sugar, just as Nutella does, only not as much as they do, and we won’t be using palm oil. Our main stars will be cocoa and hazelnuts.
What’s Up With Palm Oil?
Manufacturers use palm oil a lot because it’s cheap and has a long shelf life. However, palm oil is often taken from trees in Malaysia and Indonesia that are cut down and not replaced. This is called deforestation.
These trees are home to many species of wildlife, and palm oil production is harming this wildlife and the environment. Animals that are endangered, or critically endangered–such as the orangutan–are losing their homes.
In our chocolate spread we will use either rapeseed oil, mild and light olive oil, vegetable oil, or sunflower oil–orangutans would approve.
Stuff You’ll Need
- 150g (1 heaped cup) hazelnuts
- 50g (1/2 cup) ground almonds
- 30g (1/3 cup) dark/unsweetened cocoa
- 130g (3/4 cup) icing sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
Let’s Get Going
1. Pop your hazelnuts in a food processor, blender, or mini chopper–you’ll need a grown-up to show you what to do. Process the hazelnuts until they are ground up into a powder. It will probably stick together like a sort of dry paste.
Use unblanched hazelnuts to add even more nutrients to your spread. Unblanched means that you use hazelnuts with their papery skins left on. It leaves you with a more grainy looking spread (like the one in our main picture) rather than a smooth one, but it saves time and has added goodness if you leave these skins on.
If you want a nice smooth paste like Nutella though, you’ll need to get rid of the skins, and you do this by blanching your hazelnuts. Blanching just means that you cook them for a short time. The easiest way to blanch hazelnuts is to cook them for a few minutes in water with a spoon of bicarbonate of soda added. Then plonk them into a bowl of cold water. Most of the skins will come off, and others will need a bit of a rub with a tea towel to completely remove the skin.
The chocolate spread you’ve made will keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks, but is usually gobbled up way before then 🙂 You can spread it on toast, dollop it on pancakes, or use it as a delicious dip for fruit.
Can you think of any other yummy uses for chocolate spread? Let us know and we’ll try and get it into a recipe for you.
Image credit: With thanks to axinar for the orangutan image.