Low-Sugar, Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Nutella is pretty incredible… flavor, texture, addictive-quality.  Here’s the hitch: it’s loaded with sugar (21 grams per serving!), has artificial flavoring (vanillin), added palm oil and an emulsifier.  We know that this delicious little devil contains more sugar than any other ingredient in its line-up since sugar is the first ingredient listed on the label.  It is not the healthy breakfast spread that the marketing gurus would like for us to believe.

Why all this chatter about sugar?  I believe we should all be mindful of our sugar intake given that it seems to creep into so many foods in our modern diets, but there’s also a personal tie.  I have been vigilant of this sweet seductress ever since I discovered I have insulin resistance.  And, watching my sugar intake has become even more important since getting pregnant, for I knew there was a strong possibility of developing gestational diabetes.  I am proud to say that at 32 weeks, I have successfully staved off  this beast – fingers crossed it stays this way!  I have low sugar, dessert-type snacks such as the Healthy Chocolate Hazelnut Spread to thank for this mini-victory since it satiates my sweet tooth without spiking blood glucose levels.   Other than the tedious task of removing the skin on the hazelnuts, this also happens to be a quick and simple treat to make.

Healthy Chocolate Hazelnut Spread


*2 cups raw hazelnuts (240 grams)

*1 1/2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

*1/4 cup cocoa powder

*1/4 cup maple syrup (you can add another Tbsp sugar if you want it to taste sweet and don’t mind extra sugar)

*1/4 tsp + small pinch salt

*3 tsp coconut oil (mildly flavored expeller-pressed olive oil works well, too)

*1/4 cup milk

*1/4 to 1/2 tsp espresso powder (I used 1/2 tsp)

*optional 1/4 large, ripe banana (gives it a hint of banana flavor – which I happen to love with chocolate – and adds a slightly smoother texture)

how to

Step 1 Roast hazelnuts at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 to 10 minutes.

Step 2 Remove skin from hazelnuts.  There are different ways to conquer this slightly tedious task and be sure to note that you do not need to get all of the skins off (it’s nearly impossible and would take forever)!  I place hazelnuts in a large jar and shake vigorously.  I then remove the skin that has come off, place back in the jar and repeat this process one more time.  Then, I take a small handful of hazelnuts at a time and rub between my palms to remove even more skin.  I’ve also read that once hazelnuts cool, you can simply rub small handfuls between a paper towel and the skin comes off.

Step 3 Add hazelnuts to food processor and blend for about 6 minutes, scraping sides every one to two minutes.

Step 4  Add all ingredients to a food processor.  Blend for 3 minutes – occasionally, scraping sides every minute to ensure that all the good stuff gets into the mix.

Step 5 Refrigerate

nutella in jar

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