No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. -Aesop
I have the best neighbours. The kind that appear out of thin air to give your car a push when your wheels are spinning on an icy driveway, but otherwise, you would not even fathom that a family of four lived next door. How they figured out that my children were being deprived of a great childhood joy, I don’t know. But early this year, my neighbour ringed our doorbell, holding two jars of homemade yumness. One of these jars contained homemade Nutella.
Years ago, my husband and I had decided to be rid of all ultra-processed foods and so, out went Nutella. In hindsight, it wasn’t such a drastic change for us as we were already making a lot of what we ate from scratch, but a homemade version of Nutella wasn’t a part of that so my children were surely missing out on this delight. I still laugh now thinking of our neighbour advising that her homemade version would only keep well in the fridge for up to one month. I found the emptied jar less than a week later. The last traces of the spread spooned and wiped out by small fingers, not a single bit of it wasted. Kindness, you know, never is.
Of course, with all the begging and whining that pursued, I had to get the recipe from her. The one she had used can be found here and belongs to the great and ever popular Montréal pastry chef, Patrice Demers. But the rate at which my children consumed this stuff, I had to find a better substitute for the refined sugar. I opted for using jaggery. Here is my version of this yummy spread. We will be making a few jars to give this holiday season to spread (and yes, pun very much intended!) some joy elsewhere!
Healthy & Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Spread (adapted from here)
(yields 500 ml)
- 280 g de-shelled hazelnuts (with or without skin)
- 50 g good quality cacao powder
- 120 g jaggery (unrefined cane sugar)
- a pinch of salt
- 4-5 tbsp hazelnut oil (Maison Orphée makes a good one!)*
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 8-10 minutes until they are golden brown (without skin) or the skin begins to split and peel (with skin). Keep a watchful eye as they can burn easily!
- If the hazelnuts have skin, wrap hot hazelnuts in a tea towel and let cool slightly. When cooled enough to handle, rub them with the towel to loosen and break off the skin. Collect the hazelnuts, leaving behind the skins. If there are still traces of skin on some of the hazelnuts, no worries!
- Let the hazelnuts cool completely.
- In a food processor, grind hazelnuts and jaggery. Add the cacao and 4 tbsp hazelnut oil and continue until homogeneous and smooth. Add additional oil if required for desired consistency. Will keep well in the fridge for up to one month.
*Not paid advertisement.