This chocolate spread always feels like a decadent treat. It’s so simple to make, has so many uses and I feel good serving it to my kids because I know exactly what’s in it. This nut butter not only feels like a chocolaty treat but also delivers vitamins, minerals and healthy fats.
Hazelnuts are high in Vitamin E, which is a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential for healthy skin, nails and hair; as well, they contain an antioxidant that helps protect cell membranes from free radical damage. Coconut oil is comprised of healthy fats in the forms of medium-chain fatty acids that are found in plant-based oils that are easily converted to energy in the body, instead of being stored as fat. The raw cacao powder is packed with magnesium that is known as the “anti-stress” mineral, promoting relaxation of the smooth muscles and the gastrointestinal tract.
So when it comes to making nut butter there are two things that are important to understand (which I have learned the hard way). First, roasting nuts in the oven at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes releases the nuts’ natural oils and will give you more of the “store-bought” texture faster than the soaking method. So, sounds great, right? This method does work really well and I have used it several times; however, it is important to mention that by heating the nuts in the oven they can oxidize, losing the good stuff, like delicate vitamins. Also, heating nuts can make the good fats we want turn rancid. The healthier alternative is to soak the nuts as a means of softening them and preserving their nutrient profile as much as possible. When you soak them and place them in the food processor it takes longer and you need to add oil (such as coconut oil) to help it process into that desired nut butter texture.
The choice is yours as to which preparation route you choose to take with your hazelnuts. I tend to make the choice based on what I want out of the recipe. If I am using the nut butter in a raw dessert, I will often roast them for texture and a deeper taste. If I am making a batch of nut butter for a fruit dip fruit that week, then I will take the extra time to process soaked nuts to ensure I am getting optimal nutrition from the nut butter. The pictures for this post illustrate the texture of the nut butter when the nuts are soaked, you can check out my Brazil nut Butter recipe if you want to compare the texture to the roasted method.
DIY Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
- 2 cups plain hazelnuts
- 2-3 tbsp raw cacao powder adjust based on how chocolaty you want it
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- pinch fine sea salt
- 2 tbsp coconut oil only if you choose the soaking method
- Either soak nuts with 1 cup of filtered water for 2-4 hours or place them on a baking sheet at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes (choice of method explained above)
- Process all ingredients in a food processor or high-powered blender until well combined, smooth and creamy (remember only add the coconut oil if you used the soaking method). The roasted nuts take about 5-8 minutes and the soaked nuts can take 8-12 minutes.
- Scoop it into a glass jar with a secure lid and refrigerate.