24
Feb
11

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

In college, I spent a semester abroad in Paris. Contrary to what I often hear about the French and their attitude towards foreigners, I found Parisians to be very friendly. I was there during the months leading up to the 2008 election, and when strangers heard my accent they would smile and say “Obama?” I wasn’t sure exactly what the question was, but I would answer, “Oui, Obama!” and we would give each other a thumbs-up. I never felt alienated for being an American in Paris…I did, however, feel alienated for being a vegetarian in Paris.

In traditional French restaurants, the only vegetarian meal is often a salad. When I would go to a bakery and ask for a vegetarian sandwich, I would usually get a dirty look and a suggestion of chicken or tuna. And that is the story of why I subsisted for four months on mainly baguettes and spreads to put on the baguettes.

My topping of choice for bread, crepes, and fruit was always Nutella, but I haven’t had any since I’ve returned to the States and to my healthier vegan diet. Today I decided to make a vegan version of my old favorite, adapted from a blog post by David Lebovitz. It won’t be perfectly smooth like Nutella from a jar, but it’s perfectly tasty. It’s Not-ella.

Makes about 12 ounces.

Ingredients:

1 1/6 cup blanched hazelnuts

1/6 cup whole almonds

1/8 cup non-dairy creamer

3/8 cup plain soy milk

5.5 oz vegan dark chocolate

1 tbs maple syrup

2 tbs granulated sugar

pinch of salt

A note about the ingredients:

Try to find hazelnuts that have already been stripped of their skins; stripping them yourself is a pain. David Lebovitz suggested, in his post, that you can probably omit the almonds and use all hazelnuts instead. I like David Lebovitz and he’s probably right, but I also like almonds, so I left them in. For the non-dairy creamer, I used sweetened Mimicreme. I would have preferred Silk, but I couldn’t find it today at the store. Finally, though any vegan dark chocolate should work (including chocolate chips), I used a chocolate bar called Alter Eco.

Instructions:

Spread the hazelnuts and almonds on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes, until golden brown.

Put the creamer, soy milk, and chocolate in a microwavable bowl. Heat in the microwave until the chocolate is melted, stopping at 30 second intervals to stir.

When the chocolate is melted, add the maple syrup, sugar, and salt and stir to combine.

Once the nuts are lightly toasted, put them in the bowl of a food processor. Grind them as finely as you can.

Add half of the chocolate mixture to the nuts and process until smooth.

Scrape the sides of the food processor with a spatula and add the rest of the chocolate mixture. Again, process until smooth.

Transfer the Notella to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use. It will thicken a bit when it’s cold, so you might want to microwave it for a few seconds before serving it as a spread.

Wondering what to do with all this Notella? Stay tuned to Vegan Valentine!

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