The Nutty Professor–in Two Parts

[Just look at that icy, smooth surface. . . dig in!]

The Nutty Part:

Ever since I created that Walnut-Cacao Nib Butter a while back, I’ve gone all-out nutty.  Seems a day cannot go by without my consuming some form of nut butter.  I had already been enjoying nuts on this ACD (one of the few snack-like treats you can have), but now I’m totally over the top for nut butters.  From the original, walnut-cacao nib:

to almond with coconut butter (a great way to ensure your almond butter is nice and firm for spreading):

to Walnut-Carob Chip:

to cashew-cinnamon and almond-hempseed–I’ve been enjoying them all.  With my trusty food processor and about 10 minutes of time, I’m able to enjoy any number of creative, artisanal nut butters from any combination of nuts to produce a plethora of different flavors and textures.

Oh, and don’t forget seed butters, either, like this crunchy sunflower seed butter I used in my sunbutter chocolate cups:

Yum.

Well, it’s finally happened:  I went too far (I know–and you thought that painting my high school in the dead of night was “too far.”  See, everything is relative!).

As you may know, I am a chocoholic. Oh, yes, and also a sweets-a-holic.  Oh, and a dessert-a-holic.  Also a sweet potato-a-holic.  Not to mention a kale-a-holic.

But mostly, a chocoholic.

When I first went on the ACD some ten years ago, I cut out certain foods from my life because they were just too, too bad for me. As much as I wanted to devour a Wunderbar (one of my all-time favorites) on a daily basis, I knew it would be disastrous if I did.  So, too, with milk chocolate, Caramilk, Icy Squares, and any number of other “chocolate” bars (not to mention that they contain milk products, something I no longer consume).

When I had my sweets relapse in December 2008, it didn’t take long for me to fall back into old habits–scarfing down entire (family-sized) chocolate bars in one sitting, eating sugar and wheat-laden baked goods, or (I would be embarrassed to admit this if I hadn’t already confessed to the school-painting thing), scooping canned frosting straight from the can and into my waiting maw (and just look at that list of ingredients–no wonder I got sick!).

But the one thing I never ate again was Nutella.  I’m not sure if it’s because with its hydrogenated palm oil, powdered milk, and sugar, sugar, sugar, I somehow felt that was a step too far; or maybe it was the incredibly inflated price tag; or, could be, it was merely my own lassitude (brought on by excess sugar consumption, no doubt), as they don’t carry it at my local health-food store. Whatever the reason, I ended up getting back on the ACD wagon last March and hadn’t experienced Nutella again.  But I never forgot about that dreamy, creamy, satiny smooth and brilliantly chocolately spread.

[Look at how spreadable!]

I’ve attempted a few versions of my own homemade nutella in the past, but they always turned out gritty, or chalky, or too thick for what I remembered: a perfectly silky, pillowy, melty spread with a hint of chocolate and mostly hazelnut aroma.  Nothing I made seemed to approximate that enchanting spread of my memory.

Until now.

Yes, dear readers, it took being on the ACD for 15 months for me to create a chocolate-hazelnut spread worthy of anyone’s taste buds.  And today, I am going to share it with you!

Be warned: you do not want to make too much of this at one time.  You will taste it, and you will fall in love.  It will call to you from the refrigerator while you fiddle with your stir-fry for dinner; it will entice you while you recline on the couch to watch your soap opera; it will torment you as you slog through another session on the treadmill; it will whisper to you while you lie in bed and think about what to write in tomorrow’s blog post.  In short, you will be addicted, in short order.

I don’t know why I never thought of this before, but with homemade nutella, simpler is definitely better.  Last week, spying a jar of pure hazelnut butter on sale at 50% off, I imagined I’d throw together yet another nut-butter concoction. On the heels of my previous nut-butter extravaganzas, I assumed it would turn out as a simple chocolate-scented hazelnut butter, not a reproduction of Nutella.  But the results were revelatory!

Now, I’m addicted to this hazelnut-chocolate butter as well.  I can’t get enough of it.  I suppose it’s better than canned frosting, but even too much of a good thing can be too much.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The Professor Part:

As the only full-time faculty member in my department who teaches through the entire summer, I end up with a fairly heavy course load each May through August.  While other professors teach what are called “compressed” courses (6 hours per week for 7 weeks), my students have me for an entire 14-week semester (no doubt they’re thrilled).

What this means is that crunch time for me is now. Rather than continue to do too many things inefficiently, I’ve decided to ease off the blog a little bit until I catch up on my mega-marking.  So if you see less frequent posting from me over the next 2-3 weeks, please be patient!  I’ll be back soon.

In the meantime, you can still find me at the DDD Fan Page or on twitter. :)  I’m also still seeking recipe testers for my two upcoming ebooks.  All recipes are ACD-friendly (Phases I and II).  If you’re on a restricted diet or are willing to try out gluten free, stevia (and/or yacon and/or vegetable glycerin)-sweetened recipes, let me know.  I’ll take names up until Monday, June 28th and will send out an email to the participants then.  Just email me at dietdessertdogs AT gmail DOT com.

Today’s (totally optional, please-don’t-feel-you-have-to-answer, but please-DO- still-leave-a-comment-even-if-you-don’t-answer) question:

Do you have a favorite nut butter?  If so, what is it?  (And I’d love to hear about any of your own homemade creations as well!).

Never miss a recipe–or a comment from The Girls! Click here to subscribe to RickiHeller.com via email. You’ll get recipes as soon as they’re posted, plus cookbook updates and news about upcoming events! (“We love subscribers, Mum. . . almost as much as we love treats!”)

Since it’s healthy AND great for snacking, I’m submitting this recipe to Amy over at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free for her Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays event.  Check out the other healthy dishes, too!

Two Years Ago: Avocado Mayonnaise

You Might Also Enjoy: Sweet Almond Sauce

© 2010 Ricki Heller

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Comments

  1. The Notella looks so delicious! I can definitely see me devouring a whole batch of that in one sitting. And the sunbutter cups too.
    Your photos are just beautiful!

  2. Those nut and seed butter creations sound amazing! And look delicious too!

  3. I tried a vegan nutella very early in my blogging and it was delicious but not at all like nutella because it used dark chocolate and ground nuts. I fancy trying it again with hazelnut butter because every now and again I just have to have nutella (actually don’t remind me that I think there is half a jar in the pantry!)

    good luck with marking – hope it doesn’t take too much notella to get you through it

  4. Your notella (and all of the other combinations of nut butters) looks so good!

    To answer your question, my favorite nut butter is cashew. It has just the right amount sweetness. Often I will have a spoonful of cashew butter by itself for dessert. It also makes a really awesome dip for tortilla chips.

  5. I made some nutella a week before last. I made my own hazelnut butter and our recipes are almost identical except I used powdered sugar cane juice crystals (though I’d rather use something else, I’m just not a super fan of stevia). It came out SO well and it’s killer on tart green apples. Divine!

  6. Catofstripes says:

    Hi,

    I don’t really like the chocolate spreads at all, Nutella has never called my name and the vegan alternatives I’ve tried are none of them good enough to make me buy a second jar. And it’s the same with nut spreads, I use peanut butter (not a nut) but nearly entirely in cooking savoury sauces. Other seed and nut butters I’ve tried don’t bring me back for more either.

    I love hazelnuts but would rather dip the whole toasted nuts in some nice dark chocolate as a treat than mush them up together.

  7. What a clever cookie you are Ricki. This is inspired and it looks lush :)

  8. Another great Ricki recipe for the ever-expanding gotta-try-it list. None of our local stores have hazelnut butter so may have to order it from Amazon. My fridge has peanut, almond, and cashew butters and each is my one favorite while I’m eating it. Rita and I sampled a coconut spread once that was OK but I never bought more.

  9. My Mom and brother love the Peanut Butter & Co. flavours but you’re giving them a run for their money with all of your creative concoctions. I should make some jar for gift giving this year – to get them away from the less natural alternative. I made a nutella last week to enjoy with my raw scones it wasn’t ACD friendly but quite empowering to be able to make perfectly spreadable nut butters at home. I love the sounds of the walnut cacao nut butter and hope to give it a try soon.

    Happy marking! xo

  10. Before I was a vegan (long ago in ancient times), I wasn’t a fan of nuts or nutbutters. And I didn’t like chocolate. I’ve never even tasted Nutella, or at least don’t remember it. Now I’m really curious about what it tastes like, and why everyone finds it so addictive! I’ve seen Miel’s version, and now yours, and am thinking maybe I should finally make some and see how it tastes. I usually have cashew, peanut and almond butters as well as tahini, for cooking, but I really don’t usually spread them on things and eat them plain. Weird, I know. Cashew is my favorite, but I’d rather eat a handful of cashews.

  11. I’m a crunchy almond butter type of gal, but all of your nut/seed butters sound delicious. And I love me some hazelnuts and chocolate, so Notella is definitely my type of indulgence, too.

  12. Seriously, that looks like my breakfast plate! I can’t believe someone else likes the brown rice cake / nut butter combo :) Just finished mixed nut butter (brazil, almond, and cashew) with cinnamon and a wee bit of salt, no sweetener required! Though, this Nutella version looks yummy too :)

  13. We must be on the same wavelength! I just experimented making carob nutella yesterday! It was okay, but a little gritty. I did do if from whole hazelnuts though. I like your idea of using already made hazelnut butter. Perhaps adding the coconut butter would make it smoother. I think I will try it in attempt #2!

  14. Courtney says:

    Confession time…I don’t like nut butters. At all. Or nuts, for that matter. Do you hate me?!? I feel like I should be kicked out of the vegan club or something, lol! Everyone is obsessed with the stuff. I try to “hide” it in things because I know nuts and nut butters are good for me, but I could never eat some on a sandwich or straight out of the jar or anything–yuck :-)

    Courtney

  15. I love-LOVE smooth white creamy almond butter! And cashew butter! Your nutella looks delicious yum.

  16. I am glad you are no longer depriving yourself of chocolate like you did during the first round of ACD. I know that anytime I have deprived myself of the things I really want I end up miserable.

    Love this post. I am addicted to nut butters! My favorite nut butter (and food in general) is peanut butter. I used to really like the cashew-macadamia nut butter from Trader Joe’s too but they stopped selling it :(

  17. Hi nut butter fiend! I gave you a Sunshine Award on my blog! :) http://prideandvegudice.com/2010/06/25/862/ Your recipes are always the perfect balance of healthy and decadent!

  18. Ha, ha! I never make huge batches of you hazelnut chocolate spread, too. Way too dangerous!
    I recently started to make my own nut butters. I once used a bag on mixed salted nuts (hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, cahsews, and macadamia). That was my total favourite so far. It would be awesome as a base for chocolate spread, too!

  19. Hi Ricki,

    I sent you an e-mail before I read that you are super busy. No worries if you don’t have time to reply!!

    Thanks for the nutty recipe!

  20. hmm…I wish this had been posted a few weeks back, I made a sugary nutella knock off and of course, couldn’t eat it. I’ll have to try this one!

  21. OK I got stuck on those chocolate cups (with the sunflower butter) yum! I also love the desciption of foods calling to you from the fridge…right on with that. I love Peanut Butter and Co’s Chocolate Dreams PB. It calls to me, that’s for sure. Will try some of your recipes for sure!

  22. This post made me soo hungry for some peanut butter. But then again, when am I not hungry for peanut butter? haha

  23. I’ve seen a few homemade nut butters popping up on blogs lately and I’ve been meaning to give it a whirl. But considering how I completely annihilated a jar of pb&co white chocolate, I’m guessing this is a road I should not go down. My arm has been feeling kind of rubbery lately though :)

  24. It does indeed look perfectly spreadable… Yum!
    I’ve whipped up a batch of “peanutella” for my nephew’s birthday a couple of months ago. He prefers carob to chocolate, so I simply mixed some carob powder with water to make a paste, and mixed it with peanut butter. Since the carob powder is naturally sweet, I didn’t have to add any sweetener. He loved it as much as I do!

  25. Elizabeth, blogger for SunButter says:

    Hi Ricki, I came across your blog while looking for SunButter dessert recipes.
    We’re very tempted by your SunButter Chocolate Cups—they look simple to make and a perfect blend of SunButter and your fav, chocolate!

  26. I’ve never made my own nut butter, but it seems impossible not to try after seeing so many inspiring photos!

  27. umm, yes, this might be dangerous, but i’m going to make it anyways!!! i think i missed the deadline, but if you ever need any back-up testers, let me know :) my newest fav nut butter has been tj’s almond butter with flax seeds… can’t get enough ;)

  28. Keri,
    Thanks so much! It’s pure chance, really ;)

    Johanna,
    See how long it’s been since I’ve had the “real” stuff– I thought it WAS made with dark chocolate!

    Heather,
    I love cashew butter, too and also can eat it by the spoonful (though not for dessert–not sweet enough for THAT!) ;)

    Catofstripes,
    I love peanut butter, too. . . but all nut butters call to me. :)

    Mom (Gretchen),
    You can always make your own hazelnut butter in a food processor (see instructions below). It’s a lot more economical, too. :)

    Andrea,
    You really should try it. But if you can make a version with sweetener, I’d recommend that. :)

    Courtney,
    I could never hate you!! Everyone has different tastes, and to each her own! I used to dislike nuts, but somehow when I became vegan I learned to adore them. ;)

    Kiersten,
    I’m glad I finally made it to Phase II, too! Yay chocolate! :D

    Nora,
    Thank you so much! I am thrilled that you included me in the list. :D Can’t promise when I’ll pass it on, but will do my best. :)

    Lauren,
    Thanks so much, and thanks for your comment! :)

    Josiane,
    You’re making me wish I could eat peanuts again! Maybe I’ll try the carob-tella with almond butter. :)

    Danielle,
    They are really easy to make and so, so worth it!

  29. Mmm, this is by far one of the most delectable homemade hazelnut butters I’ve seen – So amazingly smooth!

  30. Congratulations on sucessfully making your own Nutella spread! It looks amazing. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  31. I know everyone’s crazy about nutella but I’ve never really been a fan! I think I’d like this version you’ve created though. I haven’t tried a lot of different nut butters so I’m not sure I could say what my favourite is..

  32. Your gianduja spread is beautiful, I used to make it at home too with dark chocolate and pure hazelnut butter I get from Denmark. I wouldn’t call your amazing creation by its famous high street brand name. Anyway, I don’t think commercial Nutella is worse than canned frosting anyway. Palm oil is not that bad after all, half of the planet consumes it in a regular basis, and those parts of the planet are not yet impregnated by food allergies, I bet the problem is not the palm oil. Anyway, I was never able to swallow one bite of canned frosted cake, it is just so horrible, I don’t eat Nutella either, I make my own gianduja for my kids.

    Great blog,

    Cláudia

  33. I visit recipe websites all the time especially now that I am on a Candida cleanse but I NEVER leave feedback or comments. However, after I followed your recipe and made Notella I just had to tell you how ridiculously delicious it was! I am not a big fan of Stevia and it’s after taste so tried Xylitol instead and I must say it tastes just like sugar. I almost felt guilty eating it because it tasted so rich. I also made Notella brownies and they were DIVINE! So thank you for sharing these recipes and I am definitely going to try other recipes on your website.
    Cheers,
    Meera

  34. Hi there,

    I bought me a can of hazelnut butter and am eager to try out your recipe since I have a feeling it will come out the smoothest this way.

    anyhow I wanted to ask you this: I’m not a big fan of artificial sweeteners and would like to use sugar in this recipe.
    Should I use powdered sugar or a syrup? if yes how much?

    • Hi Gala,
      First, I should tell you that stevia is NOT an artificial sweetener–it’s derived form the stevia plant, which you can grow in your own back yard and steep for sweet tea. It is NOT the same as aspartame, sucralose, etc. I use it precisely because it is all-natural, and still zero calories (important on the ACD). If you’re still opposed (not everyone loves the taste of stevia), I can’t promise the same results, but I would say in that case, yes, powdered sugar would be best. . . but it will change the final texture (it may be a wee bit softer because of the sugar). I’d say add to taste, but start with 1/4 cup (60ml), taste, and adjust. Let me know how it turns out!

  35. Great, thanks for the info. I’m on to it right now, will update!

  36. Thanks for the recipe, Ricki. I switched the sweeteners around but liked it nonetheless. :)

  37. Thanks they look great I’m only on day 1 here and I need some light in my tunnel

Trackbacks

  1. [...] MY… GOSH… this stuff is amazing.  I discovered the recipe over at Diet, Dessert and Dogs, and as an avid Nutella enthusiast since as far as I can remember, I absolutely had to try it out [...]

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