make your own: chocolate hazelnut spread.

November 11, 2015

chocolate_hazelnut_spread_reading_my_tea_leaves9071Nutella. Gianduja. Chocolate hazelnut spread. Delicious? Whatever you wanna call it, here it is.

Some of you might have noticed my satisfying a recent craving for that childhood treat—or, depending on the continent and exposure to such things, the adolescent treat—that gets tucked into crepes, spooned onto bananas, and eaten by the spoonful under the cover of darkness. Before caving a few weeks ago, I can’t rememeber the last time I bought a jar of Nutella. But while I was thrilled with my impulse purchase, I admit that I craved something that tasted slightly more grownup, and without the throat-burning sweetness and palm oil that are hallmarks of the original.chocolate_hazelnut_spread_reading_my_tea_leaves8968The best part of making your own chocolate hazelnut spread is, no surprise, the ability to tweak it to your taste. You might, as I have, opt for a bit less sugar and a touch more salt. You might roast your hazelnuts until deeply golden. You might choose carefully sourced and gathered ingredients or feel perfectly justified in melting down the uneaten milk chocolate left over from Halloween. Whatever the particulars, the point is that they’re yours to choose.chocolate_hazelnut_spread_reading_my_tea_leaves8994

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Adapted from the Splendid Table

Here’s what you need:

1 cup hazelnuts
12 ounces milk chocolate
2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F. 

Spread raw hazelnuts onto a cookie sheet and roast them in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the nuts are golden brown and the skins have blistered. (I wanted a pronounced nutty taste, so I left mine in the oven on the longer side of this spectrum.) Rub the roasted nuts in a clean kitchen towel to remove loose skins. Don’t worry about any skin that still remains after a vigorous rub. Perfection is not the goal here. Allow the nuts to cool.

Melt the chocolate in a saucepan or double boiler being careful not to scorch it. Stir until smooth and allow to cool.

Grind the hazelnuts until they form a paste—or at the least they’re very well smashed. (For this step, nearly all recipes call for a food processor. Lacking one of those, I used a mason jar attached to my blender, which worked like a charm. With a bit of willpower and brute force, a mortar and pestle would also work.) Add the oil, sugar, cocoa, vanilla, and salt and continue to blend until the mixture is as smooth as possible, or as smooth as you want it to be. Add the melted chocolate and blend well.

The original recipe indicates that the resulting spread is thin and runny but firms up as it cools. For my part, the spread was immediately rich and creamy with a consistency close to freshly ground peanut butter.

Use a rubber spatula to transfer the spread to a clean, resealable container. Lick the spatula before washing.

chocolate_hazelnut_spread_reading_my_tea_leaves9008Roasted hazelnuts in a mason jar with as much skin as possible removed and ready to be pulverized.chocolate_hazelnut_spread_reading_my_tea_leaves9013My initial blend of roasted nuts yeilded something drier than a paste, but with the addition of the other ingredients, the paste quickly came together.chocolate_hazelnut_spread_reading_my_tea_leaves9018Cocoa powder and confectioner’s sugar ready to be blended.chocolate_hazelnut_spread_reading_my_tea_leaves8955-2
I bought a large block of milk chocolate from the neigborhood bulk store and chopped it into smaller pieces before melting. The kitchen scale is just one perk of having a resident bread baker for a husband.chocolate_hazelnut_spread_reading_my_tea_leaves9032As far as consistency goes, the difference between this homemade variation and store-bought Nutella is similar to the difference between store-bought peanut butter with palm oil mixed in for smoothness and freshly ground peanut butter from a machine set to smooth. It’s richly nutty, devoid of the slimy taste of too much added oil, and lightly textured but without any large chunks.chocolate_hazelnut_spread_reading_my_tea_leaves9033I’ll come clean and admit that I’ve been wolfing down this spread all on my own, but spooned into a nice jar and wrapped up with a note, I think it would be a lovely gift. Something to bring your Thansgiving host, for instance (if you manage to keep it around that long).chocolate hazelnut spread | reading my tea leavesIn a household with extreme willpower, the spread will keep unrefrigerated for up to two weeks. 

It’s not health food, but it is delicious.

For the curious:
Our blender.
Our kitchen scale.

Other simple ideas for thanking your host here and here and here and here! Even more, next week.

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  • Reply Mary Kate November 11, 2015 at 10:36 am

    You are a mind-reader! I was JUST thinking, “I miss my days of eating Nutella straight out of the jar but I wish there wasn’t so much crap in the ingredients.” Trying this recipe as soon as I have a spare moment. Thank you!

  • Reply Delphine November 11, 2015 at 11:35 am

    Totally agree with Mary Kate ! I’ve been satisfying my craving with some Nocciolata, but it’s still a little too sweet for me.
    Need to try this recipe ASAP, but I might use dark chocolate. I tried this spread last time as I was in France and it’s nearly perfect
    Also, love the new layout !

  • Reply Melanie November 11, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    Oooo!!!!! This must be such a treat!!!

  • Reply Sandra November 11, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    I love the label! How do you make it?

    • Reply Erin Boyle November 11, 2015 at 1:02 pm

      I have a little office stamp! It’s a little tedious to use, but it makes for cute tags!

  • Reply jiturka November 11, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    I wonder, what kind of oil have you used? Did it show much in the taste? I’d guess to use coconut oil (never had it, so I don’t know the taste) or maybe even bit of some precious walnut oil, maybe mixed with some sunflower. 🙂
    Your reasons for not buying Nutella are the same as mine 🙂

    • Reply Erin Boyle November 11, 2015 at 3:29 pm

      I used the very neutral canola oil. Coconut oil would probably work but it would definitely impact the taste! It’s a pretty fragrant oil! Same goes for walnut! Sunflower is probably a little more mild!

  • Reply Rita Tocta November 11, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    I’m with the above readers: this post came on perfect time! Unlike my usual self I’ve been eating and making and craving sweets (specially chocolate!) but beside my petit gateaux and my chocolate mousse I don’t know what more to do. I love to cook but I mainly cook meals. This Autumn my inner child (or this is my excuse!) is loving everything chocolate! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

  • Reply Kate November 11, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    How nice! I gave up Nutella earlier this year because of the palm oil and could use a replacement!

  • Reply Nicole November 11, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    This recipe looks delicious! I have to summon some major willpower when faced with Nutella and imagine I’d have to with this as well! Yum!

    • Reply Erin Boyle November 12, 2015 at 8:20 am

      Thanks, Nicole! So nice to see a kind word in this space from you!

  • Reply Renee November 11, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    I’m so close to drooling. This looks Di-Vine! I almost like Nutella but it’s just a little too sweet and a little too smooth. This looks fantastic, but I’ll be honest, with a 4month old in the house it’s probably not going to happen, maybe next year!

  • Reply Laura November 12, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Those little jars are perfect for gift giving. Where can I pick them up?

    • Reply Erin Boyle November 12, 2015 at 1:34 pm

      They’re Weck jars! Available at tons of places from William Sonoma to local kitchen shops to Amazon!

  • Reply Mo January 15, 2016 at 9:37 am

    It makes me happy to see someone remembering the often forgotten, but ever so important, last step “Lick the spatula before washing.”

  • Reply Liron Turkenich March 22, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    The smell is amazing! And so is the taste. Afyer a day though (not in the fridge) he spread got really solid, unspreadable… any ideas?

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