Homemade Nutella

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Yes, there is a such a thing as healthy Nutella and it is easy (but time intensive) to make. I attempted my own recipe yesterday after reading several blog posts about vegan and healthy homemade Nutella to incredible results. First, it is not as quick as these blog posts promise. But I find most food blogs always undermine the time it takes anything. Probably not to alienate their audience. Although this is a real issue on more mainstream publications, as Slate points out with a piece focused on caramelized onions. You can always read my true-to-time recipe here.

I love Nutella. How can you not? It is chocolate, sugar, and hazelnuts! And palm oil, shitty shitty palm oil. I’ve stopped eating it though because the fat content doesn’t sit well with my body and diet. Until yesterday morning, when I had the urge to try it because my sweet snack tempo has gone into overdrive the last few weeks of pregnancy. I am so glad I did. SO GLAD.

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A few things:

Peeling roasted hazelnuts takes a long time if you want to be fastidious, and you do, because the less skin the smoother and softer the taste.

If you have a stand mixer, blender, then you are golden. I had to do this in my small Kitchen Aid mixer which overheats unless I pulse. This means that this took forever. But what is the cost of homemade Nutella, really? I incorporated a few tricks to speed it up—milk and melted coconut oil.

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups raw hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (I prefer Camino Dutch-processed cocoa powder)
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract (I prefer organic and non-alcohol)
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup pure maple syrup (I prefer grade B)
  • 1/4 tsp kosher/sea salt
  • 1/3 cup milk of choice (I prefer organic 2% but I’m sure this would work very well vegan with an almond or coconut milk)
  • 2 tbsp of melted coconut oil

Makes about 500ml of Nutella.

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Roast the hazelnuts on a cookie sheet in a single row for 12-14 minutes. They should be darkened but not burnt. Let cool a little bit. Don’t leave it too long. The warmer the easier the skins peel. Place them on a tea towel and rub vigorously to loosen the skins. Then rub hazelnuts between your palms. This helps the tougher ones loosen. You will also want to rub the skins of the really stubborn ones between your thumb and index finger. There is no way you can peel all of the hazelnuts, but do your best!
  • Throw all the peeled hazelnuts into a mixer/blender and go. This will take a while. Do this until it turns into a butter.
  • Once your nuts are a butter, add the cocoa, vanilla, maple syrup, and salt. Pulse to incorporate loosely. Then add the milk and keep going. Then add the coconut oil. I like doing this in steps to see how much is incorporating. You can always add more milk and/or oil if you want it smoother and less thick. Using cocoa will never make it completely silky like using melted chocolate, but I couldn’t bother double boiling chocolate on top of all this.
  • At the point you think it’ll never get there, taste it, and it’s done.

Spread on EVERYTHING.

I made nalesniki (a Polish crepe) to be a vessel for this deliciousness. This morning, however, I spread it on a chocolate chip and pecan version of this gluten free banana bread.

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Polish Spelt Pierogies

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Working on my PhD means I work from home most of my days. When I have an impending deadline & really need to procrastinate the kitchen turns into elaborate-meal time. This week it was pierogies. I have helped make pierogies as a child in Poland, watching the multistep day-long process. I have been craving pierogies for a long time and I assumed without regular flour they were inaccessible to me forever. I was SO WRONG! Luckily with my wheat allergy I am able to indulge in spelt on a rare basis without too much symptoms.

Spelt pierogies are delicious and unlike the other blogs out there complain, spelt isn’t as strong of a flavor as you think, especially with savory pierogies. It may seem like there is a lot of steps but they are truly easy to make. They’re also cheap. Your invited guests don’t need to know that. 🙂

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Makes about 16 pierogies

Continue reading Polish Spelt Pierogies

The Grilled Cheese

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Hello. Welcome. It is audacious of me to start a food blog with something so simple, something so un-recipe-y, but I’m doing it because it changed my life. Even though I am mostly gluten free (I am able to eat a bit of spelt without too much symptoms) and the days of making paninis have been gone since 2011, I have found several delicious Montreal-area bakeries that provide me with a proper system to deliver grilled cheese. My favorite is the gluten-free vegan flax bread from Mi & Stu. You can find their breads at fine retailers or at their location in Mile End. They make many different breads, like challah (!) & before long holidays they have nice sales.

Grilled Cheese
Mayo grilled cheese with some homemade veg chickpea soup.

OK — back to the best grilled cheese of your life Fill it how you want. I prefer the classic with organic gouda & cheddar mix and sometimes add harissa, thinly sliced apple, fresh basil, spinach or sundried tomatoes. But what goes on top isn’t butter or some dark Greek olive oil but mayonnaise. I use natural whole egg mayo. The mayonnaise melts like an oil for a perfect crisp. My friend Brad was visiting recently & he didn’t believe me until we tried it and now he is desperate to buy a panini press to make these at home.

You can also make this in a frying pan. Have you already been doing this? Have you tried it?