Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A healthier home-made Nutella: made with almond butter

Little Man doesn't eat very well.  He likes junk food, and I really struggle trying to balance my need to get calories into him, and making sure those calories are nutritious.  He loves Nutella, but I really don't like it's dubious nutritional claims.  I like the nutritional benefits of almond butter, but sadly my fussy little guy won't eat it.  So, I embarked on an attempt to make a chocolate almond butter.  I originally mixed 50% Nutella with 50% all natural almond butter  - which worked well, except for storage (almond butter should be refrigerated, Nutella should not be) - but it did taste good. The other day I thought I would try to make my own "Nutella" type product using almond butter as the base, and add cocoa and a bit of sugar into it.....Chocolate covered almonds are one of my favourite treats.  Chocolate and almonds seem like such a natural combination, why hasn't anyone made this..... it seems so obvious!  So, for lack of a commercial product to buy, I tried to make my own......I can't say that it worked out perfectly, but I am determined to keep trying!

Adding cocoa, icing sugar and coconut oil
to almond butter.
 I started by dumping a jar of almond butter (sugar and salt free) into my stand mixer bowl - then I started adding cocoa....and more, and more....... after adding over a cup of cocoa, the mixture was getting rather dry, and the lack of sugar was becoming even more obvious..... so out came the icing sugar and the coconut oil.  After adding about a quarter cup of each, I liked the consistency and the sweetness level, but it still didn't taste very "chocolatey".  The taste of toasted almonds is such a strong taste, that I can't seem to get the cocoa flavour to shine through.... maybe this is why this product isn't commercially available?  The Ghirardelli cocoa powder I used is rather expensive, and after using almost the entire tin, with no noticeable chocolate taste.....I am thinking this endeavor may be an expensive one - the strong taste of almonds overpowers the taste of the cocoa.....hmmmm.... I wonder if they sell a natural hazelnut butter...... 

So, the good news is that little man ate a bit of it - because I told him it was Nutella, but he did look dubious...... The true test will be if he eats it the next time I give it to him.
I am determined to make this work - but I will need help.   Has anyone out there tried making a chocolate almond spread?  Any suggestions for me to try on my next batch?  

Got a nice sheen with the addition of the coconut oil.  Got a total of 1L of finished product.


  1. What a smart idea - healthier Nutella!

    Have you tried using cashew butter in the mix? It's nutty flavour is very mild compared to almond, and has a natural sweetness. Also, would you consider using honey and/or rice syrup as sweetener? They're healthier alternatives to icing sugar and their liquid state may help the texture. Finally, did you try heating / melting the cocoa with the butters, oils and sugars, then mixing in the saucepan to help blend everything? I haven't tried any of these ideas myself, but wonder if you're up for experimenting, if they might help? Good luck!

  2. Thanks for the ideas Cath, I will certainly try them! I will do some research into the cashew butter - see if it has the same nutritional properties I am looking for (protein, calcium)....Like I said, I am determined to make this work! Thanks for the ideas!