Homemade Healthier Nutella

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We got up early Saturday morning. Warmed milk in a sauce pan, mixed it with butter and maple syrup and poured it over some crumbled yeast and saffron. It was the first batch of saffron buns of the morning. Many more would come. We had asked a couple of friends to come over and help us roll them. We had such a nice morning together. Preparing the dough, kneading, talking, rolling, baking. It was like an advent celebration, but instead of eating the buns, we were baking them. A couple of hours and over a hundred saffron buns later, we loaded them into a car and handed them off at a Christmas party.

Luise had asked an organization that helps children and mothers in need if there was anything we could do to help out. And as it turned out, they needed saffron buns for a Christmas party they were arranging. We didn’t stay for the party, but apparently over 300 children and mothers came. It was a fun morning for us and it felt great to bake for someone else. I think we might have a new Christmas tradition in our house. Next year we will invite even more friends to cook or bake for a good cause. We might even challenge all of you to do the same.

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Whether it is for a good cause or just for your family, these small jars filled with homemade “Nutella” are great as gifts. I was a bit hesitant to call it Nutella, as they taste so much better than the store bought version. It tastes real. Very flavorful, nutty, chocolaty and sweet. But not too sweet, just enough to enhance the hazelnut and chocolate flavor. You can make it in no-time, fill up a few jars, wrap a pretty ribbon around them and then scratch Christmas Gifts off your list. Or sell them at a market and donate the proceeds to a good cause.

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Here are two other great initiatives.

• Two of our friends created a beautiful limited edition poster to help the victims of the conflict in Syria. They sell and ship worldwide. 100% of the proceeds goes directly to Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).

• Luisa Weiss from The Wednesday Chef is auctioning away a large part of her cookbooks to help The Invisible Child Fund. Bidding ends on Friday.

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Homemade Nutella
Makes around 3 cups

3 cups / 400 g raw hazelnuts or nuts of your choice
20 fresh dates or soaked dried dates, pitted
1/2 cup / 125 ml melted cacao butter (or coconut oil, the taste will be different but delicious too)
4 tbsp cacao powder
1/2 cup / 125 ml water or more if you prefer

Preheat the oven to 150°C / 300°F. Place the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven for about 20-30 minutes until golden and the skin is starting to crack. Keep an eye on them to avoid from burning. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Place the nuts on a rough kitchen towel and rub to remove the skin. Place in a food processor and process until completely smooth (nut butter) and the oil from the hazelnuts has released. You may want to scrape down the sides a couple of times. Melt the cacao butter on very low heat in a small saucepan. Mash the dates with a fork until the consistency of sticky caramel. Add the melted cacao butter, cacao powder, mashed dates and water to the nut butter and process until smooth. Alternatively combine the mixture by stirring with a spoon. Taste and adjust the flavors to your preference. Scoop into air tight glass jars. Keeps at least for a few weeks in the refrigerator.
Tip: Add juice and zest from 1 orange for an extra twist.
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Ps. We just shot a Christmas dinner recipe and we promise to post it a few days before Santa arrives. So if you haven’t decided what to cook for Christmas, check back with us soon.

54 Comments

  • cheri
    Wow! This looks great. love your site, nice writing and pics.
  • Awesome recipe! My sister made some 'raw' nutella before and it tasted pretty good. but I gotta say, this one sounds even better with toasted hazelnuts. Yum! I can't wait to give this a try
  • Gos
    Thank you, David.
  • I think you may have just improved the state of my personal world. I've avoided nutella for a while because of the sugar content (I try not to consume the stuff). Now...at last...I'll have nutella on a spoon again!
  • You are c-r-a-z-y! The good kind of crazy. The BEST kind of crazy. I hope you take that as a compliment (I would). This sound and looks so freaking delicious. And I love your way of doing good - baking. It so heartwarming. Wish you great holidays and lots of love.
  • Thanks for this present idea! I had thought about doing something similar with almonds, but then promptly forgot about it. We are doing homemade gifts and donations to Oxfam this year as none of us needs anything. This will be perfect for so many people in my family. I shan't struggle on my own cobbling together a recipe now that I see this. My Vitamix - being used to blend kale smoothies and the like - won't know what hit it! Have a wonderful, relaxing holiday. I look forward to seeing your Christmas dinner shots.
  • What a great recipe! Can I ask you what kind of camera you are using? :-) Thank you a lot for great inspiration!
  • Looks so good and love the pictures!
  • Payal
    Hi! I'm frankly obsessed with your blog. I'm thinking of making these as a party favor for my daughters upcoming birthday we have themed winter ONEderland as she is turning one. How far in advance can I make them, and how long will they keep? Thanks! Sending sunshine from San Diego ;)
  • what timing! i was just looking to make a fudgy candy recipe that called for nutella and I don't have any, but i do have these ingredients....
  • What a great idea. I look forward to my children being a little older to be able to do something like this. And love the 'nutella' recipes, I make something similar but hadn't thought of adding cacao butter. Genius~!
  • Bell
    how fun! homemade Nutella should be fun! if anyone ever has trouble getting the hazelnuts to become creamy after grinding, i have learned that soaking them overnight, than dehydrating them, than grinding/ toasting them makes them blend better. my raw almond butter is sooo much more gooey and smooth after soaking.
  • Crystal
    Legends! I have been looking for an alternative recipe for Nutella as my 4yr old daughter could eat it everyday. Thank you for such a great and inspiring blog!
  • Vanessa
    What a great sounding (and looking) nutella recipe. And it is so inspiring to hear about Luises's initiative for a good cause. It sounds like you had a wonderful saffron bun-morning.
  • Your homemade nutella with dates sounds good! We have been making our own few versions for awhile at home because my kids love it on crêpes of course, apple and everything else! I sometime use a hint of lucuma or maca powder for the superfood extra and caramel flavor. :-) We LOVE your Saffron Buns here in our little corner, they have become part of our tradition to make them for the Holiday season. I know that a few of my students are also baking them with their children since they learned how to make them in my "Cooking with Mommy" class. YOU are spreading your love of cooking all around the world and we are truly grateful for that, thank you David, Luise and Elsa! XO
    • liv
      hello, just wondering what your recipe was?? thankyou!
      • Hi Liv! I would be happy to send you my hazelnut spread recipe, just send me your email address at contact@ketmalaskitchen.com and I could forward you a PDF version when we return from our Holidays. Thanks to let me know if you want the cooked or Raw version. :-)
  • Gos
    That looks yummy. What type food processor have you got please as we are about to buy one?
    • Hi Gos, we have stick blender from Braun with a mixing bowl attachment. It works great for chopping nuts into nut butter, making all kind of raw food desserts, blending pesto etc. We also have a Vitamix, but mainly use that for smoothies and soups. /David
      • Gos
        Hi again I wonder how many watts has your stick blender please?
  • Looks delicious, I'm wondering if an unsweetened version would also be tasty, sans dates, or with banana (shorter shelf life though).
    • carmen
      i made this and it is not sweet at all even with the dates.
  • My 4 yr old needs nutella almond butter on her toast almost everyday for breakfast so you should know ow much I appreciate this recipe. Although have a question- With water in it will it stay good for long without refrigerator? In refrigerator they seem to harden.

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