A - Z Blogging Challenge - Nutella that is actually guilt free. Almost

Welcome back to A - Z, today's letter is N, and I have been looking forward to that one!

Do you have a sweet tooth?
Then you probably like Nutella. I know I do. 

Photo Credit 

Now this yummy treat is not exactly on the list of superfoods, although it's not the hazelnut's fault because it brings a lot of benefits to the table!

As I mentioned earlier, in our first workout session back in January, my fitness instructor talked to me about my diet. She said the easiest way to lose weight is to say no to bad carbohydrates. 

We did negotiate one slice of whole wheat toast with my beloved Nutella. 

Now Nutella has a bad reputation, and rightly so for several reasons:

It contains palm oil. The production causes a massive destruction of rainforest, crazy carbon pollution, the near extinction of species like orang utan, Indonesian tigers and rhino and an abuse of indigenous rights. 

If you're interested in a video describing the issues palm oil plantations cause, watch it here.
Recently there have been (unconfirmed) reports about palm oil being cancerous.
Not only does Nutella contain palm oil (even if it is being sustainably grown as Ferrero claims) it's still a highly saturated fat and therefore bad for your cholesterol, plus they're putting a sh**load of sugar in it!

I have never paid too much attention to nutrition facts labels, but now that I'm taking this weight loss thing seriously, I feel like I can't eat that every single day. So I went on a Google quest for "healthy Nutella" (hahaha, I know. How healthy can a hazelnut / chocolate spread be?) 

Let's just say "less unhealthy" and move on.

I found a Max Havelaar certified locally produced spread that is made of sunflower oil. The downside is they only sell miniature jars. The picture below is about life-sized!!!
Their main customers are caf├ęs and hotels. 

Via a friend's wonderful blog FB page I came across Deliciously Ella's recipe for a less unhealthy, homemade hazelnut / chocolate spread. Three ingredients: roasted hazelnut, cocoa powder, maple syrup!

I had to adapt the measurement to the quantities I had on hand:
  • 200g hazelnuts (roast at 180°C for 10 minutes, let cool and remove skins)
  • 2 (heaped) tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 100g maple syrup 
First blend the hazelnuts, then add cocoa and syrup, mix well, add water gradually as needed.

Sounded good to me. My only worry was the following: I got a new kitchen machine for Christmas, and I haven't even unpacked everything. (This was back in January!)

So many parts! 

Which one should I use to grind my nuts?

While I was still trying to figure it out, I put my minion to work. It couldn't hurt to give the roasted hazelnuts a head start. 

Using a kitchen towel remove the skins.

Put the nuts into a ziploc bag and pound away with your rolling pin!!!

How did I bring my boy to help me in the kitchen? 
I asked him how he'd like to make some noise early in the morning!!!

Now making your own Nutella is a time consuming and messy job, especially if you have not  assembled the food processor properly!

The amount of spread you'll get in the end is kind of small. Also it tastes nothing like Nutella! In fact I have come to like it better! You can actually taste the roasted hazelnuts, they're not overpowered by sugar!

The consistency turned out nicer than I expected, and the taste is best described as dark, rich and mysterious. It is sweet, even though we didn't add any granulated sugar, it's spreadable without oil other than the one from the hazelnuts. Goes well with dark roasted coffee, too.

Now a few words to the nutritional facts. I spent a long while looking up stuff and calculating  my ingredients. 

Those figures are per 100 grams:

The good news is I reduced carbs / sugars by over 50%. Calories are still high, but that's hazelnuts to you! Mind you, they've got a lot of health benefits! I used organically grown ones from Turkey, and I am OK with the calories (still less than in regular Nutella), and my percentage of unsaturated (better) fats. Also I'm confident my ingredients aren't chasing away any rainforest animals.

Photo Credit 

How about you? Do you like Nutella? Are you intrigued by the idea of making your own? Let me know down below!

I'll see you back here tomorrow when it's time for O is for (Essential) Oils! In the meantimes why don't you check out some of today's N posts.