Did you know that the commercially bought chocolate nut butter “Nutella” is OVER FIFTY PERCENT –> PALM OIL? That it contains not only fillers and emulsifiers but also milk products? Not the healthiest choice and certainly not an option for those desiring dairy free nor vegan. You can make your own easily at home that is so much healthier — and even make a dairy free, vegan, or low and sugar free versions!
If you have a manual or an electric nut grinder — or just a simple food processor — you can grind your own nut butter right at home. If not, there are stores that have grinders which cost nothing extra to use. You can also purchase (though they can be pricey — strange how we pay more to get less; I may blog more about that later) an all natural and/or organic nut butter without any additives (read the nutritional label — not just what it says on the front — sometimes what they call “natural” is nothing more than an additive or additives that only came from a natural source originally but has since been altered into something undesirable).
If you don’t mind the clean up afterwards you can even grind a tiny amount in a coffee grinder! It isn’t easy, however, getting in and around and up under the blade to clean (and watch those fingers!) — not to mention scraping out the nut butter itself. Be sure to unplug before attempting to remove the nut butter or clean up and be careful not to get cut.
You don’t even have to toast the nuts. In fact, I find that toasting for just five minutes causes them sweat out some of those natural healthier oils (as well as nutrients) and results in a drier, less creamier product. On the other hand, you do want them slightly warmed if using a food processor. I’ll tell you more about that later.
If you simply feel that they don’t taste as good unless toasted, you may find that it is necessary to put back some of the oils lost. However, at least you get to control what type of oil you use and the quantity.
Grinding your own nut butters at home you also get to control the texture from extremely chunky to extremely smooth. The longer you grind the smoother it will become. However, grinding it yourself at the store you don’t really get a choice in the consistency. Generally the industrial grinding machines provided have a single setting so you get what you get as far as texture. I actually happen to love the texture at the one store here with an available grinder — but it is located fifty miles away.
A food processor, chops rather than grinds so it creates less friction thus less low heat is produced. Heat the nuts slightly in the microwave for just a few seconds to help soften the oils on the inside but not cause them to sweat out.
Otherwise you may find yourself with a fine dry nut flour rather than a butter if you cook out all of the remaining essential oils — which is great if flour is what you are going for. Yes, there is a way to make nut flour at home using a food dehydrator, oven, and food processor. I may blog about that later on in the future.
Rather than adding in other oils unnecessarily a bit of warming is usually all that is needed to get the natural oils of the nuts working.
Or, you can simply blow dry the outside of food processor bowl with a hair dryer set to high if you’ve already processed them — BUT —
Before you panic, be sure to give it a stir first and then pinch a little to see if it sticks together or not. Sometimes it has simply had millions of little tiny air pockets mixed into it and just needs a little stir or press to release the air pockets to actually look like the nut butter it has already become.
You can (probably more quickly and easily) just transfer the processed nut powder to a microwave safe dish and heat for a very few seconds to activate the oils. Give it a stir and see how it does and if needed return it to the food processor for additional blending.
It takes no less than five minutes and often longer to create nut butter in a food processor. However, if you intend to make lots of nut butters at home, it may be worth looking into getting a good electric nut grinder.
Sometimes the nuts purchased may have dehydrated over time before or after the purchase and just don’t have quite enough oils left to get the desired liquefaction. At other times they are so very fresh that you end up with more liquefaction than desired.
If allowed to sit the oils will rise to the top and can be easily removed then frozen in case needed later to stir into any drier nut butters that may result in the future due to such dehydration.
If it is peanut butter then you can simply stir in a small amount of purchased peanut oil although more processed than what you get at home. Otherwise, sunflower and canola oils work without altering the flavor too drastically. Add only one teaspoon at a time for each cup or two of nut butter then blend or processes before deciding if another should be added.
CAUTION: Do NOT try to use peanut or other nut oils produced at home for cooking oil as you would those purchased — especially in a deep fat fryer. They do however mix nicely with homemade salad oil dressings or can be used on or in other recipes or dishes. Like any other oil or fat use sparingly and in moderation.
You get to choose the chocolate. For a dairy free and vegan version you can use Hershey’s Special Dark or regular baking cocoa (read the labels in case the ingredients change but last time I looked they were animal product free) or you can use any vegan chocolate product. You can choose sweetened or unsweetened, cocoa, bars, chips, or kisses, or syrup, as well dark or milk chocolate.
Yes, you can also use sugar free chocolate syrup and chocolates!
Once you have your nut butter made, if you are going to add chocolate for a homemade version of Nutella, you’ll want to warm it up in the microwave or on the stove top in a non-stick saucepan stirring constantly on a low heat setting if you don’t have a microwave. This allows added chocolates, chocolate syrups, or powders to blend better with the nut oils as well as melt.
Stir in an equal portion (exception: cocoa powder and syrups) of chocolate then blend or stir until mixed, melted, blended, and smooth. I actually like to put it in the food processor which creates an even smoother, creamier texture as well as being quicker (not counting clean up). However, an electric hand beater or stand mixer will get the job done — as will doing it by hand.
You can add as little or as much cocoa powders and syrups as you’d like but it will be considerably less needed than melted chocolates.
Store in refrigerator in an airtight container or a clean jar with a lid.
It will keep for at least up to four weeks (and often much longer). Like butter or other fats/oils it can become rancid over a long period of time.
Stir to incorporate any separated nuts oils before using if required.
May warm up a single serving to room temperature or for a few seconds in the microwave if overly thick — depending upon quantity of nut oils and the type of chocolate used — to prevent tearing bread or toast.
A serving size is 2 Tablespoons.
Chocolate Nut Butter
Healthier than commercially bought Nutella which is over fifty percent palm oil, homemade chocolate nut butter is actually easy to make. You can choose low or sugar free chocolate, dairy free or vegan chocolate, dark or milk chocolate. You don't even have to use hazelnut butter; choose any kind of nut butter at all. This recipe makes a pint however you can change the quantity (use an equal amount of melt-able chocolate to an equal amount of nut butter). Serving size: 2 Tablespoons
- 1 cup nut butter
- 1 cup melt-able chocolate or may use a desired amount of cocoa powders or syrups
Warm nut butter and incorporate chocolate. Store in airtight container or jar in the refrigerator for at least four weeks (may last much longer).