Homemade Dark Chocolate Nutella {vegan!}

Homemade Dark Chocolate Nutella {vegan} | Kneading Home

My favorite part about being married is the idea that my husband and I get to become our own family, start our own traditions, and build a life on our terms. It's pretty awesome. Obviously, one of our family values is good food. We gladly spend the extra couple cents for organic produce, our favorite date nights revolve around food, and cooking together, however challenging it can be in our little kitchen, is one of our favorite activities.

So last year I, unknowingly, started a tradition by making Nate homemade nutella for christmas. I sneakily bought all the ingredients and whipped it up while he was at work then wrapped it and put it under the tree. It was everything nutella should be and more. It was nutella but fresh and real tasting with texture and warmth from real roasted hazelnuts and creamy melted chocolate, minus the chemicals and preservatives. I remember thinking I never realized how processed nutella tasted until I had the good stuff. 

So this year while we were brainstorming unique gift ideas we knew we had to re-create the homemade nutella. We made the first batch with classic milk chocolate. Then with leftover hazelnuts we figured we'd make ourselves a batch, the only problem was we ran out of milk chocolate. We figured since it was just us we'd experiment with dark chocolate. After some taste tests, we upped the amount of hazelnuts a tad and decreased the amount of chocolate a tad. Then to make up for the added bitterness and decreased sugar from the dark chocolate we added an extra tablespoon of sugar. And tada it was just as good as the original with added richness from the dark chocolate. As we stood over the sink comparing the two while licking the spatula and bowl of the food processor we realized our new version is vegan! 

So literally minutes after accidentally creating it, I'm writing to you about homemade dark chocolate nutella: the perfect diy christmas gift. It's so rich, so creamy, and so real tasting. It really does put processed traditional nutella to shame. Because really, what says "I love you, you're special, merry christmas" like a giant jar of homemade nutella? You can bet your chocolate smeared fingers it will be enjoyed until the spoon hits the bottom of the jar! 

Homemade Dark Chocolate Nutella {vegan} | Kneading Home

Homemade Dark Chocolate Nutella {vegan} 
Adapted from Buzzfeed Food 
Makes 1 pint or 2 cups 

3 tbsp baking soda, if your hazelnuts contain skins
1 1/4 roasted hazelnuts
11 oz dark chocolate (I used 55% cocoa) 
3 tbsp grapeseed oil (or canola oil) 
4 tbsp confectioner's sugar - see notes
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 - 2 tsp sea salt 

Ideally, look for hazelnuts with the skins already removed. If you can only find hazelnuts with the peels intact (like me) you will need to peel them. The easiest peeling method is to bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once water begins to boil add 3 tbsp baking soda, it will foam. Add your hazelnuts and continue to boil for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, remove 1 nut and test to see if the skin is easily removable. If not, boil longer then retest. Once the hazelnuts are done transfer them to a bowl of ice water. Remove the skins, they should easily peel off, and dry the nuts. 

Toast the hazelnuts at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes until fragrant and lightly browned, even if your hazelnuts are pre-toasted like mine I still do this step as I feel it boosts the flavor. Set aside. 

Melt chocolate in a double boiler. If, like me, you don't have a double boiler, in a small saucepan, bring an inch of so of water to a bowl. Top saucepan with-heat proof bowl, I used pyrex, making sure it doesn't touch the water. Once the water boils pour the chocolate into the bowl and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly. 

In a food processor blend hazelnuts and oil until they reach the consistency of smooth paste. You made need to scape down the sides with a spatula a couple times. Add the sugar (starting with 4 tbsp - you can add more later, if needed), cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt and process until completely combined. Pour in the melted chocolate and process until completely smooth and incorporated. Taste and adjust sugar and salt if needed. 

Depending on how dark your chocolate is you may need to add more sugar. I used 55%, so if you're using something much higher you will definitely need to add more sugar to combat the bitterness. We found salt also helped a surprising amount in bringing out the flavors and decreasing the bitterness, so feel free to up that as well. Just taste to gauge.