Making homemade nutella is great. Tweaking it to suit your taste is even better. So here not only are we making homemade nutella, but we are making it dark. Homemade dark chocolate nutella: an easy hazelnut spread that you can make at home whenever you crave it.
Homemade hazelnut spread
Nutella is a combination of hazelnuts, cocoa, sugar, milk and oil. The actual chocolate and hazelnut combination goes by the name gianduja, a flavour that originated in my home region in Italy. Mr Ferrero made it worldwide famous when he launched Nutella, but confectioners in Piemonte had been serving up this preparation long before.
As with many things, if you can make your food at home from scratch it’s always kinda better. I love Nutella, I will never deny it, it is definitely one of my guilty pleasures and one that to me strongly resonates with home. But Nutella is far from being a healthy food. Mind me, neither is this homemade dark chocolate nutella, but at least this version is a little better.
For starters, there is way less sugar than in the original one. Furthermore, you can make a more sustainable oil choice when making your own (Nutella palm oil, I’m looking at you!). Another advantage is that by choosing a milk-free chocolate your homemade hazelnut spread will also have the benefit of being milk-free (and vegan), if that is a factor that needs to be considered.
Dark chocolate nutella ingredients
So here’s a list of what you need to make this homemade chocolate hazelnut spread. As always, please refer to the recipe card below for quantities.
- Toasted hazelnuts – if they’re not toasted, you can just toast them yourself
- Dark chocolate chips – anything from 55% cocoa, read below for more information on the cocoa content
- Cocoa powder – it must be unsweetened
- Confectioner’s sugar – the easiest to mix in with no gritty crunch
- Vegetable oil – choose something neutral in flavour, I used rapeseed.
How to make dark chocolate nutella
- The first thing to to is to toast the hazelnuts. Toasted nuts have a deeper flavour, which is excatly what we want in a hazelnut spread. Hazelnuts have a dark brown skin around them and that is usually gone when buying toasted. If your hazelnuts are not toasted, all it takes is to just add them to a pan and keep them on medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring to evenly distribute the heat. Then rub them in a kitchen cloth to remove the skin. I usually warm up even toasted hazelnuts, and start processing them while warm, so go ahead and re-toast in the pan even hazelnuts that had been bought toasted.
- Melt the dark chocolate chips, either on a double boiler or in the microwave. If using the microwave, stir every 30 seconds to distribute the heat and prevent separation.
- Add the toasted hazelnuts to a food processor while they’re still warm and start the machine. The blades will grind them first, then as you continue to process the hazelnuts, they will start releasing their oil and turn to a paste. Stop the machine from time to time to scrape the sides of the bowl. This will also prevent overheating. This may look like a small quantity to work with, but a larger batch would take too long to process for my machine.
- When the hazelnuts have become a smooth paste, add the sugar and, always mixing, pour in the oil. Use a light vegetable oil like canola for best results.
- When the sugar and oil have been incorporated stop the blades, add the cocoa powder and mix it in.
- Lastly, pour in the melted chocolate and mix that in.
- Transfer your dark chocolate nutella to a jar and let it set in the fridge for about 1 hour. The mixture should be quite runny at the beginning, but will firm up as it chills.
After setting, you can store your homemade hazelnut spread in a cupboard at room temperature, as all the ingredients in it are shelf stable. It is actually recommended to store your homemade dark chocolate nutella at room temperature for best spreading, as it tends to harden at colder temperatures.
I have no intention of fooling anyone so here I’ll say it. My homemade dark chocolate nutella does not have the same texture as the commercial spread. A standard home food processor will never achieve the level of smoothness the commercial product has, but that is achieved through heavier processing. So once again, we make a similar product that has a little less guilt (sorry, I really couldn’t say that this has more health benefits, who would I be fooling?).
Homemade dark chocolate nutella troubleshooting
While the proportions in this recipe should yield a creamy spread, your homemade nutella may not turn out quite like that. This may be because of a few factors at play:
- Room temperature – this can play a major role as this homemade chocolate spread is quite sensitive and may be much softer in a hotter climate and not so spreadable in a colder one. I have tested a few recipes and I always had to add more oil to make my spread spreadable in Sweden (while the original recipes had been tested in Italy). Some chilling will firm up a runny spread, while some quick microwaving will make a hard homemade nutella spreadable.
- The chocolate you used – dark chocolate comes at various percentages of cocoa. The higher the cocoa percent, the lower the cocoa butter. More cocoa butter in your chocolate will provide extra creaminess, which will lack, instead, if using a very dark chocolate with a high cocoa percentage.
- Hazelnut freshness – this may be a minor factor, but fresher hazelnuts can yield a creamier spread. Still, this is an excellent recipe to make also if you have expired hazelnuts. Also, whole hazelnuts contain more oil than chopped ones.
Some useful tips
The use of a powerful food processor is definitely mandatory. For a long time I only had a miniature version, which was very useful for quick chopping jobs, but not powerful enough to stand longer processing. It would overheat, as it was not made for that kind of work.
In order to make homemade dark chocolate nutella you need to process your hazelnuts until they become a paste. Not only do you want to grind them to their finest, but you want to keep those blades rotating until the oil is extracted from the hazelnuts, and that may take up to 10 minutes of processing. If you have a food processor that can stand this kind of job, you’re good to go.
Uninspired about what to do with hazelnuts if you’ve bought more than you could use in this recipe? Here’s some inspiration for you! As you can see hazelnuts are quite a favourite of mine!
- Baked pork loin in hazelnut sauce
- Honey hazelnut soft cookies
- Hazelnut and cream cheese stuffed mushrooms
- Nutellotti – use regular Nutella and whole hazelnuts as topping
- Nutella panna cotta
This homemade dark chocolate nutella was adapted from this homemade nutella recipe (in Italian).
Homemade dark chocolate nutella
A homemade hazelnut spread that features dark chocolate, for a deeper and more adult twist to nutella.
- 80 g hazelnuts
- 30 g powdered sugar
- 40 ml vegetable oil
- 15 g cocoa powder
- 150 g dark chocolate
Toast the hazelnuts in a pan on medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring continuously to evenly distribute the heat.
Melt the dark chocolate either in a double boiler or in the microwave. Stir every 30 seconds to distribute the heat if using the microwave.
Add the warm hazelnuts to a food processor and start the machine. Process the hazelnuts until they turn into a paste and release their oil. This may take up to 15 minutes. Stop the food processor from time to time to scrape the sides of the bowl and to prevent the machine from overheating.
When the hazelnuts have turned into a paste, mix in the powdered sugar and then pour in the oil while processing.
Add the cocoa powder and mix to incorporate.
Lastly, pour in the melted chocolate. Give it a final blitz to incorporate.
Transfer the mixture to a jar and let set in the fridge for 1 hour.
Store at room temperature for best spreadabilty. This hazelnut spread is made with shelf-stable ingredients that do not require refrigerating.
Room temperature can play a major role as this homemade chocolate spread is quite sensitive and may be much softer in a hotter climate and not so spreadable in a colder one. Some chilling will firm up a runny spread, while some quick microwaving will make a hard homemade nutella spreadable.
Dark chocolate comes at various percentages of cocoa. The higher the cocoa percent, the lower the cocoa butter. More cocoa butter in your chocolate of choice will provide extra creaminess, which will lack, instead, if using a very dark chocolate with a high cocoa percent.