Updated: Apr 5
If you are a chocolate lover keep reading! I am always on the hunt for 'healthier' methods to eat more chocolate! Here is an example of a wholesome chocolate hazelnut spread.
Total time: 20 minutes.
Baking pan and oven
Food processor is most efficient, blender could work just needs more precautions for safety
Storage container, such as wide-mouthed glass jar or tub
2 cups raw hazelnuts
1-2 tsp oil such as olive oil or sunflower seed oil- I just drizzle it lightly over top
10 small/medium pitted dates
5 tbsp cacao / cocoa powder, if you use nibs I would think to use upwards of 8-10tbsp
1 -2 tbsp unpasteurized honey
Pinch of sea salt
Optional: chocolate chips / maple syrup for a sweeter dessert spread
The type of date used above will determine the texture and flavour outcome of the spread. Pictured above is a basic Iranian mabroom date, it is inexpensive however not too sweet. Californian medjool dates are very tasty and creamy for making spreads, however the price is much higher. Khalas dates, also called 'honey dates' are sticky and soft resulting in a sweet honey undertone in the spread. Which date will you choose?
Preheat the oven to 300F.
Spread raw hazelnuts over a baking tray and drizzle them with a light coating of oil. Mix with hands until evenly dispersed.
Place the tray of nuts into the oven and bake for 15 minutes stirring once to ensure they are evenly toasted.
To check if they are ready: ideally the toasted nuts will have an aroma and will be golden brown.
Allow for hazelnuts to cool to a warm room temperature and then pour them into the food processor. Spread them evenly and blend them fine.
To this mixture add cacao, dates, honey and sea salt. Option to add further sweetener such as chocolate chips and/or maple syrup.
Begin to blend into a paste adding water to achieve the desired consistency.
Transfer into a container for long-term storage, will keep 2+ weeks in the fridge.
Dates are primarily carbohydrates- yes sugar! However that being said if you are going to pick up some sugar, ideally for some quick energy, perhaps before or after a workout, a wholesome dried fruit such as a date is a superior choice. Compared to refined sugar, dates contain nutrients along with glucose (sugar) so that our body can remain in balance.
Hazelnuts provide our body with some of those 'healthy fats' we are always after. Especially when they are toasted or sprouted nuts and seeds will be easier for our body to digest. Nut spreads are a quick way to stock up on a wide spectrum of beneficial nutrients such as vitamin E, selenium, zinc, manganese, calcium.. and many more.
Cacao / cocoa is one of my favourite superfoods! It is very delicious, calming, yet stimulating and full of healthy fat. Cocoa also provides a bunch of minerals one being magnesium, one of our body's top nutrients used in every cell!
Interested in another easy way to stock up on nutrients found in nuts and seeds? Try a homemade plantmylk?