When we were thinking about what recipe to post for Valentine's Day this year, I was lying in bed really late at night, and suddenly it came to me. The recipe Carlos has been begging me to make for ages and I never got around to. I mean what's more romantic than finally listening to your very patient husband?
The next day, at midnight, I got in my little bunker (aka. the kitchen), put on an episode of Friends (more like 4!) and started testing.
The kitchen looked like The Hulk had been cooking there because I think I went kind of nutty (no pun intended although there were plenty of nuts around!). I was trying a recipe with the hazelnuts toasted, another with them un-toasted, one with just cocoa and two more with cocoa and chocolate, one with melted chocolate alone, one with a little maple syrup, another with a lot of maple syrup. You name it, I had a station filled with little samples and varieties. Yes, I said this happened at midnight so by the time I was done I was "drunk" with the smell of toasted nuts, and experiencing a very fun sugar-y high. I used up all the dark chocolate I had in the house, had Carlos testing spoonfuls every 5 minutes (there were no complaints!), and finally I got to this recipe.
As if it weren't enough, and I blame batches 3 and 4 for this idea, Carlos came out and said "I bet this would be great in a crepe!".
Oh boy... bet you can guess what happened...
I developed roadrunner cartoon feet, rushed to the kitchen and in a few minutes we had chocolate faces from the vegan nutella crepes we were eating. Moral of the story is: if you're going to stay up late, now you know, you can do anything if there's nutella.
This recipe isn't your typical 3 ingredient vegan Nutella with just hazelnuts maple syrup and cacao. It includes the secret weapon to making it extra creamy and decadent, but you'll have to scroll down and watch the video or read the recipe to find out what that is!
This yummy vegan hazelnut and chocolate spread is perfect on strawberries, delicious on toast, waffles, in crepes or as a topping for pancakes. The next morning when half our fridge had jars and bowls of this stuff, Carlos even added some to his overnight oats! Yeah... he's cool like that.
Good news is, now you can make it at home too! It also makes a perfect gift if you put it in a glass jar, tie a ribbon around it and take it to a loved one, or to your Valentine this year!
Without further ado, here's the recipe, printable and video for this yummy treat! I call it the Vegan nutella for hopeless romantics:
VEGAN NUTELLA FOR HOPELESS ROMANTICS
Yield: 1 jar (approximately 1 & 1/2 cups) ⎮ Prep time: 10 minutes ⎮ Cook time: 5 minutes Pre soaking time: 4 hours to overnight for the cashews
1/2 cup raw cashews, previously soaked in water for 4 hours or overnight, drained
1 & 1/2 cups hazelnuts
2 teaspoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)
5 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 tablespoons water
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons dark chocolate pieces or chips
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Pre-heat the oven at 400ºF (205ºC).
Place your hazelnuts in a shallow baking sheet and roast them in the oven until golden, between 3-5 minutes. Keep an eye on them as they can burn quickly.
Remove the brown skins if many of them have it, as this will provide a creamier texture. You can do this by rolling them, once roasted, over a clean kitchen towel, letting most of the skins come off. If you’ve bought hazelnuts that come pre-toasted, most of the skins will have been removed so that will save you that extra step, but you’ll still want to roast them in the oven for maximum flavor.
Melt the dark chocolate pieces or chips either in a double boiler (place them in a heat resistant bowl over a small pot of boiling water and heat until melted), or in the microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval until all the chocolate has melted.
Drain your cashews and place them either in a high speed blender or in a food processor.
Add the roasted hazelnuts to the blender or food processor, along with the melted chocolate, cocoa powder, maple syrup, water, vanilla and salt, and blend or process until very creamy. Make sure to stop the machine every so often and scrape down the sides.
Place it in an airtight jar and use it to top toast, pancakes, waffles, in crepes, on strawberries, the sky is the limit when it comes to nutella!
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