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chocolate hazelnut spread blog

I’m probably not the sharpest knife in the drawer, because about a decade ago, I met two guys who were planning to start a bean-to-bar chocolate company in America. And I remember thinking, “Hoo-boy, are these nut-jobs going to lose their shirts! Who in America cares that much about chocolate?”

Fast-forward to a few years later, and Scharffen Berger chocolate became a huge hit, challenging, and changing the way Americans thought about chocolate. It was eventually sold for a substantial sum of money, and the rest is history.

And I’m living in a drafty, two room rooftop apartment where getting hot water is a miracle that might happen weekly. If at all. So who’s the nut-job now?

coarse crystal sugar cocoa nibs blog

Although I wasn’t an investor (which stinks, because I have a thing for hot showers), I spent a lot of time with the owners and chocolate-makers anyways, tasting chocolate, and even working in the factory a bit so I could learn about chocolate-making. In spite of what you might think, my favorite part was not sampling the finished bars, but was dipping into the mélangeur, where immense granite rollers pulverized ground cocoa nibs and special, very coarse sugar, into a paste.

The process took several days, and before the chocolate was completely smooth, I was hooked on that chunky, chocolate-rich bittersweet paste that I’d swipe from the machine with the handy disposable popsicle sticks which were kept nearby. I begged them to jar it at that half-finished point and sell it as spread for toast. Or illegally as a drug, if they really wanted to rake it in. (But I assume by now that they knew better than to listen to me.)

I hadn’t thought much about that paste in a while, until World Nutella Day came around and I thought about giving it a go in my own kitchen. When I was a scruffy backpacker just out of college thumbing around Europe, I remember sticking a knife into a jar of Nutella for the first time and thinking that it was absolutely, positively, the best thing I’d ever tasted. And I carried one solitary jar back to the states, not sharing it with anyone, trying to make it last as long as possible.

chocolate hazelnut spread chocolate paste, finished

Nowadays Nutella is made in America, and I live in Europe. So no matter where I go, I’m not far from a jar. (Plus I don’t have to worry about breaking any of my own crazy food rules.) But the food police has swooped down and I haven’t checked lately, so am not sure if Nutella is on the yea or nay list.

Curiously, in France, chocolate often comes with labels noting how healthy it is for you, since it contains a good amount of magnesium. Robert Steinberg, who was a doctor and one of the founders of Scharffen Berger chocolate, would go ballistic when people brought up the subject of chocolate and health: “Why can’t people just eat chocolate and enjoy it for what it is?”

And indeed, whenever people ask me about health benefits in chocolate, I keep my cool a bit more than he did, and note that there are some, but “It’s like baking a vitamin C tablet in a cheesecake. Does that mean you should eat cheesecake to get your vitamin C?” (Although I should try it; people apparently will buy anything.)

Still, there’s nothing wrong with regular chocolate, but I’m pretty entranced by cocoa nibs, the unsweetened ground beans that chocolate is made from, which are the essence of pure chocolate. At the factory, the sugar they used was very coarse, which I replicated pretty easily, adding extra at the end to ensure when you ate the paste, the crackly sugar crystals would crunch nicely in your mouth, alternating with the bitter, roasted flavor of the unsweetened cocoa nibs.

Like the mixture in the machine at the chocolate factory, once cooled, it’ll harden and turn into firm chocolate, even though I’ve added a spoonful of hazelnut oil, in honor of chocolate-hazelnut Nutella spread. So it’s best eaten right away. Not that that’ll be any problem.

chocolate hazelnut spread

(For those looking for a more traditional Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread, check out my post and recipe for Homemade Nutella.)

Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread

The spread needs to be served warm: once cool, it’ll firm up, as hard as a block of chocolate. It can easily be rewarmed in a microwave or by setting the jar in a pan of barely-simmering water. In the winter, I just warm it by setting the jar on the radiator until it softens. Take care not to get any water or steam into it, which will make it seize and become grainy. This recipes uses hazelnut oil and I’ve listed a few sources below. It’s somewhat expensive, but I use it frequently to dress spinach or arugula salads, and keep a small bottle in the refrigerator just for those. If that’s unavailable to you, another pure nut oil can be substituted. Or you can use a neutral vegetable oil, or even a fruity olive oil. If that sounds odd to you, trying it. Sprinkled with a little bit of sea salt, it’s my new favorite afternoon snack.
  • 1 cup (120g) roasted cocoa nibs
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse-grained granulated sugar, (such as free-flowing cassonade or Hawaiian washed sugar)
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons pure hazelnut oil
  • flaky sea salt
  • Spread the cocoa nibs in a skillet and toast them over low heat, stirring continuously, until they’re warm and shiny. It should take about three minutes.
  • Remove from heat and transfer the nibs into a blender or mini food processor. Add the 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 teaspoons hazelnut oil, and a big pinch of salt.
  • Grind the mixture until it forms a smooth paste, stopping the machine and scraping down the sides, to help the ingredients mix thoroughly. The mixture is done when it forms a shiny paste, but will still be quite crunchy. It will take between one and three minutes. Depending on how powerful your blender or food processor is, and the cocoa nibs, you might need another teaspoon (or more) of oil if it absolutely won’t come together. But it shouldn’t be a smooth puree.
  • By hand, stir in the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar.
  • Spread on warm toast and sprinkle with a few grains of sea salt.

Hazelnut Oil

Nut oils should be fresh, and kept under refrigeration once opened. There’s nothing worse than rancid nut oil. I use Leblanc hazelnut oil, which is my favorite and I buy at the Leblanc shop in Paris. It is also available in well-stocked grocery stores and via online at: Leblanc hazelnut oil (Amazon)

La Tourangelle is one hazelnut oil that pressed in California. I haven’t tried it, but the best way to buy nut oils is to buy from a trusted source, and if there is a shop that has an open bottle that you can smell first, or the staff recommends it, all the better.

Cocoa Nibs

I purchase Valrhona cocoa nibs from G. Detou, and they costs less than €15 for a kilo (#2.2). If that seems like a lot, find a friend to share them with you.

Many well-stocked supermarkets and gourmet foods stores now carry cocoa nibs.

Other Places to Get Cocoa Nibs Online

Valrhona Cocoa Nibs, 1 kg (2.2#) (The Chef’s Warehouse)

Askinosie Cocoa Nibs (Askinosie Chocolate)

Theo Cocoa Nibs (Theo Chocolate)

Chocolate Alchemy (Chocolate-making Website)

World Nutella Day Button

Related Links

Ms Adventures in Italy (World Nutella Day Co-Host)

Bleeding Espresso (World Nutella Day Co-Host)

World Nutella Day Facebook Fan Page

World Nutella Day (Twitter)

How to Temper Chocolate

Homemade Hazelnut Chocolate Spread (Los Angeles Times)

Too Good to Use



Chocolate FAQs



    • celia

    Absolutely perfect – I’ve just bought a 1kg bag of Callebaut cacao nibs last week! In Australia, we have access to both raw sugar and expensive, but oh so worth it, demerara sugar, both of which would probably be divine in this. Many thanks, David! :)

    • Sonndapond

    Wow David – just read your recipe – what an exciting start to my day off! You’ll know from my last post just how much I like EXTREMELY dark chocolate. It’s cocoa solids and almost nothing else for me, so your nib:sugar ratio has me bounding out of bed and straight into the kitchen. Can’t wait to try it on a thick slice of chewy toasted sourdough! (Though the prospect of all that granularity is almost proving too much for my salivary glands, working overtime as I write these last words.)

    • Lucie

    Thanks for this delicious sounding recipe David! My maman sent me a little jar of scharffen Berger cocoa nibs from the US and I’ve been slowly munching on them, trying to make them last as long as possible!

    • Michelle | Bleeding Espresso

    Lovelovelove the color of this, and I’m sure it tastes great too. Thanks so much for participating in World Nutella Day…and good luck on your trifecta today :)

    • Sweet Freak

    I thought you were talking about the Mast Brothers – another bean-to-bar brother dynamo. But no matter – in the end, you were talking about Nutella and hazlenut spread – perfect for a Friday post so I can try whipping up a batch this weekend. Merci!

    • denise – quickies on the dinner table

    Oh my word! The colour of that has me grabbing the table edge. I’ve always loved Nutella and really good Italian gianduja but THAT is on another plane altogether!

    • Camille

    What do you know, I just bought a bag of cocoa nibs last weekend!

    • Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden

    Well, I have the hot coffee… if only I could just click on the screen to bring that delicious looking, chocolate smeared piece of bread to my lips. Now that would be heaven. That and a hot shower.

    • Anna @ unsweetenedcocoa

    Seriously? Oh boy, we’re in trouble now….
    I love this stuff, grew up with one hand in the nutella jar. The thought of making it at home is brilliant.
    Thank you!

    • Caffettiera

    I can’t wait to try this version! I made a dark chocolate spread as well for world Nutella day. Weirdly enough it looks a lot like yours but I guess the flavor must be completely different because the ingredients are.
    I never bought cocoa nibs before but I think i will very soon, since I have to try this recipe. Do they exist also in a non roasted variety? Can you roast them yourself, or is it like toasted coffee (nobody does it at home)? Thanks!

    • A Gift Wrapped Life

    I know, I know, I almost bought apple and google stock as well years ago but there it it is. My son who is a med student eats nutella sandwiches all day long, it better be a good thing. Love all your posts.

    • H.Peter

    ” Never look back, but what’s ahead of you” by H.Peter….well, not really by me, but still a good motto..

    Scharffen Berger what a story. Unfortunately not the happiest of endings. Excellent chocolate makers.

    I think every kid in Europe grows up with Nutella for breakfast. I know I did.

    • NickMontreal

    This reminds me of something my partner made the other day. You know when you come home from a long, hard, shit-storm of a day and the first place you go is to your larder? And you have such an intense need for nourishment that you end up eating some werido combination like peanut butter with raw oats and chocolate chips?

    Well it was one of those moments. He found some leftover chocolate ganache from a cake I had made a couple of days ago, spread that on a warm slice of toast, followed by a liberal slathering of hazelnut butter and finished off with a glossy coat of homemade marmalade.

    I tried it. It was intense. I feel like it should be a ‘thing’. You should totally try your spread with marmalade…

    • ritu

    David, a question: I believe the cocoa nibs I use (Scharffen Berger) are already roasted. If so, do they still need to be toasted/heated? Thanks, Ritu

    • David

    Caffetiera: You can get something called ‘raw’ cocoa nibs, but I think somehow they are heated or cooked slightly, but I’m not sure. People do buy green coffee beans, but I just don’t have any experience with those ‘raw’ cocoa nibs as they’re not widely-available.

    Ritu: The recipe called for ‘roasted’ cocoa nibs, which is what I used. But they should be heated because cocoa beans are about 50% fat and heating them helps release that so when ground, they form a paste.

    GWL: I actually had some Apple stock that I bought at around $70/share, then it dropped to half that, so I sold it. The thing about the stock market is unless you buy a lot, even if those shares doubled (or tripled), if you’ve only invested a few hundred dollars, it’s not a lot of money. (And for every Apple stock, there’s Yahoo or IBM…)

    H. Peter: Yes, it was sad that they sold it. But it’s amazing what they ignited and it’s gratifying to see so many bean-to-bar makers in America, who were influenced by what they did.

    NickMontreal: I’ve actually been eating it right out of the jar!

    • Danika Boyle

    Can’t wait to try this~ Do you have any suggestions on how to make Madeleines with Nutella/ Chocolate Hazelnut spread inside?

    • Loulou

    Will definitely try this! It looks amazing, especially with that sprinkle of salt at the end.
    Must remember to buy cocoa nibs when I’m in Paris in April as I don’t think I can find them where I live. Maybe at Metro?

    • Binsy

    I’m still laughing at the ‘buy anything’ links!

    • petoskystone

    drafty = silicone caulking for windows. nutella = perfection. o yum! luckily, no one else in the family likes it :)

    • Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite

    Oh I can’t wait to try this! Thanks for posting. I especially like the touch of sea salt on top. Wish I was eating it now. I made a very decedent cheesecake for World Nutella Day but I love the simplicity of this!

    Re: the not investing in Scharffen Berger my brother in law had a similar situation when some of his friends asked him to invest in a board game that turned out to be Trivial Pursuit! He thought “who would buy ANOTHER board game?”

    • sugar plum fairy

    Today I walked through those aisle’s of hugely immense granite rollers pulverized ground cocoa nibs and special, very coarse sugar, into a paste. with the waft of mélangeur on those disposable popsicle stick….oh i took in the aroma good…and am reaching out for yet another hazelnut nutella truffle that just got set in my refrigeration….you make the experience all the more better….

    And i had no idea (I know) it was world Nutella day today or else would have put those truffles or chocolate bites up…..

    I love Robert Steinberg’s take on chocolate our love “Why can’t people just eat chocolate and enjoy it for what it is?”…..

    all the more reason i feel like LOVE IS IN D AIR ,SO IS ROMANCE WISH U LOADS OF IT @365

    • Michmom, Belgium

    What a fab recipe! Now I just have to find the ingredients here. I always look a good food hunt.
    Thanks for the reminder on it being World Nutella Day. When my daughter got home from school I had a baguette from our corner boulangerie ready for some Nutella love. Such happiness!

    • Lilly Higgins

    Yum! My goodness,This looks amazing. I’ll have to try this for my lazy sunday morning! I love the idea of salt on top, I always sprinkle a bit on my millionaires shortbread! Lovely photos too.

    • nyc/caribbean ragazza

    World Nutella Day is one of my favorite holidays.

    I don’t think about health benefit when I eat Nutella. I just enjoy it and try not to eat it all the time.

    • Lentil Breakdown

    I had the very same experience with Nutella the first time I went to Paris 20 years ago! I was in love with it, brought home one jar in my backpack and coveted it (translation = would not share) since it could not be found in the states. It came in the drinking glass with the white plastic lid that I may even still have in my cupboard.

    I also have a fond memory of last time I was in Paris, tasting the hazelnut oil at one of the dept. stores (maybe Galeries Lafayette), and I was in heaven! Wasn’t sure where to get it here of the same quality. The one at Whole Foods looks questionable.

    As for Nutella being on the yay or nay list, I would say it’s nay because of the hydrogenated oil. Trader Joe’s made one without the hydrogenation, but they don’t sell it anymore. So I am thrilled to have your recipe!! Thanks!

    • David

    lentil Breakdown: When I was teaching at Central Market in Texas last time, they had Leblanc nut oils, which cost similar to what they do in France. I haven’t tasted that one I linked to from California, but have a hunch it’s pretty good. If anyone has experience tasting it, you’re welcome to comment. Really, there’s nothing better than excellent, roasted hazelnut oil, is there? I love the smell!

    nyc/caribbean ragazza: I don’t eat enough of the ‘forbidden’ foods (packaged cookies, canned stuff) to worry about what’s good or bad. But I do try to eat as much whole, natural foods, like butter, cheese, bread, and chocolate, as possible : )

    Mardi: They say for every time that people slap their foreheads and say, “I should’ve invested in that!” there are a bunch of others things that had they invested, they would’ve lost a bunch of money. It’s pretty hard to beat the market, and for that reason, the only chocolate I’m investing in nowadays is the stuff I can store on my kitchen shelves.

    • Julia

    That’s just gorgeous and brilliant and I’ll probably not make it but maybe one day I will so in the meantime I will just be impressed and amazed by this post. Sigh.

    • Liz

    That looks fabulous! Is there anything you can add in the home kitchen to keep it from hardening? It would be lovely to keep some of the spreadable stuff on hand for a few days (it’s hard for two people to consume everything all at once!).

    • Hannah

    Oh my bucket, I think I just had a heart attack. Cacao nibs are pretty much one of my absolute favourite things ever (I cannot ever resist a chocolate bar with nibs), and this. is. just. magnificent.

    • Kristin

    This looks so rich and amazing! I am definitely trying some!

    • Christine

    The recipe looks spectacular but the first three paragraphs are truly golden! I got S-B chocolate coated cacao nibs (redundant?!) in my stocking this year. There are very few left. I’ve been stretching them!

    • keiko

    Absolutely loving this post, I’m so going to make this spread asap! Thank you David.

    • Cherie on Bainbridge

    Bonjour, Monsieur! Always read, always lurk but thought I would respond to the oil comments. I live near Seattle (on a lovely little ile called Bainbridge) and have used the La Tourganelle oils routinely for the past few years. I started with the Pumpkin Seed oil (which is divine on roasted squash) and then bought some of the almond huile. Also excellent. I find it to be rather spendy from the local market, especially if you are using it in large quantities for dressings, but the quality is very, very good. (Plus, I like the looks of all those sweet little containers lined up in my fridge. Makes me feel fancy:-).

    In a very odd and strange turn of events, TJ Maxx has started selling a good selection of theses oils. (Plus large selections of “Herbes de Provence”?!) Pull date is good and the only blemish is a sometimes dented can. I pay $6.99 to $8.99 for a can there -which is why I have a lot of containers lined up in my fridge. I have the pumpkin, sesame, almond, walnut, grapeseed, and pistachio. Always looking for the white and black “infused” truffle, but based on your last entry link re truffle oil, I make not.

    Spent the month of June lurking about the Marais for you. Next time. Dinner at a la biche au bois and Bistrot Paul Bert were formidable. Merci.

    • j. lizbeth

    Mr. Lebovitz, you never cease to fascinate me with your stories and recipes.

    Today, I found a delightful 2 for 1 surprise in reading your post. Not only did I get yet another recipe to add to my “must make soon” list, but a good 15 minutes of laughter over those you tube videos. Bless you sir, for making a slow office day better.

    • David

    Liz: I tried a few variations on this theme, and discovered why they put those dubious fats in Nutella. My last version, I used pure hazelnut paste, which was extremely expensive but made the paste taste too goopy. And it detracted too much from the taste of the ground cocoa nibs.

    I liked the straight-on flavor of this and found that just a quick re-heating brought it back to spreadable form. And those few seconds of extra effort paid off in the form of a intense jolt of bittersweet chocolate.

    cherie: Thanks for your advice about those oils, and glad you found a bon marché (good deal!)

    • Patricia Rain, VQ

    Sounds delicious and much better than the packaged Nutella. Right now washed Hawaiian sugar (aka plantation white) is very difficult to find due to a drought in Maui. Brazil has it but I don’t know of any sugar companies importing it to the US. I just bought 500 pounds of the sugar for our vanilla sugars. If any of you want this sugar (which is often called evaporated cane juice), visit my site and get some. It will have vanilla in it but this won’t interfere with David’s recipe unless you really don’t like the flavor of vanilla.

    Separate comment:
    I’ve just received 7 + pounds of single-origin chocolate from Guittard Chocolate!! Seven different varieties from places like Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, etc. I’m going to blog about these chocolates. Ideas on recipes that will showcase the unique flavors of each variety?

    • veganchica

    I loved Nutella, and don’t eat it anymore since becoming vegan. Thank you so much for a recipe for Faux-tella.

    • K Gaylin

    Whole Foods sells its own private label brand of chocolate hazelnut spread that has no transfats. Nutella is delicious but does contain palm kernel oil which is a highly saturated fat. Of course, discussing health and chocolate hazelnut spreads is probably an oxymoron, but for what it’s worth, the Whole Foods product is excellent and about the same price as Nutella.

    • Merisi’s Vienna

    Very interesting, never knew that one could roast one’s own cocoa nibs!
    Is there a reason you don’t add ground hazelnuts to your mixture? And here another question: Why is it nearly impossibly to get ground nuts in the USA? One of the biggest surprises when I moved to Vienna was the discovery of ground roasted hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds in every supermarket.

    The best Nutella is the one they produce in Italy. It has a deeper chocolate taste than the American one. I have never compared the labels, but I’d bet the ingredients list is different!

    Pane a cioccolata btw was one of my favorite snacks as a student in Rome. A fresh rosetta (a Roman specialty, a large roll, mostly crust), filled with a thin, square-sized chocolate bar. Heaven! I remember a scene from an Italian movie, Bread and Chocolate, where two Italian migrant workers try to enjoy a B&C snack in a Swiss park, literally disturbing the peace when they try to unwrap their rolls: the rustling paper was too much for the fine-tuned Swiss ears! ;-)

    • Dandy

    I don’t know whats better, this recipe of the fact that i’ll now have the perfect cushion for my breasts.

    • Ari

    Thanks for this awesome recipe, David! I love Nutella too. Have you seen the video on You Tube about the difference between German and French Nutella?

    BTW, the February 2010 issue of “Marie Claire,” the American version says “Kush” can be also used for other things.

    • CarolB

    Love everyone’s comments on your post. I’m grateful for the TJ Maxx oil sourcing reminder (I’ve bought EVOO there before and was delighted by the find) and particularly glad to know that Whole Foods makes a house brand transfat free nutella-like spread. I love the image of the perfectly toasted whole grain bread smeared with the chocolately goodness and the gorgeous glass of orange juice. What a way to start the day.

    • Alexa

    I’ve been using cocoa nibs for about a year–I’m hooked but I never thought to use them to make a Nutella-like spread. I’ll be trying your recipe this weekend.
    On a side note: Nutella was originally a block that people would slice and serve on a slices of bread. The recipe was changed to make it spreadable and the rest is history.

    • Adriana

    I had no idea there was a world Nutella day or is it week? anyway, my day just go a whole lot better. What’s that spread like on those sugared crusted popovers? Thanks for posting.

    • Gaelle

    I did not know there was a Nutella Day! My Nutealla cupcake recipe was a hit with my children and today, with some delay, we had some crepes with Nutella for dessert. Nothing wrong with it? Except that now that I read your post and the comments, I’m going to seriously try to make my own. I know that my children (but really husband) might not like it as much as the “real” stuff… but I bet that Nutella in Italy does not taste like Nutella in the US.
    Merci pour la recette!

    • Pamela

    Mon dieu, I can’t believe almost missed World Nutella Day! Not that I eat Nutella anymore … but that delicious pâte à tartiner was the beginning of my love affair with the hazelnut, le chocolat aux noix, les truffes aux noix … . I must go make some of my own hazelnut-chocolate spread, tout de suite! Thank goodness for le décalage …

    • Cate

    My introduction to hazelnut and chocolate was when I attended a French school in Switzerland as a young teenager. At break-time in the morning we were given mini baguettes along with a foil wrapped branche (stick) of chocolate with hazelnut paste inside. I copied the girls who tore the top off the baguette, dug the inside out, shoved the chocolate inside and ate it like a sandwich. I couldn’t believe what I was eating! Sublime. That was the beginning of my lifelong love affair with hazelnut flavoured chocolate.

    When I moved back to the States I was distraught at not being able to get what I then deemed to be good chocolate. Now live in the UK and I often buy German hazelnut chocolate (from Lidl) as a guilty pleasure and have introduced several American friends to it. Strangely I never eat Nutella !

    Does anyone know if these foil wrapped branches are still available in Switzerland?

    • Lisa G

    David, I thought the same thing when I heard that several people in Seattle had started roasting their own cocoa beans and claiming that the next big thing is going to be micro-chocolatiers. Now they are quite successful: Theo Chocolate in Seattle.

    I think I will make this delicious spread and shove it in a croissant from my (current) fav boulangerie in the 13th. Now that’s decadent. Cheers!

    • MrsLavendula

    that looks delicious on a good slice of loaf and a steaming cup of strong brewed coffee!

    • Kathleen is Cooking in Mexico

    Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! Nutella is maybe the single thing I can’t have in the house all the time. Otherwise, I would be eating a whole jar every day! Is this a drug?

    Oddly, I didn’t encounter Nutella until I moved to Mexico 12 years ago. Now it is in all the major supermarkets, and this availability requires great will power on my part not to put it in the shopping cart every time I go to town.

    Chocolate nibs are also easily available here, thought, curiously, Mexico is not well known for its chocolate candy. They have yet to figure that out.

    Thanks for the recipe, David. I’ll dig out some nibs from the freezer and try it. I don’t have hazelnut oil, but I think walnut oil will do fine.


    Nutella is being marketed on TV, in the US, as a “healthy snack”. A Mom is shown spreading Nutella on a slice of whole wheat bread for her children as they come in from school. We discovered Nutella on a trip to Europe, years ago, as well…ON A CREPE!…WITH BANANAS!! Now it’s a staple in our cupboard. Sometimes just a spoonful of Nutella cures whatever ails you.

    • David

    veganchica: It totally escaped me that this was vegan. Glad you can enjoy it!

    Bonnie: Some chocolate companies are spending a lot of money on research, trying to prove that chocolate is ‘healthy’, so they can put that on the label. Many of these studies are being funded by chocolate companies. I don’t eat Nutella (or chocolate) to get healthy; I enjoy them for what they are and don’t feel guilty for an occasional indulgence. (Ok, with chocolate, it’s a frequent indulgence!)

    Patricia: Thanks for the information about the Hawaiian washed sugar. I like the fact that it was easily obtainable so folks could find it at their local supermarket. I like some of those E. Guittard chocolates, especially the Sur de Lago, although I think some of those flavors are best appreciated on their own.

    Dandy: Glad to help…on both counts!
    ; )

    • Maureen in Austin

    I’d like to try this but I don’t think I’ve ever seen cocoa nibs or heard of them.
    I’m coming to the conclusion that I’m the slow kid on this blog.

    • Marla (Family Fresh Cooking)

    I love how simple and perfect this is! I use toasted cacao nibs often. I enjoy their full chocolate flavor with out anything else getting in the way. This “nutella” would be great served over a steamy bowl of oatmeal or inside my stuffed french toast. xo

    • tobias kocht!

    so easy to make at home. great. will make that for my next brunch.

    • Susan @ SGCC

    For what it’s worth, I think you’re a pretty darn sharp knife! And, I love this spread. I just so happen to have a little bottle of hazelnut oil in my fridge from my last trip to Paris, and also cocoa nibs. I may have to dust off the food processor and give it a whirl!

    • Alta

    Oh wow. I think I might love you. Sorry if that’s really awkward to read!

    • Susan

    What if you mixed this with a little of your Best Chocolate Sauce, would it stay spreadable or would it separate because of the hazelnut oil?

    • Kerrin @ MyKugelhopf

    this is perfect, i have a little brown canister of Askinosie’s cocoa nibs and was going back and forth about the best way to finish them off. this is it! toasted bread with top-notch salted butter and dark chocolate (or unsalted butter plus either fleur de sel or Maldon) has been a favorite snack of mine for a long time. so is the snack done Pierre Herme style – chocolate on a baguette, into the oven for 5min, then sprinkled with olive oil and fleur de sel. can’t wait to try this one done David Lebovitz style! :)

    • Georgia.Pellegrini

    The texture of this spread looks amazing. I love nutella, but I think I love the real thing more.

    • CookEatLove

    hello…photo tips puhleeease. Such a beautiful website.

    • suzanne

    Nutella is one of the greatest food products ever invented. But, like you, it took going overseas for me to discover it and then it was love at first taste….and now I keep a jar in the cupboard. My favorite is to spread it over peanut butter toast, a twist on the pleasures of peanut butter and chocolate.

    • R

    I was introduced to Nutella by a woman who had lived in Germany for a while, and I was hooked. I still try to limit myself, though. I buy it three or four times a year, and try to make it last.

    • Carrie @ Deliciously Organic

    Thank you for this recipe! I was just thinking yesterday that I need a homemade nutella recipe (since the store-bought contains hydrogenated oils) so this is perfect! I think Nutella paninis are in order!

    • David

    Sian: There’s a discussion about the article over on my Facebook page.

    Can’t say I’ve ever had a produce vendor tell me to get my own vegetables, since I need the exercise (nor can I imagine it), but the stuff about taxi drivers is fully-believable. (Although I’ve had similar, if not worse, experience with cab drivers in New York City…)

    Cookeatlove: Glad you like the photos. You can check out my post: My Food Photography Gear, which has tips as well.

    Susan: I don’t know. Nutella has a vegetable oil that stays fairly solid at room temperature in it, which gives it the spreadable consistency. I thought about trying coconut oil or cocoa butter, but was pleased with it as it was. But if you do try variations, please report back and let us know how they worked.

    • Absolutely Not Martha

    years ago when i spent a semester studying in paris, i remember the warm and greasy nutella-filled crepes one could get from the street vendor. delish. on another chocolate-hazelnut note, “addicted to noisella” stuffed french toast at The Griddle Cafe in L.A.

    • Cynthia Morris

    I will never forget dinner at your lovely apartment a few years ago with Heather. For a dessert treat you whipped out a jar of chocolate hazelnut spread you’d brought back from Italy.

    It was like eating freshly ground peanut butter instead of Jif peanut butter. I’ll never eat Nutella again – too sweet, too sugary, too…Jif.

    Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    • Celia

    So here’s a question, David. Since it sets rock hard overnight, do you think the spread can be spooned into little moulds and then allowed to set into homemade “chocolate” pieces? I’ve been reading about a new wave of “raw chocolate” being made from cacao nibs and wondered if the process might be something like that? Hmmmm. Might need to experiment…

    • Julie

    It looks yummy. I’m definitely going to try this one out. Btw, just found your blog. I know I’m a bit late. hehe. Great stuff you have in here. Keep up the good work :)

    • David

    Celia: Yes, you could make them into individual candies that way. They might turn white from fat bloom (which is why chocolate is normally tempered for candies), but leaving them in a cool place would mitigate that. Or eat them right away!

    rae: I could never forget about the fine folks at Theo chocolate! I love you guys ♥

    Cynthia: The gianduja paste from Torino was great, wasn’t it? Whenever I go back there I always pick up a few jars. I don’t know where to get it in Paris (which is probably a good thing…) but it gives me a reason to go back to Torino.

    • Tania

    Hi David,

    I’ve been reading avidly since I decided to accompany my husband on his semester abroad in Paris.

    Tangentially to Nutella, which I find readily back home in NYC, I was wondering if you could tell me which French foods are very hard to find in the U.S. (barring making them) – you know, so I can gorge on them between now and my return flight in 5 months. Fromage frais strikes me as a possible one.



    • Maureen in Austin

    Hey, was that the Central Market here in Austin? I love that place. Best thing is the live music on the weekends. It’s a great place to shop and chill.

    • Mitzimi

    Oh my – where was this recipe during all those years I would carry a jar of Nutella around the world with me, living in places where hot water, let alone Nutella, was just a dream?

    Now – like you it seems, although I’m not in France – I’m in the land of Nutella plenty and cold water … but I can’t wait to try this recipe, especially with some great olive oil I’ve been saving. Have never used cocoa nibs, but I just saw some the other day and wondered how I’d use them in an ice cream recipe.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Kathleen is Cooking in Mexico

    I made this recipe. It is wonderful! The only drawback is that it lasted no longer than a jar of Nutella — about 24 hours and it was gone.I added more oil, using coconut oil, to make it creamier and easier to spread. This is a recipe I will make again on a regular basis. Thanks for helping us celebrate World Nutella Day by going back to the origins of chocolate and using cacao nibs.

    • parisbreakfast

    Pain Quotidien sells 3 kinds of Nutella- Blonde, white, chocolate and there are NO Hazelnuts in any of them or in any Nutella?
    Very disappointed to hear that…

    • The Purple Foodie

    You are a genius, David! I’ve always wanted to make my own nutella, but but have usually taken the easy way out. Now with you coaxing me again, I think I just might have to. I so feel like kicking myself knowing that cacao nibs are so cheap at G. Detou. My boyfriend was there for Christmas and even went there! Wish I told him to pick it up for me. Also, I really like the sound of hazelnut oil. Must find one locally!

    • zillyzab

    Lentil Breakdown (previous comment): I found my hazelnut oil here. I bought it a few months ago and it worked well for this recipe (which is amazing btw!)

    • Zora

    Funny–I clicked over to this to see if you had any tips on making this smooth, but I see you embraced the crunch! I made my own Nutella last year, and couldn’t grind the hazelnuts smooth enough–it was extremely tasty, but a little, ah, “rustic.” (It did stay spreadable, though, thanks to all the nuts.) I see that you skip hazelnuts entirely….interesting. I will have to return to the scene of the crime. (For those curious, I started out with this recipe: And tinkered. Though can’t remember how. Now I remember why I should blog about everything.)

    BTW, the Nutella in the US has hydrogenated fat. The stuff in Europe does not. The only reason I bothered to make my own.


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