The Season For Giving

Homemade Nutella

As I typed the title of this post, it struck me that it could just as well be called “The Season (for) Forgiving” and would be equally apt, considering the usual stresses/regrets/insecurities/excesses that accompany this time of year. But that’s a negative way of looking at things, and who needs Negativity in the week leading up to Christmas?

For the past three years, I’ve stumbled upon an activity that’s turned into some sort of a tradition – making Christmas gifts. I suppose it’s nothing to be surprised about considering the many Christmas cards I used to make for my classmates back in school. Although tedious, it kept this teenager gainfully occupied for the holidays, and gave me a legitimate reason to stake out stationery stores, swooping up pens, markers and craft paper in any and every color. As much as I love a good and productive shopping trip, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as investing a bit of oneself in a gift for the special people in our lives. Especially when it means avoiding the crazy buzz at the mall and saving my sanity from the horribly bad renditions of Christmas songs. Give me Feist and a hot oven any day!

Homemade Nutella

Fast forward 16 years and I’m losing myself, not only in colors and patterns now, but also in the search for the perfect jars and the perfect labels for the homemade Chocolate Hazelnut Spread and bags of Madeleines that our friends will be receiving this year.

After the notorious macarons of 2009, M likes to joke that I choose to make Christmas gifts from a special list titled “Difficult Things To Make”, because of the time spent on searching for the best recipe and tweaking it to my liking. This spread wasn’t too big a headache considering it’s essentially hazelnut butter mixed with sugar and cocoa. But the Madeleines however, took a lot longer than expected, leaving me in a rather Proustian melancholy for most of last week.

But that’s a story for another time. For this post, here’s my take on a grown-up version of Nutella. In place of cocoa powder I’ve substituted intensely-flavored Cacao nibs that add crunch and a layer of smokiness to the palate, finishing everything off with a pinch of ground espresso for added depth. While still sweet and classically earthy at the start, the punch of dark chocolate follows soon after, accentuated by hints of espresso. For you dark chocolate fans out there, this spread may be the point of no return. You’ve been warned!

Homemade Nutella

Grown-up Chocolate Hazelnut Spread (Nutella) (adapted from David Lebovitz and Su Good Sweets)
Makes about 14 ounces

10 oz/ 300 grams hazelnuts, toasted and skins removed
2 oz/ 60 grams cocoa nibs
1/2 to 2/3 cup/ 60-70 grams powdered sugar
7 teaspoons unrefined hazelnut oil
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder

To toast the hazelnuts, preheat your oven to 300F and spread the nuts on one layer on a large baking sheet. Toast the nuts for about 15 minutes until golden brown, then rub their skins off with a clean cloth. Set aside.

Toast the cocoa nibs by placing them in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until they darken and are slightly shiny. Remove from heat and set aside.

Place the nuts and cocoa nibs in a food processor and chop them until they liquefy. Your processor will sound as if it’s throwing a hissy fit and about to implode, but keep your finger on the pulse button until you get a thick, lovely dark chocolate hazelnut butter. The nuts and nibs will first gather into a ball before turning into butter. To help move things along, you may need to scrape down the sides of the processor bowl to ensure that everything is pulverized.

Add the sugar, oil and espresso powder and pulse again, scraping down as needed until everything is well incorporated into a lusciously thick sauce. There will still be chunks of nibs remaining which will give a slight crunch to each spoonful.

Store the spread in clean and dry airtight containers/jars and refrigerate. Bring the spread to room temperature before using.

Homemade Nutella

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  • I’ve seen a few folks post nutella recipes, but none are as beautifully documented as yours.

    You have completely sold me!ReplyCancel

  • Nice work, and I love the packaging.ReplyCancel

  • Beautiful and delicious. Enjoy the holiday!ReplyCancel

  • You are really making me a convert with those gorgeous shots!! I don’t even like hazelnuts :))) Beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Fresh and Foodie

    Nutella is one of my absolute favorite things. Never tried to make it myself, but your recipe looks so wonderful I’m dying to try it. Love love love.ReplyCancel

  • Felicia

    Absolutely decadent! I was going to ask, when did you get into sewing little felt acorns 😛 I love Etsy and the amazing treasures it brings!ReplyCancel

    • Ha! Me and sewing live in different universes, and that’s a HAZELNUT by the way!ReplyCancel

  • Darren

    Once again, the internet has made me wish I could physically taste something off the screen.

    Wonderfully portrayed and documented! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • thefunkykitchen

    Sounds great! I wish we could keep it in my house, darn the Mister’s nut allergy certainly gets in the way of Nutella. I made a tahini-chocolate version of nutella for him and I and it turned out great. I’m sure this is awesome.ReplyCancel

  • What a lovely take on homemade Nutella! Gotta try it. Definitely.ReplyCancel

  • Looks amazing, love the pics! You’ve got some very lucky friends:)ReplyCancel

  • I want some Danielle!ReplyCancel

  • I have already made this Nutella! Without doubt it is the best nuttela I have ever tasted. Thanks for the recipe.ReplyCancel

  • I’m with you that there’s something very rewarding about making your own gifts, but it’s even better for the recipient, especially when they’re graced with a gift like this! The “nutella” smeared on the plate made me want to lick my screen.ReplyCancel

    • Haha, I think there’s an idea in there for a blog called ‘Lick My Screen’…ReplyCancel

  • Home-made Nutella? I’m Italian (like Nutella) and I eat a lot (everyone here is crazy for Nutella), but I had never thought of making it myself. That’s fantastic!! I think I’ll try it!! My friends would appreciate it… 😛ReplyCancel

  • I simply love this post. Very nice. I will definitely have to try this out.ReplyCancel

  • janeterin

    I feel so lucky to be one of the recipients of these lovely gifts! Oh, so, so good. You are the best!ReplyCancel

  • I made some “not”ella as a stocking stuffer for my fiancée. We celebrated together last weekend, since we’ll be traveling over the actual holiday, and he’s addicted! So much better than the store-bought variety. I like the addition of espresso powder and cocoa nibs, though it’s very good with natural process cocoa powder as well!



    • Totally agree. I made two different batches, one with cacao nibs and the other with cocoa powder and I have to say, I like both versions equally. And yes, my husband has a serious affliction of Nutella addiction too!ReplyCancel

  • What a fun idea! I am in love with that little wooden spoon too…it’s so sweet, the perfect prop!ReplyCancel

  • I’ve made chocolate condensed milk at home as I grew up with it and can’t find it for purchase in Canada. But I’ve never thought of making homemade nutella. Thank you for the idea!!!ReplyCancel

    • You’re very welcome. Now I’m curious about your chocolate condensed milk!ReplyCancel

  • oh dear…that looks pretty and delicious!
    I’m gonna give it a try at home 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Fantastic post!ReplyCancel

  • Wow thanks for sharing this recipe my daughter and me will certianly love this one. We love nutella!ReplyCancel

  • I’ve made a few different versions of homemade nutella before, but none that had cocoa nibs before. What a nice addition.ReplyCancel

  • I’m a huge fan of nutella but I have never tried making it myself. I love the idea of making it a little more grownup with the espresso and cocoa nibs. Happy holidays to you!ReplyCancel

    • Thanks Kasey, and to you too! Were you at Marge Bakery’s stall at the SF Underground Market last weekend by any chance?ReplyCancel

  • I’d love to try to make this but the last time I tried removing the skins off toasted hazelnuts, I thought I was going to pull my hairs out! Is there a secret for getting them to come off easily? I used a clean, wet dish towel to rub the nuts but the skin just didn’t want to come off. Do you think I didn’t toast the hazelnuts long enough? Thanks for the help. 🙂 Cheers! sheilaReplyCancel

  • What an awesome recipe- looks way healthier than the store-bought versions with all those additives we don’t need.

    Great photography too- love the lighting and the intricate sets. I wish I had your patience with creating sets!ReplyCancel

  • Rowena Chiu

    Just looking at the screen makes my mouth water. I can only dream about how the real thing would taste, but I can imagine that I’ll be transported to some sublime elysium! Mmm mmm. You have a real gift here, Danielle!! 🙂ReplyCancel

    • I believe this is the first comment on Bon Vivant involving the use of the word ‘elysium’. Congratulations 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Ah yes… I’ve hidden my jar from my two sisters. I’m not kidding you when I say it’s in my medicine cabinet right now as it’s been a big hit with all the gals in my family. Such thoughtful, beautiful gifts.ReplyCancel

    • Hahahaha, too funny. Important question though, can the medicine cabinet keep the jar refrigerated??ReplyCancel

  • Klare

    Yum! I must try out this recipe and I love the containers. What kind of camera do you use for your photos? Lovely shots! Rowena posted on FB and I am sold.ReplyCancel

    • @Klare: Thanks, I used a Nikon DSLR with a 60mm lens for this series of images.ReplyCancel

  • […] | Surpreenda a sua família com uma deliciosa receita caseira de […]ReplyCancel

  • BeReFinnej

    This looks SO good. I’m making this AND adding your blog to my Reader!ReplyCancel

  • Hi Danielle! Absolutely beautiful post! I totally agree with you- give me some good music and a hot oven, and I am a happy camper. Lovely idea to make your own version of nutella. The photos are simply gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • This looks extraordinary. I may be copying you come next December : )ReplyCancel

  • What an incredible gift – I love the packaging. I love making Christmas gifts as well. Last year it was champagne jelly and liqueurs. I was definitely on a boozy theme.

    I have to say that you have now shown me the way to my downfall. i am going to have to make this incredible recipe but I know my weakness and its staring me in the face. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!ReplyCancel

    • @OysterCulture: As they say, the path to one’s downfall is paved with good intentions…? How about I swop one of these jars for your champagne jelly? 😉ReplyCancel

  • This sounds absolutely amazing! I love nutella, but I’m lactose intolerant, so I’m always scared to eat it. So excited that this doesn’t have dairy. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Thanks for sharing this recipe – I can’t wait to try it out (although I am sure my hips can…)!ReplyCancel

  • THAT is one of thee most beautifully sinful recipes I’ve read! Irrespective of whether you buy or make the jar of chocolate joy, what starts off as a treat on strawberries or pretzels always ends up being me with a chocolaty spoon (finger) 🙂ReplyCancel

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sapana Shende, Manju Mahadevan, Emily, Rebecca & Bob Moody, Desi Mendoza and others. Desi Mendoza said: RT @indiansimmer: OMG OMG OMG! A recipe for homemade nutella! The Season For Giving […]ReplyCancel

  • Rachel

    Delicious. For me, this needed a pinch of salt to elevate it from really really good to fantastic. Thanks. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • […] anyone who wants to whip up a batch before their next training ride take a look at Bon Vivant where the entire recipe is laid out in […]ReplyCancel

  • Hello!
    Can you tell me if the 14 ounces are fluid ounces or weight ounces?

    Thank you,

  • […] unearthly gemstone. A tempting recipe. A skilled hand. Links Riley on 4 March 2011 View Comments blog comments […]ReplyCancel

  • This made me salivate. Really I did. It’s like flavors are exploding inside my mouth. Darn, I love it..ReplyCancel

  • I think I’m in love….ReplyCancel

  • Victoria

    Actually Nutella is a very toxic product. Its ingredients are made of the best quality BUT the packaging is the thing that can make women sterile and cause allergies in children.

    This is real, check the DW TV website for more information.


  • Bonjour,
    rien, qu’a voir le pot, j’ai pris 1 kg….
    Mais tant pis..
    A bientôt…

  • […] And if you’re hankering for a natural, homemade alternative to Nutella (which is a little less “pure” than the European version), how about this recipe? […]ReplyCancel

  • Autumn

    I realize this is an older post….but as a new subscriber I’ve been looking around and am already thinking that this will be my experiment this weekend and possible gifts later on—how long do you think the nutella will keep?

    Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Danielle

      Hi Autumn, because of the high proportion of dry ingredients, the nutella will keep pretty well in the refrigerator for a few months! That’s for unopened jars. I’d recommend finishing it within a month of opening.ReplyCancel

  • By the way, thanks for coming back to answer my question! I love reading your blog and soaking up the beautiful photographs.ReplyCancel

  • Eva

    Made this for the first time today. Thanks for the recipe 🙂 I thought it didn’t turn out very chocolatey so I nearly doubled the amount of cocoa nibs.

    It did eventually start to liquify. That was after I added the oil but it doesn’t seem to matter – it turned out wonderful 🙂

    I love the idea that one can take something delicious but unhealthy and make an even better AND fairly healthy version of it. Not to mention the giftability!

    Btw: I got (organic) cocoa nibs from (For anybody in Europe who has a hard time getting hold of some.) I bought organic hazelnuts from them, too, because with almonds I seem to be able to taste the difference. This doesn’t seem to be the case with hazelnuts, though.ReplyCancel

  • Love love Nutella! Did you ever just dig out a spoon and eat it from the jar? I’ve got to try making it from scratch. Everyone tells me it’s so much tastier. Your photos are gorgeous and your new blog is gorgeous! Congrats on being featured on!ReplyCancel

  • C

    If I want to make this with espresso powder instead of cacao nibs, do I still use 2 oz? Can you give an approximation of how much powder that is in tbsp/cups? Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Danielle

      @C: The amount of espresso to use would depend on the roast of the beans you use, which determines the strength of the taste. If your espresso is mildly flavored, I’d suggest starting with perhaps two teaspoons of powder and increasing it as you go to suit your taste.ReplyCancel

  • Annamaria

    I’m drooling over this recipe for months now and I finally decided to try it out. BUT, I’m having some problems with the ingredients. Cocoa nibs and hazelnut oil are something I can’t find anywhere so I was wondering what do you think how would it turn out if I made it with peanut oil (that’s the closest I found!) and regular cocoa powder?
    It doesn’t look very thick on the pictures (though I might be wrong), do you think I could make it a bit thicker with more hazelnuts or it isn’t a good idea?

    • Danielle

      @Annamaria, you could definitely substitute peanut oil (or a neutral tasting veg oil) and cocoa powder for the cocoa nibs. The flavor will be less dark and intense without the nibs, but still good, nonetheless 🙂 The spread in these pictures are at room temperature, so if you’d like a thicker consistency, just add less oil. I would however, allow the jars to come to room temperature before using the spread as they thicken as they cool.

      For your reference, you could order both the hazelnut oil and the cocoa nibs online – La Tourangelle (for the oil) and Scharffen berger (for the nibs). Have fun!!ReplyCancel

  • Melissa

    Ok, Nutella has been a fam fav since I was a kid. I really want to try this. But I am no cook, so where do I find the hazelnut oil, cocoa nibs and the espresso powder? Dying to try this!!ReplyCancel

    • Danielle

      @Melissa, I use the oil from La Tourangelle which is widely distributed across Whole Foods and any good specialty grocery store. You could also order them online. The cocoa nibs are from Scharffenberger, which can also be found at Whole Foods, and the espresso powder is just whatever happens to be in our espresso jar at the moment. If you’re unsure of which blend of espresso to get, you could get them from your local cafe and buy a bag of whatever they use. Hope it helps!ReplyCancel

  • Alli

    I’m trying to find some gifts that I can ship x-country without having to stay in the refrigerator. Do you think this would be OK not chilled the entire time?ReplyCancel

    • Danielle

      Hi Allie, yes this Nutella would ship well, especially if you send them off the same day or the day after making them. I’ve shipped them to Chicago and Madison with no problems.ReplyCancel

  • […] MarmaladeChristmas Cookie JarsClassic GranolaSavory Granola – The KitchnSalted Caramel SauceHomemade Nutella – Danielle @ Beyond the PlateCardamom Pear Butter – Tracy @ ShutterbeanLemon CurdPesto […]ReplyCancel

  • melissa

    thank you so much for this, I just found this on pinterest after a furious search after finding out that nutella contains rennet and it also by way of collecting palm oil are killing orangutans in the palm oil fields. I am so glad that I have an alternative since I am kind of addicted to the stuff. can’t wait to try it.ReplyCancel

  • […] Megan stuffs her homemade Nutella between sheets of buttery pastry dough to create pop tarts.  Danielle, surprises her friends with sweet little pots of Nutella during the holidays.  Ever since, we […]ReplyCancel

  • […] the Plate brings us a delicious homemade spread recipe. While the spread itself is at its essence a simple hazelnut butter, sugar and cocoa mixture, this […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Homemade Nutella – who doesn’t love chocolate + hazelnut? One of the highlights of our visit to Paris was Nutella crepes and this David Lebovitz inspired version looks divine. […]ReplyCancel

  • Wow nutella… i love nutella and this looks amazing. Can’t wait to try this soon.ReplyCancel

  • Peg Gawne-Mark

    For Megan Hardy.ReplyCancel

  • I love everything about nutella, thanks! Greetings from Jalisco, MéxicoReplyCancel

  • Allison

    Hi…just wondering on alternatives for the hazelnut oil. Could butter be used, or a light olive oil? Thank youReplyCancel

    • Danielle

      Hi Allison – sorry for the delay. I would recommend going with a light vegetable oil instead of olive oil, which tends to have a distinctive taste. You want something that won’t clash with the flavors of chocolate and hazelnut. Hope this helps!ReplyCancel

  • Jane Marie Cochran

    gonna make this …. looks yummy …. adult nutella 🙂 x

  • […] Goodness has it really been more than a month since my last post? Sorry about that, time really does fly when your schedule is packed with assignments, playdates and the joys (read: soul-sucking) tasks that come with running a business. Book-keeping anyone? I’m happy to pay you in cookies, donuts, or if you prefer, some Nutella? […]ReplyCancel

  • […] receta de Nutella casera a nuestro futuro bloc para cocinillas ( pista aquí). Lo descubrí en esta web no hace mucho y creo que es una de las mejores formas de hacer esta crema de […]ReplyCancel

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