As weather begins to cool, there's plenty of time for sipping fragrant, warm cocoa like we did as children, or even enjoying a piece of Halloween candy. But another treat making a cocoa-covered comeback is the chocolately hazelnut spread known as Nutella.
While the brand was recently called out for making questionable claims that it's a worthy contribution to a "healthy" breakfast, chocolate can actually provide you with healthy benefits at any meal. In Nutella's case, the added conventional dairy, sugar, and other questionable ingredients make it a stretch to call it healthy at any time. But replace those ingredients with super good for you superfoods, and, well, it's a game changer.
First things first: Chocolate. In its unadulterated form, the cacao bean is loaded with many healthful properties. It contains vitamins and important minerals like magnesium, and is a rich source of polyphenol antioxidants that can fight off diseases and the signs of aging. Chocolate also contains chemicals, including phenethylamine and theobromine, that are connected with an improved mood. These chemicals can stimulate healthy brain activity, which is especially useful first thing in the morning as you start your day.
Using natural and organic, unrefined ingredients in the rest of this chocolate spread recipe makes also makes it a healthier choice than Nutella. Using pure coconut oil delivers healthy fats that can support healthy brain function and keep you feeling full and satisfied for hours.
Unrefined natural sweeteners break down more slowly than processed white sugar or high fructose corn syrup, so you're not going to get that mid-morning sugar crash, either.
Plus, the recipe is super simple and can be easily scaled up—or down—based on your chocolatey-yummy-nutty spread needs. Enjoy
Vegan Hazelnut Chocolate Spread
Makes 2 cups
1½ cups toasted hazelnuts
⅓ cup raw cacao powder or cacao nibs finely ground
¼ cup coconut palm sugar or turbinado cane sugar
¾ cup agave nectar, brown rice syrup, or grade b maple syrup
¼ cup unrefined coconut oil (you may need to soften it as it hardens when cooled below 76°F. Do this by putting the jar in a tub of warm water).
2 Tablespoons nondairy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon hazelnut extract
1 pinch of sea salt
Using a food processor of powerful blender (like a Vitamix), blend the nuts until they start to get pasty and creamy. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
-Dollop onto pancakes, waffles or French toast.
-Spread into crepes.
-Stir into oatmeal or hot cereals.
-Spread on plain toast or bread.
-Mix into ice cream.
-Top onto sliced apples, pears, berries, or persimmons.
-Add a scoop to a superfood smoothie.
-Eat it straight out of the jar!Learn more about Jill Ettinger
Our mission is to nourish & transform the planet, one individual at a time, by providing the highest quality, clean, affordable, plant-based nutrition, education, and science-backed bio-technologies.
Claims on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA. Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We encourage you to do your own research.. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.
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