Saturday, December 1, 2012


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I promised to post my recipe or vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Spread (what most people know as "Nutella")  from my book "World Vegan Feastthis week, so I'm making good on my promise. In Europe, chocolate is considered a food and, indeed, it does contain valuable antioxidants. Combined with nuts, it makes a delicious, nutritious (if high-fat) traditional Italian spread to use on toast or bread as you would peanut butter. I would recommend it as a treat, not an everyday commodity. Since most commercial brands contain hydrogenated fats and dairy products (and even the organic vegan commercial varieties contain palm oil), I prefer to make my own.

little background: Gianduia (pronounced jahn-DOO-yah) was invented in Turin during Napoléon's regency (1796-1814). Turin-based chocolate manufacturer Caffarel invented the paste "Gianduiotto" in 1852, taking its name from Gianduja, a Carnival and marionette character who represents the archetypal Piedmontese, a native of the Italian region where hazelnut confectionery is common. Nutella, the popular commercial brand, was originally called “Pasta Gianduja”.

Since I had to make some to photograph, we are going to have to exercise restraint and not gobble it up too fast!  It is very delicious and actually easy to make (especially if you use commercial hazelnut butter-- or almond butter, which makes an easily-available substitute).  If, for some strange reason, you don’t use it all up, you can swirl it into muffin batter (see the second recipe below for Gianduia Muffns) or vegan ice cream, use it in sweet breads, or make chocolate panini with it (try it with apricot jam or sliced bananas and vegan marshmallow creme).

Printable Recipe

From my book "World Vegan Feast", © Bryanna Clark Grogan 2011
Makes approximately 3 cups

12 ounces vegan semisweet chocolate chips or vegan semisweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped 
4 ounces (1 cup) peeled, toasted hazelnuts (or filberts) (see the Tip below for how to peel and toast nuts)
1 tablespoon cooking oil
Tip: You can use 1/2 cup commercial hazelnut butter instead of the nuts and oil, if you prefer.

NOTE: If you don't mind being non-traditional, you can substitute almond butter for the hazelnut butter-- it's still delicious.
2 tablespoons organic powdered sugar
1 tablespoon soy, pea or rice protein powder
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup nondairy milk, heated just to the boiling point

Melt the chocolate chips or chopped baking chocolate in the top of a double boiler over hot, not simmering water. Stir until smooth. Microwave Option: Microwave on 50% power in a microwave-safe bowl or measuring pitcher for 2 to 4 minutes or until the chocolate is shiny. Stir it well and set aside.

To make your own hazelnut butter, grind the hazelnuts and oil to a paste in your food processor. If using commercial hazelnut butter, transfer it to your food processor. Add the sugar, protein powder and vanilla and continue processing. Add the melted chocolate and the hot milk and process for several minutes, until very smooth. The mixture will be thin and warm, but it will thicken up when refrigerated. Pour into 3 sterilized 1/2-pint canning jars, tighten the lids and refrigerate. They will keep, refrigerated, up to 1 month.

Tip: How to peel and toast hazelnuts or filberts at the same time
Preheat oven to 400 º F. Transfer the hazelnuts to a shallow baking pan in a single layer. Roast them until the skins are almost black, about 10 minutes. Wrap the hot hazelnuts in a clean (old) kitchen towel and rub them in the towel until most of the skins have come off. Discard the skins.


Now, here's my favorite way to use the last of my Gianduia:

Printable Recipe

Makes 12 © Bryanna Clark Grogan 2011
Actually, these are more like cupcakes-- you gotta love 'em!  I cut the down the fat as much as I could, but they are still rich-tasting and moist.

6 Tbs smooth, unsweetened applesauce
4 Tbs vegan butter, softened (try my palm-oil-free Buttah)
3/4 cup light organic sugar
1 Tbs instant coffee granules
3/4 cup plain nondairy milk whisked with
1 1/2 Tbs egg replacer powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Dry Mix:
1 cups sifted unbleached white flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup homemade Gianduia (Nutella-like Chocolate Hazelnut Spread)      

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin tins with unbleached parchment liners.

Cream together applesauce, vegan butter, sugar, and coffee powder with an electric beater.  Add almond or soymilk mixed with the egg replacer and beat until fully incorporated. Add vanilla.

Stir in the dry mix just until the batter is uniform and no flour remains. Fill each muffin liner with batter. They should be 3/4 full. Top each cake with 2 teaspoons Gianduia. Swirl the Gianduia in with a toothpick, making sure to fold a bit of batter up over the chocolate spread.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per muffin): 193.3 calories; 30% calories from fat; 6.7g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 130.9mg sodium; 83.6mg potassium; 31.8g carbohydrates; 1.8g fiber; 13.4g sugar; 2.9g protein; 4.1 points.



Sunday Driver said...

This looks tasty indeed. I used to mix hazelnut butter, cocoa and Rogers syrup in an attempt at this, but your recipe looks much better. I liked the back story too. Your Italian cooking is top notch. This year I grew San Marzano tomatoes (first time) and they produced well, so the cupboard is restocked with Nonna's pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, and wine-free tomato sauce. I really hope the world won't be ending this December, because there's still some good eating to be done. Ha! Life is good. Thanks.

urban vegan said...

Holy doodle!