This recipe could be named Fran Feels Like a Genius Vegan Nutella.
The holiday season was an odd one here.
I found myself needing powerful antibiotics for an out-of-the-blue infection that landed me in the hospital on the morning of Christmas Eve. (Yes, even healthy vegan eaters can get sick). The night before, I’d made a big holiday dinner for my family in from Los Angeles, Arizona, and Boston. This bad bit was unsettling, to say the least, but I grinned each time a doctor or nurse or lab tech looked at my chart and said, “Look at this, she doesn’t take any medicine; only Vitamins D and B12!” But, there was a problem to address, I knew that is the time to call on western medicine. I do want to shout out the wonderful care I received from all of the staff at Pennsylvania Hospital, which is the oldest hospital in the United States. Well, this first hospital is quite modern as a full vegan menu is available to patients!
Happily back at home a few days later, I found I’d lost my taste for coffee (!) and so golden milk and matcha lattes subbed for my morning cappuccino. I decided to forgo sugar and all desserts, other than baked or fresh fruits, while I got back to myself.
I kept my daily WFPB menus simple and geared to building health.
My instant pot and Jill Nussinow’s cookbook Vegan Under Pressure, with its helpful charts, were in heavy use. So was my air fryer, which quickly cooked the Japanese white potatoes I craved.
Beans, grains, lots of veggies and fruit, a rainbow of plant foods, and miso, were on my plates, and every day started with steel cut oats, berries, and flax. I had either a green drink or green smoothies too. I found myself craving an old macro day classic: aduki, squash, and kombu with millet. Kite Hill Yogurt topped with defrosted organic berries was a treat, and I took probiotics and my vitamins. I am grateful to have to tools that promote good health and good friends who made sure I had what I needed.
This morning, I organized my freezer after doing the refrigerator. This is a sign that I am back!!
I wondered what to make for my blog. Often I let ingredients call to me, and that’s just what I did today.
I pulled roasted hazelnuts and date paste from my freezer, cashew butter I’d made, maple syrup, and date syrup (silan) from my refrigerator. From the pantry, I took Dutch-process cocoa powder, flaked sea salt, and vanilla too.
I decided to do one step at a time, as I wasn’t clear where I was going: pudding, tart filling?? As it turned out, I used only 2 of the ingredients, the hazelnuts, and date paste to start, because the first taste of those two ingredients combined was a total winner.
Vegan Nutella Blondie
First in the processor went hazelnuts. I ground them and in just 2 minutes I had hazelnut butter. Delicious! Note that hazelnuts grind into butter infinitely faster than most other nuts. Don’t overdo or they will get very oily.
To the hazelnut butter, I added of the date paste which was still very cold.
I tasted it, expected a predominance of date flavor but to my surprise and delight, I got hazelnut. It reminded me of nutella, if nutella was blonde.
I spread some on a gluten-free rice cracker and bingo – a nutella blondie! Why not? Many of us like blondies. I did not add salt, vanilla or any other sweetener.
Next, I wanted to see about making chocolate nutella. I was cautious with the amount of cocoa powder, as I didn’t want to add much if any sweetener or fat. To 1/3 cup (approximately) of the blonde nutella, I added 1 tablespoon Dutch cocoa. Since the intention was not to have to add a fat like coconut butter or any additional sweetener, I choose the smoother Dutched cocoa over raw or natural, but you can certainly try that for a fully raw spread.
I tasted both the blondie and the chocolate on crackers and liked them both.
Next, I spread some of each on a piece of bread, added sliced bananas as a tip of the hat to my son’s childhood Nutella addiction – he liked it with bananas when he wasn’t eating it off a spoon.
I don’t know yet how long this lasts in the refrigerator, but can’t see why it wouldn’t be a full week, and the small test in the freezer defrosted quickly and was just fine.
I hope you had a less unusual New Year and am sending wishes to each and every one of you for a peaceful, joyous, prosperous and compassionate 2019.
I LOVE comments, so please send me some.
With appreciation and affection,
Vegan Nutella Blondie
- 1 cup of hazelnuts, toasted and cooled or use 1/2 cup hazelnut butter
- 1/2 cup date paste
- Grind the hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade until coarse, about 1 minute. Continue to process for another minute for a smooth nut butter. Do not over process, as hazelnuts go quickly too very oily. The one cup of hazlenuts yields 1/2 cup of nut butter.
- Add the date paste and pulse to combine. Process only until incorporated.
- Taste and add a bit of salt if you like. I did not.
- For chocolate Nutella add 1 tablespoon Dutch process cocoa per 1/3 cup of blonde spread.
- The spread is ready to use.
- On gluten free crackers
- On shards of leftover Gluten Free Brownie Thins (this recipe is from Essential Vegan Desserts)
- On toast: I used sprouted wheat bread
- Sliced Bananas (this is the way Michael liked his nutella when he wasn’t eating it off a spoon.
- Chopped hazelnuts
- Drizzle of chocolate sauce
- What would you use to garnish?