If you’re like me, you remember well the first time you tasted the sweet, sweet joy of Nutella hazelnut spread. For me, it was in my French class, supplied by batty old Mrs Craine as a treat for doing well (read: not driving her more insane) at the end of term. We would smooth it all over fresh baguettes and in doing so, we thought we were plus sophistiqué que la classe espagnole, dahling! Now I understand it’s more run of the mill over here in Europe, but when the Nutella came out in semi-rural Northern California, it was something special. I’ve loved the stuff ever since. Something I can’t stand about Nutella is the fact that the company making it refuses to stop using palm oil.
Why should we care about ditching palm oil?
Palm oil is simply the oil made from the fruits of trees called African oil palms. I hope you’ve heard of the issues around palm oil already, but here’s a super quick summary, courtesy of the BBC:
Palm oil production is said to have been responsible for about 8% of the world's deforestation between 1990 and 2008.
This is because forests are burned to clear areas where people can grow oil palms - even if it's illegal.
Burning forests like this destroys the places where plants and wildlife live, meaning the area has less biodiversity.
Species like orangutans, rhinos, elephants and tigers can be affected.
1 cup / 150 grams hazelnuts
10 oz milk chocolate / ~220 grams (I used about 180 and it was great!)
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil (I used rapeseed oil)
3 Tablespoons confectioner’s / icing sugar
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
Toast the hazelnuts in a single layer for 12 minutes at 350F / 175C
Wrap up in towel and rub until skin is removed and let cool
Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie (a saucepan over anpther pot of simmering water) and let cool
Mix the toasted hazelnuts with a little oil in a food processor
Add all other ingredients (apart from the chocolate) and blend again
Mix in chocolate and blend well
Voilà! Deforestation-free Nutella! Store in an airtight container in the fridge, and it keeps for 3-4 weeks.
I hope you’ll give it a whirl - it is incredibly good and I can’t believe how much fresher it tastes than store-bought. If you do try it out, please leave a comment to say how it went, and don’t forget to share this recipe - everybody deserves palm oil free and delicious Nutella in their life!