Vegan Nutella

I still haven't had time for crafting, but the dairy free and gluten free diet has enabled me to find some killer awesome recipes.  Even more so now that I have put my oldest son on the same diet.  The changes in him have been astonishing!  Needless to say, it's been a bit of a challenge for him since the start of his diet.  So as a reward, I made him a vegan version (dairy free) of his favorite treat... nutella.  If you or your children love nutella, you need to try this recipe.  Even if you do not need to eat dairy free, you should switch to this instead to avoid all of those unnecessary, bad for you ingredients.  Just read the label and you'll see what I mean!

First off, whether you use this recipe or another, make sure it calls for real chocolate, not just cocoa powder.  I assure you, it makes all the difference in the world!

 2 cups whole raw hazelnuts
12 ounces vegan chocolate, chopped
4 tbsp vegetable or nut oil
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsp of confectioners sugar
3/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread the hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Roast until the skins of the hazelnuts are dark, 12-15 minutes.

While the nuts cool, melt your chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave until smooth.  Cool. 

Grab a handful of nuts and rub in your hands (over a bowl) as though making a ball of dough.  This will remove the skins, which are bitter.  Don't worry if you are unable to remove all of the skins, just get most of them.  Process nuts in a food processor (not a blender... it won't work) until a paste is formed.  This takes awhile.  Be patient! 

Add the oil, vanilla, sugar, salt.  Blend until you have a smooth consistancy (it probably won't be perfectly smooth... that's ok!!!)

Add the melted chocolate and blend until mixed.

You can strain the mixture to remove the bits of hazelnut if you prefer, but I don't think it's necessary. 

Let it cool in the fridge and you will have a great texture as it thickens when it cools.  ENJOY!!!

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