Ask The Pharmacist: Going nuts over Nutella
I was perusing horrible news stories like the one about the Olympic doctor sex abuse case, and another about 11 school shootings this year. I read another on Xanax, and how it’s become rampant among college users, especially British teens. Shame on our world. Then, when it couldn’t get anymore senseless, I saw how rioting broke out over Nutella in France.
What’s in Nutella that would make people go ape crazy over it? People at supermarkets across France literally risked a broken nose to snag a jar of Nutella for $1.75 versus $5.85? The sale apparently triggered the chaos.
Why the craziness? Was it over a few bucks? Does it speak to our lack of self-control? A food addiction?
Let’s zoom in to see what’s in Nutella.
Hazelnuts: Nutella is supposed to have 90 to 95 hazelnuts in an average size jar. There are no peanuts in this. The hazelnuts are roasted and ground to create the smooth, delicious paste. Did you know that centuries ago, in France, the hazel plant was given as a wedding gift to symbolize fertility.
Sugar: Nutella brand includes pure cane sugar and/or beet sugar, and it’s non GMO.
Oil: Specifically red palm fruit oil which comes from the African tree, Elaeis Guineensis.
Cocoa powder: This is basically chocolate powder; think of it like you do hot cocoa. It’s processed, fermented and roasted.
Milk: Skim milk powder, think of this like you do whey.
Lecithin: A smoothing agent (emulsifier) and it’s derived from either soy beans or sunflower seeds.
Vanillin: It’s a type of synthetic vanilla for aroma and flavor.
I’d like to propose a natural, delicious spread that tastes similar, but you can make it without risking your life (wink).
Easy Nutella spread
- 3 cups organic hazelnuts, roasted unsalted
- 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1 tea vanilla extract
- 1/2 tea sea salt
- (Optional) Sweetener to taste
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. If you bought the “roasted” hazelnuts, spread them on a cookie sheet. Cook them for about 5 to 10 minutes to warm them up and loosen their skins. Put them in a kitchen towel and roll them around to remove as much skin as possible. Put the cleaned/warm hazelnuts in a Vitamix and blend on low until a butter is formed. Melt the dark chocolate in a saucepan or microwave. Add the salt and vanilla. Continue to blend on low. Let it cool to room temperature, so it will thicken.
You will probably want to add maple syrup, or honey. If you’re using one of these liquid sweeteners (this is a bit counter intuitive) but the more liquid sweetener you add, the stiffer it makes the Nutella.
You could try confectioner’s sugar (but add that before you process it). If your spread is too thick for your liking, add a teaspoon or two of some oil like grape seed, olive or almond oil. There you have it, Nutella in the safety of your own kitchen.
Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit SuzyCohen.com.