Thursday, 30 May 2019

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Healthy Homemade Nutella - Naturally Sweetened with Dates


Did you know that store-bought Nutella contains only 13% hazelnuts, with the main ingredients being sugar, fats, artificial flavoring and food preservatives. Thus, it is really just consuming empty calories, and yet storing unwanted or even harmful chemicals in the body instead.

You can read more here:

https://foodwatch.com.au/blog/additives-and-labels/item/nutella-the-full-correct-list-of-ingredients.html

It's really gifting your children with bad eating habits for life, for kids to growing up on Nutella. Such habits can really stay with them throughout life. When they are young, their body can take it without showing much effect. When your children reach middle age and old age, such eating habits will tax the body tremendously, but they will find helpless to shake off. So if you can, make your own Nutella and start when your children are real young, when you can still shape their taste buds for healthier and natural unprocessed food.

Below is a simple homemade Nutella spread recipe:

Makes 2 small jars

Ingredients:
1. 3 cups (400 g) skinned hazelnuts or 1 store-bought hazelnut butter
2. 4 TBS cacao powder
3. 5 dried dates pitted

Directions:
1. Get ready your hazelnut butter. You can use store bought ones or make your own following the instructions here.
2. Once the hazelnut butter done (creamy and smooth), add the cacao powder and vanilla powder, put it back on the blender for 30 seconds to mix well.
3.  Add dried dates and blend for another 30 seconds to mix well. Taste and adjust desired sweetness for more dates accordingly if needed.
4. Ready to serve :-) We like to serve it with pancake, chopped almonds and some sliced strawberries :-)

Nutritional Value:
The homemade Nutella is actually very nutritious. A serving of one teaspoon of the homemade Nutella contains approx. 63 kcal or 3% Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) based on an adult's 2000 kcal needs per day. It covers 31% RDI of manganese, 9% RDI of copper, 8% RDI of vitamin E, 4% RDI vitamin B1, 3% RDI vitamin B6, 3% RDI vitamin folic acid, 3% RDI of phosphorus, 2% RDI of potassium and 2% RDI of zinc.

Dates is a natural sweetener that is nutritious at the same time. It is high in dietary fiber and potassium.

Storage:
I read that you can store your hazelnut butter in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks, or in the refrigerator for 2 months or more. However, I never tried to just leave it at room temperature. I store mine in the fridge and it keeps well for 2 months.

Additional Information:
Many recipes use many different ingredients. I find that it is not necessary. The less ingredients used, the more natural it is. This is a healthy yet tasty Nutella spread using just three ingredients - hazelnuts, cacao powder and dates. There is no added sugar, as dried dates are used to sweeten it. There is also no added oil. It is as pure as it can get.

If you wish, you can add 1-2 teaspoon of vanilla powder. I tried adding vanilla powder, but since the cacao powder is usually the stronger and more overpowering ingredient, I don't think adding vanilla gives any effect. I didn't taste the presence of vanilla in the spread. So next time I can save the vanilla powder for other uses, since real vanilla powder is not cheap.

Some recipes adds 1 cup of dates or 12 dates, but for me 3-5 dates are enough to sweeten the Nutella. For me, 3 dates are actually enough, but for Daddy FECS, he likes it sweeter with 5 dates. Bare in mind that the more dates you add, the thicker your Nutella paste will be. If you feel that your Nutella is too thick, you can adjust by adding a neutral oil.

However, bear in mind that hazelnuts already contains a lot of fat. A 100 g of hazelnuts covers 93% RDI. So if you can live with the thicker consistency, try not to add more oil.

Don't add water to thin it. My experience is that contact with water makes the Nutella lumpy. Thus, before you start, make sure that your blender is totally dry.

References:
https://nordicfoodliving.com/healthy-nutella-nuts-dates-sugar-free/
https://blog.fablunch.com/3-ingredient-homemade-nutella/
https://minimalistbaker.com/4-ingredient-nutella-vegan-gf/

This is the hazelnut butter I have pre-made using the instructions here 
3 cups of hazelnuts yield this amount in my Magimix Le Blender.

Add 3 tablespoons of cacao powder and 1 teaspoon of vanilla powder

Blend until mixed well

Add dried dates

I started at speed one and gradually increase it to speed 3.




Within a minute or so, all the dates were nicely blended in :-) I gave it a second run just to make sure that there is no lump left behind.


See how creamy it looks without any added oil.



 One of the ways we like to eat our strawberries is to dip them into our homemade Nutella. Then we just it as it is...

 Or we coat it with sunflower seeds...

 chopped almonds or...

 wheat germ...

They taste very good and is very nutritious :-)



Chocolate Banana Energy Balls dipped in wheat germ

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