Vegan Nutella

Vegan Nutella

Breakfast Staple

A world without Nutella is a very sad one. At least for me anyway. As I moved to plant-based eating, I decided I needed to find a recipe for vegan Nutella. It is a creamy smooth chocolate hazelnut spread you can put on bread or pancakes or dip fruit into it usually has milk and processed sugar. A main part of plant-based eating is removing processed foods including sugar and grains.

Vegan Hazelnut Spread

After some searching, I found a recipe for vegan hazelnut spread. While it is only five ingredients, there is some work to take place. You’ll need raw unsalted hazelnuts, vanilla extract, sea salt, dairy-free dark chocolate or a cacao powder, and pure maple syrup. And a good blender or food processor to blend it all together.

There are some keys to making this yummy spread. One is to roast the hazelnuts. Even if you purchase roasted hazelnuts, re-roasting will warm the natural oils and loosen the skins. And a sturdy towel to remove as much of the skins as possible. That will make a creamy spread. Chocolate is another important element. Chose quality chocolate or cacao powder to make your spread. There will be a sticker shock when you purchase quality cacao powder. I use Trader Joe’s 72% Dark Chocolate bar.

In making this vegan Nutella, you can customize it to your taste. It is all natural without stabilizers so stirring is a must. It is perfect to put on homemade bread.

Vegan Nutella

Ingredients

  • - 3 cups raw unsalted hazelnuts
  • - 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or paste
  • - 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • - 2/3 cup dairy-free dark chocolate
  • - 1 or 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Preparation

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350F or 176C.
  • 2. Place hazelnuts on a baking sheet in a single layer. For raw, roast for 12-15 minutes. If already roasted then roast for 8-10 minutes.
  • 3. Remove tray from oven and cool slightly.
  • 4. Transfer hazelnuts to towel and roll the nuts around getting as much skins off as possible.
  • 5. Put the skinless hazelnuts in the food processor blending until a butter forms after 8-10 minutes.
  • 6. While the butter is blending, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second increments.
  • 7. When the butter is creamy and smooth then add the vanilla and salt blending well.
  • 8. Based on taste, you can adjust the seasoning and add 1 or 2 tablespoon maple syrup.
  • 9. Transfer to a clean jar and store at room temperature. It will keep for 2-3 weeks.
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Banana Muffins

Banana Muffins

There is something wonderful about banana muffins. To me they are an anytime food not just for breakfast. Pass on store bought ones. Homemade are the best. Basic ingredients that most of us have in our pantry: flour, butter, bananas, eggs, yogurt. I’ve been using Cooking Light’s Classic Banana Bread recipe from 2003 since 2003. Love it.

This time around I used bread flour and Greek pineapple yogurt. Instead of using a loaf pan, I made muffins. It was so good. Thumbs up.

Waffle House

Waffle House

Waffle House. A restaurant chain at the end of every off-ramp of America’s highway system. I’ve pasted them millions of times and never thought to stop in and eat. Either searching for a local diner and heading towards a McDonalds.

There are times you just want a simple Sunday breakfast: waffles, eggs, hashbrowns, bacon. And in Tarboro on a Sunday, that is not an option. Even on a weekday where I live the breakfast places aren’t numerous and the quality not great.

We wanted a Sunday-type breakfast and didn’t want to make the drive to Rocky Mount to the Highway Diner, which by the way is one of the best diners out there and is always worth the drive. We ate at our local Waffle House.

And it was good. For real. Honestly, I was really surprised by this. And the prices were reasonable. The wait staff were friendly and nice. The place was bright and clean. Fun music coming out of the juke box.

Loved getting a booth right by the grill to see all of the action. And it was hopping.

I went over the deep end and got the hashbrowns “all the way.” That meant the hashbrowns were covered in sautéed onions/mushrooms, tomatoes, ham, cheese, jalapeños, and chili. While it may look like a plate of sick, it didn’t taste that way. It was really, really, really good. (And there was no unpleasant aftereffects may I add.) I felt very manly eating it like I was a long haul trucker.

And of course, I had to have a waffle since it is called the Waffle House after all. I enjoyed that, too.

I ate so much at breakfast that I didn’t eat the rest of the day I was so full.

Lesson learned… order a smaller order of hashbrowns or just get a waffle.

Croissants

Croissants

Currently my house smells like croissants and strong black coffee. I thinks that’s a pretty darn good way to start off a Sunday. Sunday morning breakfast traditionally for is us is one of having treats… yummy treats. And croissants definitely fit the bill. 

While I’m a better good baker, I haven’t been successful in making croissants or any bread for that matter. We’ve gotten into the habit of getting “fresh” croissant from Wal-Mart or Harris Tweeter. There are OK, but let’s face it nothing really beats fresh out of the oven. 
I got really excited when I was at Trader Joe’s recently (which by the way is one of my favorite grocery stores) and I can across these. I couldn’t pass them up. So I picked up a package of  Mini Croissants and Chocolate Croissants. You can rarely go wrong with any Trader Joe’s product. 

The directions seem simple enough. 

The one drawback is you have to think ahead. The croissants need to proof overnight so if you can remember to take them then you’ll have fresh croissant in the morning. You just take them out of the package placing on a buttered baking sheet uncovered overnight. 
This is what they look like in the morning before baking. They’ve grown quiet a bit. I actually was surprised. It worked. 

For a bakery finish, use an egg wash right before baking.

After 20 minutes of baking at 350F, this is the result… beautiful flavorful, buttery, flaky croissants!
I will definitely stocking my freezer with these gems! Now only if Trader Joe’s wasn’t over an hour drive away one-way…
 

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