Today is World Nutella Day and February is Heart Month, so I thought it was a good time to remind you that you can make your own chocolate spread, tastier than the original, in my dark chocolate-loving opinion.
Plus instead of being mostly sugar and palm oil, it’s mostly creamy cashews, with their heart-healthy fat, which can slightly reduce LDL and total cholesterol, at least compared to potato chips. (A more recent study that added cashews to volunteers’ diets and reduced everything else slightly found the effect on cholesterol to be neutral, so it really depends on what you would be eating if not the cashews.)
Anyhow… the point is, certainly heart-healthier than the original! And it takes less than 10 minutes. Here’s how I like to do it (recipe from my 30-Minute Heart Healthy Cookbook*):
DASH • MEDITERRANEAN • VEGETARIAN • NO-COOK • PORTABLE
Store-bought chocolate spread is mostly sugar and palm oil. Turns out you can make your own with heart-healthy cashews instead! Measure the oil first and then a teaspoon of honey into the same measuring spoon, so it doesn’t stick. Taste it, and if you prefer more sweetness, add another teaspoon of honey. This works as a dip for bananas, raspberries, or pears, or as a spread on light rye crackers or sprouted-grain toast. Add another tablespoon of water if it’s too thick for dipping fruit.
Makes 1/2 cup (2 tablespoons per serving)
Hands-on time: 10 min Total time: 10 min
1/4 cup unsalted cashew butter
3 tablespoons water
1-1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Stir together the cashew butter, water, cocoa powder, honey, olive oil, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes.
INGREDIENT TIP: You can make this with almond or peanut butter, but it will taste less like chocolate and more like almonds or peanuts. Cashew butter is smooth and has a neutral taste, which lets the chocolate sing. Look for it in the natural foods section of a well-stocked grocery store.
COOKING TIP: If any natural butter sits too long, it separates and the bottom gets quite thick. Add a little canola or sunflower oil, and give it a good stir. This spread is best very smooth, so if your cashew butter has hardened, blend it in a food processor or electric mixer.
SUBSTITUTION TIP: Substitute pure maple syrup for the honey to make a vegan spread.
PER SERVING: Calories: 108; Total Fat: 9g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 93mg; Carbohydrates: 8g; Fiber: 1g; Added Sugars: 3g; Protein: 2g; Potassium: 92mg; Vitamin K: 5mcg
(Store in the fridge.)
Happy World Nutella Day, Heart Month, or whatever you’re celebrating today!
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