One of the benefits of eating a plant-based diet is that it quite organically filters out the junk food – it’s definitely a lot harder to eat rubbish. I didn’t go into this as a way of cleaning up my diet (I’ve always been fairly happy with the healthy balance) but inevitably I have eliminated the snacks and treats simply because they aren’t as readily available. As someone who’s always prepared fresh food rather than settling for convenience, it takes a lot more preparation and thought to create vegan alternatives.
This doesn’t mean I’ve stopped craving a (slightly unhealthy) tasty pick me up or a quick fix snack, so I’m trying to be creative and prepare some treats that the whole family can enjoy. My flapjack has being going down a storm with everyone, vegan or not, so today I’m attempting one of Mathilde’s favourite snack / breakfast treats: Nutella-style chocolate spread.
There are numerous recipes for a vegan hazelnut spread available online but they all look something like this.
- 200g hazelnuts
- 50g dark chocolate
- 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 60ml almond milk
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Roast the whole hazelnuts at 180C for 15 minutes. If the nuts still have the skins on they need removing – the best way to do this is to place them on a plastic box with the lid on and giving them a fierce shake around until they loosen and fall off.
Take the peeled hazelnuts from the box and place in a food processor. Blend for a minute or two to grind the nuts, then add the coconut oil and vanilla extract and continue to purée.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water then transfer to the food processor along with the maple syrup. Slowly add the milk until a smooth paste forms (you may need a splash more milk as the maple syrup tends to thicken the paste and makes it slightly claggy).
Serve with your favourite accompaniments – just preferably not all in one sitting.
I’m in no way trying to advocate this recipe as healthy eating, but a little of what you fancy doesn’t hurt and I always prefer homemade when I can. This is a slightly more wholesome spread than its processed counterpart that the whole family can enjoy.