February 13, 2015

Sweets for My Sweets: Nut- Free "Nutella"

Happy Valentine's Day!! ...I have to admit that it is far from my favorite holiday, but there's nothing wrong with a holiday that's celebrated with chocolate and champagne, right?? What is more Valentine's Day-ish than chocolate covered strawberries?? Or, maybe some Nutella and strawberries?!? I would LOVE some Nutella!

I have the perfect strawberries, but our house is nut-free. What to do?? 

I found a recipe online a while ago for Nut-Free Nutella and set it aside, knowing that one day my Nutella craving would get the best of me, and I'd have to try it out. (When we found out that our oldest boy had a nut allergy, my husband and I both mourned the loss of Nutella... it has been about 2 years since the creamy, chocolatey spread has crossed my lips... but who's counting?)

Today I decided to make a batch as a sweet valentine surprise for my sweethearts. I am a happy lady! Not only is it delicious, it's much healthier. The nut-free version is also surprisingly a little nuttier! The toasted sunflower seeds have a great nutty quality about them which makes it really special. Happily, it is not overly sweet, but definitely satisfies my sweet tooth and chocolate craving!

This will definitely be regularly stocked in my refrigerator. 

Nut Free Nutella
Makes about 2 cups/ 16 servings of 2 tbsp 
Recipe from Momables

2 cups raw sunflower seeds
1 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup, plus 3 tbsp light agave*
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp coconut oil*
1/2 cup milk

Toast sunflower seeds in large non-stick pan over medium-high heat; stir frequently to prevent burning. (Seeds will be done when they are fragrant and begin to turn golden brown). 

Transfer to bowl and allow to cool to room temperature before using. 

When cool, transfer seeds to food processor and process, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl, until thick and very fine; takes about 2-3 minutes. 

Add in remaining ingredients and blend until creamy. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 30 days. Enjoy with fruit, graham crackers, or on its own!

*Per the original recipe, may sub agave for either maple syrup or honey. I chose agave because it is the most flavor-neutral. I mis-read the original recipe which called for 2-3 tsp. for oil, and used 2 tbsp instead... oops! It is still delicious, and is smooth.. the nutritional information below reflects the recipe as I made it, using 2 tbsp of coconut oil. 

OK, now for the fine print... The nutritional information! Time to see how it compares to Nutella. 

Nutella (per 2 tbsp serving): 200 calories; 12g fat; 4g sat fat; 15mg sodium; 21g carbs; 1g fiber; 21g sugar; 2g protein

 "Nut-free Nutella" (per 2 tbsp serving): 130 calories; 8g fat; 3g sat fat; 33mg sodium; 12g carbs; 2g fiber; 8g sugar; 4g protein*

Pretty awesome!  The nut-free version results in 70 fewer calories, 4g less fat, 9g fewer carbs, 2g more protein, and 13g less sugar! The best part?? It is delicious. 

*Nutritional information for nut-free version obtained by entering recipe/individual ingredients into myfitnesspal.com.

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