Maybe you’ve heard about the recent controversy swirling around Nutella, the confectionary spread whose staple ingredient, palm oil, may be bad for forests, orangutans, and, now apparently, your body. Last May, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) claimed that palm oil, if refined at a certain temperature above 200° C, could give rise to some potentially carcinogenic contaminants. Now, Ferrero, who manufactures Nutella in Europe, is mounting an aggressive campaign to assure consumers that palm oil (and, by extension, Nutella) won’t kill you, because its production process keeps palm oil below that 200° threshold.
Are these just excuses for corporate malfeasance? Hard to say. Nearly 20% of Ferrero's sales come from Nutella, after all, so there's a lot of risk in that brand torpedoing. Maybe Ferrero is trying to save face. Who knows? A lot of us don’t have time for this. A lot of us do have time to make our own Nutella.
It isn’t hard. Boil some water. Add some baking soda and hazelnuts to it. Drain them. While that's going on, prep some cooler water in a separate bowl. Add the hazelnuts to that bowl. Peel them; discard the skins. Blend hazelnuts in a food processor or blender so the texture becomes pasty. Add some butter, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, extract. Melt some chocolate and heavy cream together in a double boiler until that mix is as glossy as ganache. Add it all to your food processor or blender, put it in a jar, and stick it in your fridge. Let it firm up.
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And there you go. There's your homemade Nutella. Put it on a slice of toast. Some pie. A cheesecake. Hell, make some frozen yogurt out of it. Stick in a freakin’ pastry.
Like the taste? Here: Make some palm oil-free “Nutella” pudding, like the one Arathi made. Feeling wild? Whip up some pistachio cardamom "Nutella" that doesn't have any palm oil. Palm oil may not even be terrible for you, but if science doesn't allay your concerns, make these Nutella imitations without palm oil instead. Go crazy.
Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.