Years before vegan chocolate nut butters were widely available in stores (and before I became allergic to hazelnuts!), I came up with this recipe to sate my cravings for Nutella. While delicious, it called for soy powder, which readers always seem to have a hard time tracking down. At some point I stumbled across a much, much easier way to make chocolate almond butter, so I feel obliged to share my good fortune with all of you!
The concept is simple: when you grind nuts into nut butter over the course of several minutes, your food processor generates a lot of heat. Chocolate doesn’t need a lot of heat to melt, so if you throw small pieces of chocolate into your food processor on top of warm nut butter, it’ll melt right in, and voila! Chocolate nut butter! There’s no need to break out the double-boiler or anything. I promise: this is a one-bowl affair. Using chocolate chips or a chocolate bar also conveniently allows you to skip the step of adding vanilla and sweetener, which can make homemade nut butter too thick or give it a weird consistency.
Obviously this recipe makes for a spread with less frosting-like sweetness than actual Nutella, which is comprised mostly of oil and sugar. But if you dig all those more natural chocolate nut spreads on the market, definitely give this recipe a shot!
Lastly, bear in mind that this basic recipe will work with any kind of nut — almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans — or even sunflower seeds! I just recommend that your nuts (or seeds) are roasted because roasted nuts are much easier to grind silky smooth and don’t require the use of added oil. Bear in mind that for hazelnuts and any other bitter nuts, you’ll still want to use skinned ones if you can.
- 1½ c unsalted roasted almonds
- ½ c high-quality vegan dark chocolate chips, or finely chopped dark chocolate
- ⅛ tsp salt
- Place almonds in a food processor and process on high until nuts break down into a smooth butter, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Depending on the strength of your processor, this may take 10-15 minutes. It'll start as almond meal, then start to ball up, and shortly after will turn buttery and smooth. Just stick with it!
- Once almond butter is pretty smooth (it doesn't have to be perfect!), and while processor is still running, add chocolate chips and salt.
- Continue processing until completely smooth.
- Transfer to a clean, airtight container and store in a cool, dry place. As with most nut butters, this doesn't need to be refrigerated, and should be just fine for several weeks, if it somehow takes you that long to eat it! If you choose to refrigerate it, bear in mind that it will thicken in the fridge.
Also, be aware that if your food processor is particularly large, or the blades are seated particularly high, you may need to start with 2 or more cups of nuts.