adventures in modern, urban domesticity

Buckwheat Crepes and No-tella, It’s What’s For Breakfast.



If you like hazelnuts, chances are you love Nutella.  And honestly, who doesn’t?  The genius of mixing chocolate and hazelnuts into a delicious paste was necessitated by  chocolate shortages in Italy during the Napoleonic wars, when a blockade was imposed making cocoa hard to come by. This practice of  stretching chocolate by incorporating hazelnuts was first marketed as Gianduja by the Piedmontese chocolatier, Michel Prochet in 1865.   Jumping forward almost a century, Italian baker Pietro Ferrero brought his own chocolate-hazelnut paste to the market in 1946, in the wake of another war-time chocolate shortage.  A few years later, he hit the jackpot with a creamy version that was called Supercrema (like some kind of delicious superhero). By 1963, it was re-branded as Nutella and the rest is history.  Twenty years ago, all I needed was a baguette, a Eurail pass,  a jar of Nutella, and I could survive for weeks. Now that would just make me cranky.  People do crazy things for Nutella.  Earlier this year, German thieves stole $20,000 worth of it off the back of a truck.  And students at Columbia University are said to go through almost 100 pounds a day, reportedly stealing it from the cafeterias and  hoarding it in their rooms, costing the school upwards of $5000/week.  Maybe Nutella is actually the secret to academic genius?  Or at least high tuitions.

My children love it too, and would eat it every day if they could. But let’s face it, with it’s two main ingredients being sugar and palm oil, it’s not really good for you. In fact, Nutella’s parent company was sued in April 2012 for false advertising, because apparently it isn’t really the healthy part of a healthy breakfast.  You might as well be eating chocolate frosting every morning, which doesn’t sound all bad, come to think of it – but no one really likes hanging around the under-10 set when they are all amped up on sugar. So, would it be possible to make a version that was actually healthy? Or at least better than frosting?  Making a hazelnut butter with some cocoa in it seemed easy enough, the challenge would be to come up with alternatives to the sugar and palm oil to make it sweet and creamy.

There have been a number of things I have tried to make from scratch that were just not worth the effort (remember the DIY gin?), but chocolate-hazelnut spread –  which I like to refer to as No-tella (for clarity) – is not one of them. As long as you have a food processor, all you need are a few basic ingredients and about a 1/2 an hour. I was first inspired to do this when I read this post on the blog, Chocolate Covered Katie, which is devoted to making healthy desserts.  Over the past year or so, I have pared the recipe down to just four added ingredients.


  1. 1 1/2 Tablespoons of vanilla
  2. 1/4 cup high-quality, unsweetened cocoa.
  3. 1/4 cup maple syrup
  4. 1/2 cup of almond milk or coconut milk
  5. And, of course, 2 cups of raw hazelnuts.


Here’s how you do it:

  • Take 2 cups of hazelnuts and roast them in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes.  When they are cool, rub them together to get their skins off.  This is weirdly satisfying.  Trust me. Don’t worry if you don’t remove all of the husks.


  • Put the hazelnuts into a food processor and grind them for a minute or two until they look like this:

hazelnuts processed

  •  Add the vanilla, maple syrup and cocoa and mix until it looks like this:


  • Last, while the ingredients continue to mix it up in the Cuisinart, add the almond milk to make it creamy.


  • And voilà, you get this!:


Now, you might be thinking, “does this maple syrup/almond milk concoction really taste like Nutella?”  I’ll be honest with you, it doesn’t taste exactly the same.  It’s much, much better.  Seriously.  Sure, it might not be as cloyingly sweet, but the maple syrup adds just the right counterpoint to the cocoa, making it more like Nutella’s vegan cousin, just in from Brooklyn and raving about the latest locally -sourced chocolate.  If you want something a little sweeter or creamier, you can play around with adding various sweeteners (agave, stevia, or even sugar) and a couple tablespoons of oil until it’s perfect for your taste.

Now you’ve got yourself something worth putting on a crepe. If you want to go extra healthy, I recommend this simple Buckwheat crepe recipe that I found in Bon Appetite.  The recipe makes over a dozen crepes and they are easy to freeze by layering them with waxed paper and placing them in a freezerbag. On a weekday morning, it takes almost no time to pull out the frozen crepe, heat it up in a skillet, add some no-tella and call it breakfast. Once you roll it up, it’s the perfect thing for your kids to eat while they run down the street after the bus.



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8 Comments on “Buckwheat Crepes and No-tella, It’s What’s For Breakfast.

  1. Billie @ Seasoned Escapades
    September 23, 2013

    Nutella was one of my favorite things growing up! So sweet and delicious, but definitely overly sweet to me now. I’m going to have to make this, I think I’ll add some coconut oil to it. Thanks!

  2. Helen Topcik
    September 23, 2013

    This is the reason Eileen Fisher came into existence. Stretch waist bands and roomy tops hide a multitude of Nutella/No Tella indulgences. I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

    • domaphile
      September 25, 2013

      All hail the elastic waistband:)

  3. Alexa
    September 23, 2013

    Nutella’s vegan cousin from Brooklyn..laughed so hard!

  4. thefolia
    September 30, 2013

    How yummy! I think I will even try with other nuts, like cashews and cacao, or peanuts and coconut oil! Happy Nesting.

    • domaphile
      October 1, 2013

      Would love to hear how it turns out with cashews! You might be onto a whole other phenomenon- chocolate-cashew Supercrema!

  5. Amie
    November 24, 2013

    This looks amazing…I’m thinking about making a large batch and gifting. I assume it needs to be refrigerated? Thoughts about how long it keeps?

    • domaphile
      November 25, 2013

      Hi Amie-
      The Notella does need to be refrigerated – normally we go through it in 2-3 weeks and it is fine, but I don’t know about keeping it for longer than a month. But if you gifted it in small amounts, I’m sure it would be eaten in a flash:) Let me know how it goes!

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This entry was posted on September 23, 2013 by in KIDS + FAMILY, KITCHEN ALCHEMY and tagged .


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