On occasion I like to reverse engineer commercially made products, mainly because doing something homemade is always better than a large factory. One such product is Nutella. If you look at the ingredients it’s largely corn starch and refined sugar. Neither of those are particularly pleasant in large doses, so I decided to do something different.
I looked at it as a kind of emulsion so I thought of it like a dessert mayonnaise. Instead of using the typical egg yolk, I used a flax seed and water combination. Flax seed has a unique property that if you simmer it with water for a short period, you encourage the soluble fibres to dissolve in the water, making a gelatinous-like product with a similar texture to eggs. It makes an excellent substitute for eggs in baking and as I found, an excellent substitute for eggs in a mayonnaise-like emulsion.
I enjoy the flavour of walnuts a little more than hazelnuts, so I decided to do a walnut version of Nutella. And as with anything to do with walnuts, a natural sweet pairing is maple syrup, but one could use an equivalent amount of honey.
Maple Walnut Nutella
1 cup water
2 Tbsp Gold Forest Grain flax seeds
In a small saucepan, add the water and flax seeds. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat, then lower the heat to medium low and simmer without stirring for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, strain the flax seeds, keeping the gelatinous liquid. Discard the used flax seeds. Refrigerate the liquid for 20 minutes.
For the Maple Walnut Nutella:
1 cup walnuts
1/3 cup maple syrup (or honey)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup Mighty Trio Organics canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract (or the scraped beans from a vanilla pod)
1/2 tsp maple extract (optional)
In a blender, add the prepared flax “egg,” walnuts, maple syrup and cocoa powder. Purée until smooth. With the blender running, slowly drizzle in the oil until you hear the emulsion thicken. There will be an audible sound of the mixture tightening up and getting thick like an extra thick mayonnaise. Transfer mixture to a small bowl and stir in the vanilla and maple extract (if using). Makes about 2 cups. Keep refrigerated.