Our family loves this yummy spread! The way we eat it most is spread over apple slices. I like how convenient it is when it’s snack time and I want to grab something ready to go out of the fridge. I’ve been wanting to share this recipe with you for years, and now have the ratios of everything where I’m really pleased with it. I intended to post this recipe in the fall during hazelnut harvesting time, but of course it makes a wonderful snack any time of year.
Hazelnuts are a bit spendy, so whenever I buy some and make this spread, it feels like a special treat for us. You can also make this nut butter with other kinds of nuts. I love hazelnuts because they grow in Oregon and we can get them from our local farmer’s market. My favorite farmer’s market booth to buy hazelnuts from is Honor Earth Farm. Linda is the only local farmer I know of who is growing them organically, she has spoken with me about how much work it takes to do so, and our family loves to support her in that endeavor.
I’ve had allergic reactions to a few different kinds of nuts, but haven’t experienced that with hazelnuts (especially soaked first), so enjoy them for that reason as well. And of course the fact that they are delicious! Also, if you are wanting to use almonds as an occasional treat rather than a regular indulgence, due to the water demands it takes to grow them in a parched state (1 gallon of water per almond), hazelnuts are a great alternative. I just read (in the article linked to above) that 99 percent of all hazelnuts grown in the US come from Oregon’s Willamette Valley, known for it’s abundant rainfall.
I was first inspired to make my own nut butter from Sally Fallon’s recipe for nut butter in her cookbook Nourishing Traditions, and this is an adapted version of that recipe. I was amazed that with a food processor and some coconut oil, you could create your own nut butter at home! For all you coconut oil lovers, this recipe is a great way to add yet more coconut oil to your diet. Kids love this stuff!
I add just a bit of raw honey to sweeten it up. Raw, unfiltered honey is best and here is a short little video and article about why it’s such a better choice than the majority of “honey” sold at grocery stores. My favorite source for honey, for you locals reading this, is from our beekeeping friends at Humble Bee Honey. In addition to being such a hardworking family and having superb honey, they also happen to be incredibly awesome people. (Erica is one of my dearest friends.)
Sprouted Hazelnut Coconut Oil Spread
4 cups hazelnuts
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tsp. honey
1/4 tsp. salt
-My very favorite coconut oil can be purchased at Tropical Traditions. (If you purchase from them for the first time using that link, you will receive a free book about Coconut Oil, and I will receive a gift certificate that helps our family purchase more coconut oil, thank you!)
-If you sprout your raw hazelnuts first, they will be easier to digest and it’s easy to do. Just take your hazelnuts and soak them in warm water with salt added. (Ratio about 1 tbsp. salt to 4 cups nuts.) I leave them overnight and then rinse them off the next morning. You can soak hazelnuts for 7-12 hours. (Here is an informational post about why to soak your nuts and seeds, and also gives a soaking time table for the different kinds.) Once you soak your hazelnuts in salt water, then dry them in your oven or dehydrator on a low temperature for 12-24 hours. Once they’re crispy and dry, you’re ready to make your nut butter.
-You want your coconut oil to be easy to blend, so keep it in a warm spot to soften it up before starting. Add your hazelnuts, coconut oil, honey, and salt in your food processor and blend it up until the big chunks have disappeared and it is creamy and smooth. Give it a taste test (and if you have a little kitchen helper by your side, they will especially love to assist in this part) to see if you like the blend as is or would prefer a bit more honey or a tad more salt. (I love it lightly sweetened and have found it too sweet for me when I’ve added more honey, so it’s all a matter of preference.)
Your decadent spread is ready to enjoy! I set some aside for a snack right away and the rest I put in glass jars and stick in the fridge. With the coconut oil, this spread will harden up in the refrigerator, so take it out awhile before you want to eat it to let it soften up for spreading and dipping. If you try it out, let me know what your family thinks of this recipe! Enjoy!
[Edited to add 2018: Here is a pdf file- Hazelnut Spread WoolyMossRoots -for you to download so you can easily print it! By the way, I wrote another post about making nut butter in 2018 here, where I mention making it in large batches, freezing the extra, adding some cocoa powder for a fun treat, links to more info about coconut oil, and more.]