Vegan Chocolate Almond Spread
I try not to be a parent who really stresses about what my kids do and do not eat. I believe as long as they are generally getting a diverse, nutrient-rich diet, I try not to worry too much when they go through periods when become suddenly super picky, or where they seem to be subsisting on air. These phases generally don’t last for my kids, and I tend to find that the more I push, the more resistant to eating they become, so I try to play it cool.
For the last few months, though, Mae has been very hard to please. She basically wants to eat only cheesy noodles and English muffins with prosciutto. She calls them “Egglish muffins,” which is super adorable, and she will still eat a hand full of fruits and veggies if I pretend they are mine and I don’t want her to eat them, but even so, I have found myself feeling a tad concerned that she is basically eating no protein that is not charcuterie.
Enter this spread.
This is the product of my attempt to make a homemade, reasonably healthy, vegan version of Nutella. There are lots of recipes for such a thing on the Interwebs, but my assistant Zoe and I soon found that they mostly required one to roast and peel one’s own hazelnuts before blending them into a butter. And, well, I am very lazy. So, my small sous chef and I set out to streamline one of those existing recipes so that it was faster to make and used only ingredients we had on hand.
It took us a couple of batches to get the sweetness and the texture right, but the result is a smooth and satisfyingly spread that my chocoholic preschooler will eat on a banana, a pancake, or whole wheat “Egglish Muffin” without complaint. It may not be be the ideal protein source to eat everyday, but it is a start!
We always have almond butter in our fridge, because it is delicious, and because my weirdo husband hates peanut butter, but if that is not something you usually buy, you could totally try this with natural PB. I am also thinking that next time around we might experiment with using store bought hazelnut butter, as a way to get that authentic Nutella taste without all the tedious peeling. Stay tuned to hear how that works out!
Vegan Chocolate Almond Spread
3/4 c. roasted almond butter *
1/4 c. pure maple syrup
3 dates, roughly chopped
2 tbs virgin coconut oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2-3/4 tsp salt **
3 tbs good cocoa powder
1/2 cup water
Add all ingredients to blender and blend, starting on low speed and increasing to high, until the dates are fully broken down and incorporated. ***
Scrape down the sides of the blender. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or syrup if desired. If the texture seems overly thick or grainy, dribble in another table spoon or two of water.
Blend until and smooth and velvety.
*Or nut butter of your choosing.
**My girlies and I really love salt, so we added the full 3/4 tsp. If that is not your thing, feel free to start with less and add more to taste.
***We used our Vitamix blender for this, but I am pretty certain it would work just as well in a food processor.