As the nutella craze took over the world, like many families dealing with tree nut allergies, I sat on the sidelines looking longingly at what appeared to be a jar of chocolate heaven, wondering what it would be like to cover everything possible with that spread.
Well, my family is no longer sitting on the sidelines and neither should yours! Nutella is basically a spread made mainly with roasted hazelnuts and skim milk. Substitute a tree nut free alternative for the hazelnuts and voila, you can now partake in chocolate decadence like everyone else!
For the recipes below I used sunflower seeds – we love sunflower seeds in our family and they roast and grind well for this recipe. Roasted pumpkin seeds (hulled) also would be delicious, especially as we move into the fall season and everything becomes pumpkin flavored.
I have included two versions of what I have dubbed “Sun-tella,” a version using butter and heavy cream and a dairy-free version. Either are spectacular. The version with dairy is very close to a recipe I used in the past in my artisan chocolate business for the center of a chocolate truffle – very close to a chocolate gananche. And seriously, who wouldn’t want to basically spread a chocolate truffle on everything they eat?
The dairy-free version is a thicker spread because it does not have the addition of the heavy cream. Personally, I like having both versions on hand, as the dairy-free version works well for spreading on things like graham crackers and toast.
Both of these spreads can be put on just about anything – apples, strawberries, graham crackers, toast, ice cream, bagels, or simply a spoon to put directly into your mouth. The possibilities are endless!
If you want to try something interesting with either of these spreads, add smoked sea salt rather than regular salt. The smoked sea salt with the dark chocolate is a wonderful combination. If you are using sunflower seeds that are salted, you may want to omit the salt in the recipe depending on taste.
“Sun-tella” Chocolate Spread
Makes 32 ounces.
2 cups roasted sunflower seeds
16 oz. bittersweet chocolate
4 oz. room temperature butter, cubed
8 oz. heavy cream
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place sunflower seeds on a lined baking sheet and roast for approximately 10-12 minutes, turning pan and mixing seeds once during roasting. Let roasted sunflower seeds cool.
Place roasted sunflower seeds in food processor and process until paste forms, approximately 2 – 3 minutes, scraping down sides often.
Melt chocolate either over a double boiler or in the microwave. If melting in the microwave, melt on 45 second bursts, stirring after each time. Once chocolate is fully melted and smooth, add butter and whisk until incorporated. Add the heavy cream, vanilla extract and salt and mix well. Lastly, whisk in sunflower paste until thoroughly incorporated.
Place spread in an airtight container or in jars with lids. Spread should be kept in the refrigerator and can be kept for up to 4 weeks. Before using, if not warming, let sit out for 45-60 minutes to soften. You also can warm in the microwave in a separate bowl for 10 second bursts until the spread reaches the desired consistency.
Dairy-Free “Sun-tella” Chocolate Spread
2 cups roasted sunflower seeds
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup dutch processed cocoa
2 oz oil (vegetable, canola, coconut, etc.)
1 Tbs vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place sunflower seeds on a lined baking sheet and roast for approximately 10-12 minutes, turning pan and mixing seeds once during roasting. Let sunflower seeds cool.
Place roasted sunflower seeds in food processor and process until paste forms, approximately 2 – 3 minutes, scraping down the sides often.
Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth, approximately 2-5 minutes.
Transfer spread to an airtight container or jar with lid. Refrigerate or keep in cool location for up to one month.