"Eat all the junk food you want...

...as long as you cook it yourself" - Michael Pollan 

As promised, the recipe for homemade Nutella is in this post!

I'm not opposed to treats. I taught my daughter how to bake from scratch on her own, and she enjoys it and does it quite well. Thanks to her, we nearly always have some delicious from-scratch baked goods in our kitchen! 

I'm also not opposed to packaged goods (sometimes). In our world of constant activity, they're pretty darn convenient. But I could do without the laundry list of ingredients that are difficult to pronounce or identify.

I think there's a great deal of value in having our kids learn about the ingredients that go into their favorite treats and also learn how these treats are made. I often see an ah-ha! moment when kids realize that  A+B=C and so on.

During some of my classes, I have the kids do a blind taste test. They taste one kid friendly packaged food, and the homemade equivalent. Last week, we tasted Nutella. If you haven't tried it before, it's billed as a chocolate hazelnut spread. Each child was given a dollop of store-bought Nutella in a little dixie cup and the homemade version in a second cup. My class of older kids preferred the home-made version. My class of younger kids was split 50/50. It's interesting how tastebuds continue to change with age.

Store-bought Nutella has marketed itself as part of a healthy breakfast. Really? The first ingredient is sugar, followed by palm oil. Not what I'd consider healthy. As one of the girls in my class said last week, Nutella is really just a sugary treat. Yup! But, it doesn't mean we can't enjoy it :)

First, we compared ingredients. The ingredient statement on a packaged product always lists ingredients in the order of predominance. It starts with the most and ends with the least. Here they are:

  • Store-bought Nutella: Sugar, palm oil, hazelnuts, cocoa, skim milk, whey (milk), lecithin as an emulsifier, vanillin as artificial flavor.
  • Homemade nutella: Hazelnuts, semi-sweet chocolate, powdered sugar, cocoa, oil, pure vanilla extract, salt.

So the homemade nutella actually tastes like hazelnuts and chocolate! And, the kids thought it was super fun to make. They learned a lot from roasting and skinning the nuts (by beating them in a dishtowel), melting the chocolate (without a microwave), and creating an emulsion by drizzling oil into the whirling mixture. 

Do you want to try it yourself? Here's the recipe!