Merry Christmas everyone! This is my favorite holiday out of the whole year. I love celebrating the birth of Jesus, my best friend and Savior. Eric and I are working on creating our family Christmas traditions around focusing on Christ. One of our favorites is advent, and this year we started doing it with a triology of books by Arnold Ytreeide.

Another tradition of Christmas is gift giving. We hope to live in Africa one day, so already have way more stuff than we need, plus we live in a tiny apartment and can’t fit much more in here. Because of that we decided not to buy gifts for ourselves or family this year. Instead we bought gifts for a local family in need, a homeless boys’ shelter in Kenya, and had a special Christmas experience.

But we didn’t want to show up at family Christmas celebrations empty handed, so were thinking about what we could make. I was browsing the lovely Cate’s blog when I saw she had the perfect Christmas gift, homemade Nutella! Check out her original post here. The picture of her little son with a chocolatey mouth is too adorable. She has a great blog all about cooking with pre-schoolers, as a hopefully future mother of pre-schoolers I really enjoyed it. Some of my favorite memories with my mom are of learning to cook with her.

I couldn’t follow her recipe exactly because I didn’t have extra virgin coconut oil and got snowed in so couldn’t go hunting for it. She recommended Trader Joe’s for the nuts and chocolate, and boy was she right! The hazelnuts were half the price of even the bulk foods section of other grocery stores. I was also able to get this giant really good dark chocolate bar there.

This recipe filled up 9 small jars and one large one. I made some fresh french bread to go with it, my favorite french bread recipe is here. It comes out golden and crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. Family will be getting bread with it, for friends just the jar of hazelnut spread. I had to make the recipe in two halves because I have a small food processor.

Last year I made homemade apple butter, it was a huge hit. The best compliment was when my grandma called me to tell me it tasted just like the apple butter her mom used to make when she was a girl. I think this is going to go over just as well. Thanks Cate!

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Spread


4 cups raw, shelled, hazelnuts
1 lb good quality dark chocolate
2 cups powdered sugar
3 TBS canola oil or coconut oil
1 tsp coconut extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread out the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Shake the pan halfway through to get them evenly roasted.

While the nuts are roasting, use a serrated knife to cut your chocolate into small pieces. Process in your food processor until finely ground. Transfer to a bowl.

Wrap the roasted nuts in a clean kitchen towel and rub vigorously to remove the skins. (this was the hardest part and took me forever. I still couldn’t get as much of the skins off as I’d hoped)

Place the hazelnuts in your food processor and process for about 5 minutes until creamy and buttery. Add chocolate, sugar, oil and extract and blend another couple minutes. Taste and add more sugar if you’d like. Use a spatula to scoop it into individual jars.

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Nutritional and cost information is for estimating purposes only, and subject to variations due to region, seasonality, and product availability.