Level: Novice

Reading Time: 5 minutes

I have made a hazelnut paste in my melanger.  I have been making the paste as an input to making chocolate spread but for the life of me I haven't been able to come up with the texture of this brand - photos attached.  All they use are hazelnuts, cocoa nibs, cocoa powder and organic sugar.  They assured me via email that it is dairy free and vegan, and I have read on their website that they use a huge stone grinder (industrial melanger) to grind everything.  How can it come out so thick and creamy?  As you can see from the photos there is not one drop of oil present - it holds together so well.  I didn't think that such a thick product could come out of the melanger as it would likely gum up.  Do you think they used an emulsifier?  I would love to make this product on my own rather than keep buying it.  In fact, I have been experimenting for more than 6 months with it and finally decided to seek help, so any insight you can provide would be most appreciated.  

I would suggest reading this over.  Ask-the-alchemist-176

It will be slightly different due to the lack of milk powder but the principle is going to be the same.  I am not able to help you directly as you haven’t given me your recipes so instead I’ll propose one.

I don’t think they are using an emulsifier.  I suspect they are also not making this in one shot in the melanger.


The first place I would start is making this in two batches and combining them afterwards. The biggest benefit of this is that you can fine tune the texture on the bench and get it just right.  Upon coming out of the melanger both pastes are going to be liquid but as they cool, only the chocolate one is going to set up since cocoa butter is a solid at room temperature.  The hazelnut paste will remain liquid.  All you need to do is find that balance.  If you mix it 50/50 and it is too hard, change the proportion methodically toward the hazelnut paste side in 5% increments.  55/45 for instance.  If your paste (once cool) is too soft, you go the other making it 45% hazelnut paste and 55% chocolate paste. 

Here is the recipe I give for Nutella.

  • 55% sugar
  • 16% Vegetable oil
  • 13% Hazelnut
  • 7.8% Skim milk powder
  • 7.4% Cocoa powder

Hazelnuts are about 60% oil.  Doing a little fast math, that means this recipe has about 24% oil (13% x 60% + 16%).  Since you are not adding any oil, it can and should all come from your hazelnuts.   Dividing the amount of oil you need by its target percentage in the recipe tells you how much hazelnut you need if it were just hazelnuts and no extra vegetable oil.  24% / 60% = 40%

Purely because it makes the numbers easy (and because I have nothing else to go on since you didn’t provide me with how much sugar they use) I am going to pick 30% and suggest the following recipe to start.

Hazelnut portion

  • 700 g hazelnuts
  • 300 g sugar

Since I don’t know much about the chocolate portion, I’m going to start with the same sugar content so when we mix them together that is always constant, or close enough.  Since I know I need at least 35% cocoa butter in the recipe just to work in the melanger, that gives me how much cocoa nib to add.  Just like above at 55% cocoa butter and a 35% goal we get this.  35% / 55% = 63.6%.  Since we have two of the three numbers the recipe just falls into place.

Chocolate portion

  • 300 g sugar
  • 636 g cocoa nibs
  • 64 g cocoa powder

Once cooling, the hazelnut portion should still be thin and the chocolate portion will solidify completely.  You will just methodically mix them together to find that balance point of texture you are looking for.  I would suggest starting with 50 grams of each and going from there.  This way you are not making large batches and you can dial in the recipe very quickly.

I’ve gone through all the maths so that should you want the batch more or less sweet (or know the sugar content on from hazelnut spread company) you can rework my numbers to match.

I can’t stress enough to make sure your temperatures are all the same.  This spread is going to be quite sensitive that way, being harder at colder temperatures.  That leads me to a final thought.  If the commercial spread doesn’t show a huge in texture when it is cold vs room temperature compared to yours that means the chocolate portion contains too much cocoa butter and that you should adjust the nib/powder portion to give you more solids overall.

I hope that helps.  Please feel free to reach out if it doesn’t or you want more input.