Bronwyn’s Handmade Christmas August 2016: Nutella Powder
Every year, I tend to choose one unique gift to make and give the same thing to everyone. Last year, I finally got around to trying something I’d seen on Pinterest (this post) a few years ago— Nutella Powder. It was a big hit with my family and friends, so I thought I’d share it with you.
So what is it? Nutella (the creamy spread made with hazelnuts and cocoa powder) is combined with tapioca maltodextrin powder (a tapioca-derived starch that is used as a thickener, filler, or stabilizer in foods) to transform it into a treat that can be sprinkled rather than smeared. Without getting too technical, the tapioca maltodextrin absorbs the fat in the Nutella and transforms it into a powder.
(If you’ve ever watched cooking challenges on Food Network, you may have seen chefs transform foods using “molecular gastronomy.” They make instant ice cream with liquid nitrogen, spheres of “caviar” out of fruit juice, and foams whipped out of everything imaginable. The transformation of Nutella into powder is along the same lines. Check out this website for some examples and recipes. You can even download a free e-book with hundreds of recipes here.)
Why would someone want to sprinkle Nutella? Well, first, because it’s cool. Second, because eating a tablespoon of straight Nutella is a bit decadent, but you can get the same punch of flavor from just, say, a teaspoon of the powdered version. The maltodextrin dissolves in liquid, so when it reaches your tongue, all you get is that rich Nutella flavor without all the fat. I wouldn’t necessarily try to reconstitute it back to its creamy state, however. It’s not quite the same.
So let’s break it down. One serving of Nutella out of the jar is 2 tablespoons with 200 calories, 12 grams of fat, and 23 grams of carbohydrates (1 gram of fiber and 21 grams of sugars). Finding nutrition facts for the maltodextrin was really difficult, but I think I’ve found something that is correct (Amazon product review/customer image). Serving size is 100 grams (What?!) with 370 calories, 0.15 grams of fat, and 92 grams of carbohydrates (1 gram of fiber and 5 grams of sugars). I weighed my 3/4 cup of maltodextrin and it was only 14 grams. So for the entire batch of Nutella powder, we’re looking at about 252 calories, 12 grams of fat, and 36 grams of carbs (1 gram of fiber and 26 grams of sugars). Now, the fat doesn’t disappear; it’s just absorbed. Still, the 12 grams of fat in the original 2 tablespoons of Nutella are now spread out over the entire 7/8 cup batch. I’m not sure what a normal serving would be, but let’s say 1 tablespoon is a serving. (That’s probably generous.) That gives us 14 servings per batch. One tablespoon is only 18 calories, .86 gram of fat, and 2.6 grams of carbs. Sold!
How do I like to eat it? My preferred vehicle is vanilla ice cream. It’s also good sprinkled over fresh fruit, such as apples or bananas. Some people have told me that they like it in hot chocolate or coffee. Experiment!
Here’s the recipe I use:
2 Tbsp Nutella
3/4 cup Tapioca Maltodextrin
Add Nutella and maltodextrin to the bowl of a food processor. Begin with short pulses, working your way up to longer pulses, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally until fully incorporated. When you see that the powder has a consistent color with no large clumps of white or brown, mix on high for a few more seconds to make it fluffier. Use a spoon to transfer the powder to sterilized glass jars or other airtight storage containers. Label, give them to friends and family, and prepare yourself for some amazed and puzzled looks.
I use 4-oz. wide mouth jars, or 8-oz. jelly jars for more generous gifts. One batch yields about 7/8 cup of Nutella powder, enough for 2 small jars or one large jar. I usually make double batches to speed up the assembly line.
*What if you don’t have a food processor? In a deep bowl to reduce spillage, use a pastry cutter followed by a wire whisk to combine the ingredients. The powder won’t be quite as fine or as well incorporated, but it will be good enough. You can see the slight difference in color and texture in this picture.
*Be careful when handling tapioca maltodextrin, especially when opening the package. Don’t run a fan while you’re making this, and don’t inhale or exhale too quickly. This stuff is lighter than air and it will take flight. It’s also a little staticky around plastic, so beware of that, too.
*I bought my tapioca maltodextrin from Amazon in a 1-pound tub. Yes, that will make a lot of batches of Nutella powder (about 32 batches). Here’s a sneaky tip: if you add it to your Subscribe & Save order, you can save 5-15%, depending on how many other items in your subscription. But, like I said, that 1-pound tub will last a long time, so why would you need to have Amazon automatically send more? You probably don’t. I set my subscription to every six months. Then six months from now, if I happen to need it, I’ll order again. More likely, I’ll put off the subscription or cancel it altogether. I do this all the time. You’d be surprised by the weird things you can subscribe to—why would you need to order Sea Bands repeatedly? I don’t know, but I ordered once and canceled.
Other uses for the rest of your 1-pound tub of tapioca maltodextrin:
—Dry caramel salt (I’m totally going to make this one! In fact, I went to the grocery store this morning and grabbed some caramel ice cream topping on a whim. When I got home, I looked at the label and there’s no fat! Darn!)
–Butter for popcorn or corn on the cob
By the way, World Nutella Day is February 5. Good to know.
On a knitting note, I have new shawl design coming soon–Gathering Rosebuds. I have five *brave* testers knitting the pattern right now. Watch for the pattern release in the next couple of weeks!