Healthier Nutella and the Best Cupcakes Ever


Raise your hand if you are guilty of dipping your finger into a jar of Nutella at some point. Is your hand up high? Mine too! It’s becoming more and more common to come across Nutella addicts from all walks of life. I still remember the first time I sampled Nutella at a Spanish language immersion summer camp. I hesitantly spread it on my toast, took a dainty little bite, and was instantly hooked! A few years later, Nutella cropped up in U.S. grocery stores, dooming me to a life of temptation every time I reached for an innocent jar of peanut butter placed strategically beside the jar with the white lid and Kobe Bryant smiling out at you.

This rich, sweet chocolate hazelnut spread is (well, was) good on just about anything, from pretzels to fresh fruit to crepes to straight-off-the-spoon-when-you-think-no-one’s-looking. Let’s have a look at the ingredients of this popular peanut butter alternative:

sugar, modified palm oil, hazelnuts, cocoa, skimmed milk, soy lecithin, vanillin, reduced mineral whey

Sugar makes up the bulk of the spread? No wonder it’s so tasty! Modified palm oil? Palm oil is shelf stable and full of healthful saturated fats as is, which makes me curious as to why it is adulterated for Nutella. Madness! Let’s make some chocolate hazelnut spread that won’t leech nutrients from your body…

This low sugar version of Nutella (Not-tella?) packs a nutrient punch with antioxidants, healthful saturated fat, and iron from the chocolate, and monounsaturated fat and magnesium from the nuts and oil. The milk contributes a bit of calcium as well. Best of all, the net carbohydrate grams have been cut down from 168 per cup to 56! Spread your Nutella on an almond flour biscuit and enjoy chocolately decadence without the sugar crash!

The recipe for Not-tella is so simple! You just have to do a bit of chopping and stirring (and taste-testing as you go along, shh). You can find powdered milk at most supermarkets and even Wal-Mart. If you’re dairy-free or vegan, perhaps powdered coconut or soy milk would be a good stand in. As for the oil in the recipe, you have options. I used cold-pressed peanut oil because it has the best taste and least heat processing for the most reasonable price, but any nutty or neutral tasting oil would work. A touch of vanilla bean paste would be lovely in this spread, if you have access to it. Just don’t add water and ruin the smooth, luxurious consistency!

Healthier Not-tella (Chocolate Hazelnut Spread)

1/2 cup (heaped) fresh hazelnuts
5 tablespoons oil
1-3.5 oz Lindt 70% cacao content bar
1/4 teaspoon (scant) of good-tasting pure stevia extract
4 tablespoons powdered milk (I used Organic Valley)
Pinch sea salt


Toast hazelnuts in the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes, stirring twice. Dump hot hazelnuts into a clean dish towel and rub vigorously for a few moments to remove some of the skins. Don’t worry if some of the skins are still left on. Chop up nuts well (unless you have a really powerful blender). Pour oil into blender or Magic Bullet cup. Add nuts. Blend for a minute or two until nuts are ground as smooth as you can get them. Make sure your hands are dry, and break or chop up chocolate bar into pieces and microwave for 30 seconds, then for 15 seconds, or until it can be stirred smooth. Stir in powdered milk (sifted, if it has lumps), stevia, and sea salt. Store tightly in a glass jar for 24 hours to let the flavors meld. Reheat cold Nutella to make it spreadable, as it will harden in the fridge.

~56g net carbs for the whole recipe, with 7g net carbs per 2 tablespoons

And now, a little somethin’ special for New Year’s festivities…


These cupcakes are darn good. They really deserve their own post, but this recipe came together as I was working on a cupcake base for swirls of Not-tella. If you haven’t tried coconut flour-based cake (and even if you HAVE tried it), you are in for a treat! My standard coconut cake recipe is adapted from one of Bruce Fife’s recipes, but one little twist on the method of preparation has yielded the best sugar-free gluten-free (and dairy-free!) cupcakes I’ve ever eaten.

Healthy Nutella Swirl Cupcake

The big twist is… whipping the egg whites and folding them back in! That’s it. That’s all you have to do to get a nice fluffy consistency with pretty rounded tops and a perfectly moist interior. If you’re intimidated by egg whites, read this helpful tutorial. I’ll never make cupcakes with the old, lazy method again. It seriously takes less than 5 extra minutes to attain white flour-less cupcake nirvana. It also cuts the calories per serving drastically, which means you can “eat more,” and have 2 cupcakes instead of one. And this, my friends, is totally sweet.


Nutella Swirl Cupcakes a.k.a The Best Cupcakes Ever

Makes enough for two muffin trays

1/2 cup oil (I used 1/4 cup extra virgin olive and 1/4 cup coconut)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup organic half and half or coconut milk
1/2 cup sifted coconut flour
1/2 cup erythritol
1/4 teaspoon good-tasting pure stevia extract
1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
5 eggs, separated
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grease muffin pans with nonhydrogenated shortening, or line with paper cups. Spray paper liners with cooking spray if using. Stir together oils, vanilla, and half and half. Mix together coconut flour, erythritol, stevia, baking powder, and salt. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients, then whisk in egg yolks. In a separate, meticulously clean bowl using clean beaters, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Stir a bit of the whites into the yolk batter to lighten it up, then proceed to fold in the rest of the whites. Don’t worry the batter has streaks or a few chunks of foam. Spoon batter into greased pans, leaving a little room at the top (do NOT overfill or cupcakes can sink in the middle).

Use a teaspoon to drop chocolate spread onto the top of cupcakes, and swirl in with a toothpick, pulling batter up and over the filling. Bake mini muffins for 20-25 minutes, and regular muffins for 25-30 minutes. Cupcakes may became very browned in some spots on the top, but they will not dry out. Remove when the top of the cupcakes spring back. Let cool for 10 minutes in pans, then invert onto a clean towel or wire rack. Store at room temperature for a couple of days, then refrigerate.

For extra decadence, stuff the insides of cupcakes with Not-tella…

…or just drizzle it generously over the tops!

The filling didn’t quite make it down to the center in this one, but it was still yummy!

~2g net carbs per plain, regular-sized cupcake
~.8g net carbs per minicupcake

Related recipes you might like:
Real, Homemade Nutella @ Seattle Local Food
Let’s Go Nuts: Nutella! @ Food & Thoughts
Cocoa Nib Hazelnut Spread @ vegan visitor

What are you making for a New Year’s party? I’m looking for ideas. πŸ™‚

30 Comments on Healthier Nutella and the Best Cupcakes Ever

  1. simplenaturalnourishing
    December 29, 2008 at 1:09 pm (14 years ago)

    In your recipe it calls for 1/2 cup oil and you said you used 1/2 cup each olive & coconut. Is it supposed to be 1 cup total of oil or 1/4 cup each of olive & coconut. I'm asking, cuz I'm going to have to try this :).

  2. Lauren
    December 29, 2008 at 3:25 pm (14 years ago)

    Simplenaturalnourishing – Amended to show that it’s 1/4 cup of each. Thanks for pointing that out! Am excited to try your orange cake next. πŸ™‚

  3. Amanda
    December 29, 2008 at 9:03 pm (14 years ago)

    OH MY GOSH YOU ARE A GENIUS! I don’t think I can actually MAKE fake Nutella because I would promptly eat it all, but I love the idea that I CAN!

  4. Kimberly
    December 29, 2008 at 10:42 pm (14 years ago)

    These look awesome. How do you come up with all these tempting recipes? Thanks for stopping by my blog:)

  5. Jennifer
    December 29, 2008 at 11:54 pm (14 years ago)

    Looks great, Lauren, as per usual. I mentioned you in my latest post.

  6. Debs
    December 30, 2008 at 4:33 am (14 years ago)

    Thanks for the link!

    Glad the nutella came out well, and your cupcakes look beautiful. I will neither confirm nor deny that I tried to eat my screen.

    Seattle Local Food

  7. Anonymous
    December 30, 2008 at 5:53 pm (14 years ago)

    I visit everyday. You are so talented. Thanks for the recipes and your unselfish time sharing.
    Everything I have tried has been EXCELLANT !!!

  8. Jennifer
    December 30, 2008 at 7:49 pm (14 years ago)

    ROFL Debs!

  9. Cheryl
    December 31, 2008 at 2:33 am (14 years ago)

    oh my god I LOVE nutella! I’ve been making faux nutella for years and when I’m having a bad day I eat it by the spoon…
    the cupcakes look super yum

  10. Jen
    December 31, 2008 at 4:07 am (14 years ago)


    I just found your blog and I’m not sure you can ever get rid of me now. I went back through all of your previous posts and I don’t know which recipe I’m going to try first but my new years resolution will be to make every single thing (and gobble it down promptly). Ya! Something I can stick with!


  11. Raspberry Runner
    December 31, 2008 at 3:45 pm (14 years ago)

    thank you thank you thank you!!! you are absolutely brilliant! i will be trying this soon!
    P.S. try nutella with stawberries! that’s my favorite πŸ™‚

  12. Mee-Lise
    December 31, 2008 at 4:56 pm (14 years ago)

    Brilliant! But! It may take more self control than I’ve got not to gorge on it with spoon. Small batches. Small batches will be key.

    I’m still working on the truffles, but am consoling myself with (so simple even I could do it!) eggnog. Coconut milk, I love you so…

  13. Oct
    January 1, 2009 at 6:03 pm (14 years ago)

    You bring us so many wonderful recipes. Thank you so much!

  14. Sophie
    January 2, 2009 at 3:17 am (14 years ago)

    Yum Yum! So creative! I love how you give thinks a tasty and healthy twist :). Wishing you a happy New Year!

  15. Lauren
    January 2, 2009 at 7:42 pm (14 years ago)

    Amanda – Thank you! Haha, you could always make a small batch. πŸ™‚

    Kimberly – These recipes just satisfy cravings for old favorites! The inspiration is everywhere, constantly tempting us health-concious folks. πŸ™‚

    Jennifer – I saw that! Thank you.

    Deb – You comment made me laugh out loud! πŸ™‚

    Anon – Thank you so much! Glad you like the recipes.

    Cheryl – Nutella makes me feel better, too. πŸ˜€

    Jen – Yay! I hope you try some of the recipes. Good luck with your eating plan!

    Raspberry – Thank you! I will be trying this Nutella with strawberries. Great suggestion!

    Mee-lise – Small batches are definitely key with this stuff! Coconut milk eggnog? Sounds intriguing. Will have to give that a try…

    Oct – You are welcome! Thanks for stopping by.

    Sophie – Thank you! Hope you have a wonderful GF new year. πŸ™‚

  16. Lauren
    January 5, 2009 at 4:37 am (14 years ago)

    Ooo, that all looks amazing =D. I’m totally another Nutella Addict, so this sounds perfect!

  17. Maggie
    January 7, 2009 at 3:46 pm (14 years ago)

    The cupcakes look great but I really want to try the homemade Nutella. Thanks for the link to the good tasting Stevia, I’m going to give it a try.

  18. Amanda
    March 12, 2009 at 9:56 pm (14 years ago)

    I made these last night, and they were wonderful! So light. For any of your Australian readers, mine tasted like lamingtons, which was heaven itself. Amazing!

    Thank you so much!

  19. susan dawn wake
    July 20, 2009 at 9:09 pm (14 years ago)

    I made these to enjoy with my sister during a recent visit; we are both Celiacs, so gluten free, and from a diabetic ravaged family, so we try to keep real sugar to a tiny bit/rare treat. This recipe was delicious and the cupcakes were wonderfully light. Thank you for the recipe and a fantastic site!

  20. Lauren
    July 20, 2009 at 10:07 pm (14 years ago)

    Maggie – Hope you got to try the Nutella!

    Amanda – So glad you enjoyed the cupcakes, and thanks for "translating" your description into Aussie lingo!

    Susan – I am so happy to hear you and your family liked the cupcakes. You are very welcome!

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    May 27, 2010 at 10:37 pm (13 years ago)

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  22. Natasha
    December 29, 2010 at 9:29 pm (12 years ago)

    Your recipe calls for "1-3.5 oz Lindt 70% cacao content bar", but can I use cocoa powder instead? I have some that I absolutely love the taste of! If I use the cocoa powder is there anything else I need to compensate for that the bar would have provided?

    Also… would it matter if I purchased hazelnuts that have already been toasted and skinned… but not salted?

    GREAT recipe idea!

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  25. Melanie
    July 23, 2011 at 4:02 am (12 years ago)

    Does this really make 24 cupcakes? That's how I interpreted the "makes enough for two muffin trays." Just checking!

  26. Melanie
    July 23, 2011 at 4:03 am (12 years ago)

    Does this recipe really make 24 cupcakes? That's how I interpreted "makes enough for two muffin trays." Thanks!

  27. DramaQueen
    November 21, 2011 at 2:55 pm (12 years ago)

    where about have i been since you started this delicious blog? wao! i am diabetic and i love cakes. i am just smilling to the kitchen now obviously to try these out. hmmmm…sweet.

  28. RSSMITH76
    February 29, 2012 at 6:38 pm (11 years ago)

    OH MY YUMMMMM! I made mine in a silicone brownie bites pan. They are beautiful and YUMMY! Would be PERFECT for a brunch party! I used butter and the 2 egg option.
    Now I need to make the “not-ella” LOL

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

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