Better than store-bought: Homemade chocolate-almond spread.

It was with a deep sigh of regret that I tossed the empty jar of Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut spread into the recycling bin. It’s a refined version of Nutella—less sugary-sweet (Justin’s has 7 grams of sugar per 2-tablespoon serving; Nutella has 21 grams) and tastes more like chocolate plus hazelnuts and less like candy. I swirl a tablespoon of chocolate hazelnut butter into a bowl of oatmeal topped with half a banana, sliced. I spread it on whole-grain English muffin for a quick lunch. I use a smidge on sliced apple for an afternoon snack.

So in bidding adieu to my jar of Justin’s, I decided to try making my own variation. I found a terrific recipe online: 4-Ingredient Dark Chocolate Almond Butter. Two problems, though: 1) I didn’t feel like running my food processor for 15 minutes, to the point of near exhaustion, and 2) I didn’t have whole almonds on hand. I did, however, have a jar of Trader Joe’s almond butter.

Could I hack a simpler version of homemade chocolate-almond spread? You betcha.

easy chocolate-almond spread
(makes about 2/3 cup)

1/2 cup almond butter (with or without salt)
1/4 cup good quality chocolate chips

Place a heatproof bowl over a saucepan filled with about an inch of water (water should NOT touch the bottom of the bowl). Place the chocolate chips in the bowl and heat over medium-low until the water is simmering. Stir the chocolate constantly to ensure even melting; do not overheat. Transfer melted chocolate to a bowl; add almond butter and, using a stick blender or hand mixer, blend until thoroughly combined. Scrape into a covered jar and refrigerate.

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