Dairy-Free Knockoff Nutella


Since the day my now 14-year-old son Isaiah was diagnosed with gluten intolerance four years ago, there have been many days when I have felt that I know absolutely nothing—nothing at all.

There still are.

“I look into his dark brown eyes and see my handsome teenage son. So, handsome, I could cry. I cry wondering if he’s healthy. Healthy enough.”

What does that even mean? I wonder if I should get Isaiah more invasive testing to make sure he’s healthy. I wonder if by not getting him the more invasive testing, I am making a mistake—one I can’t take back.

Professionally, I have been a magazine researcher, fact-checker and reporter. And from that perspective, I have researched the heck out of gluten intolerance, celiac disease and all of the related, possible, probable, interrelated symptoms, syndromes, illnesses, diseases and everything in between. I’m still confused.

Personally, if I think about it too much, I get even more confused and overwhelmed. I don’t think that can be healthy. Not for me—or Isaiah. We’re in this together, but as he’s turned into a teen, he’s feeling out his independence, which means he’s testing the boundaries and seeing how far he can bend the rules. Translation: He cheats and eats gluten when he’s out with his friends. After all, he’s not a little kid, anymore.

italy2 (1)

I’ve realized that I have to come to terms with the fact that:


I can only control what goes on under my roof, so my kitchen is gluten free. What do they say? You have to let go?

“I can only trust that Isaiah knows what’s right—and what’s right for his body.”

So what do I do with all of this? I love. I cook. I cry. Here’s everything I’ve learned so far about gluten free. In fact, what I love about this list is that these are all things that we’ve known all along.

1) Love heals all.
2) You are what you eat.
3) Homemade is always best.
4) Trust your instincts.
5) Lead with your heart and the rest will follow.
6) If something doesn’t feel right, change it.
7) You know more than you think you do.
8) Take a leap of faith.
9) Conversation is food for the soul.
10) Simple is good.

That’s why I am happy to join Diane from The W.H.O.L.E. Gang along with all of the other gluten-free bloggers who are participating in her 30 Days to Easy Gluten-Free Living. For the complete list of contributors and what they’ll be writing about, please see below.

Homemade Nutella, anyone?

Here’s the list of the 30 bloggers and the days that they’ll be sharing their easy gluten-free living tips and recipes!

Monday May 2nd    Diane from  The WHOLE Gang sharing Easy Gluten Free Grocery Shopping Tips

Tuesday May 3rd  Iris from The Daily Dietribe sharing on How to Start a Gluten Free Diet.

Wednesday May 4th  Heather from Gluten-Free Cat sharing Smoothing the GF Transition with Smoothies

Thursday May 5th  Alta from Tasty Eats at Home sharing Make Your Own Convenience Foods

Friday May 6th  Elana from Elana’s Pantry sharing Quick and Easy Gluten Free Cherry Vanilla Power Bars

Saturday May 7th  Cheryl from Gluten Free Goodness sharing Easy Meals GF Style

Sunday May 8th  Megan from Food Sensitivity Journal sharing Gluten Free Baking Undone:  Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Monday May 9th  Amy from Simply Sugar and Gluten Free sharing Magic Cookie Power Bars.

Tuesday May 10th  Ricki from Diet, Dessert and Dogs sharing Gluten Free Baking Tips

Wednesday May 11th      Ellen from Gluten-Free Diva sharing Gluten Free Travel Tips

Thursday May 12th     Kim from Cook It Allergy Free sharing Eating from your Garden for Easy Gluten-Free Living

Friday May 13th     Melissa from Gluten Free For Good sharing Gluten-Free Food Rules (recipes included)

Saturday May 14th  Brittany from Real Sustenance sharing Healthy Allergy-Free Quick Bread with easy flavor variations.

Sunday May 15th  Nicola from g-free Mom sharing Kids Lunch Boxes

Monday May 16th     Wendy from Celiacs in the House sharing Fast Food for Gluten Free Teens

Tuesday May 17th     Shirley from gluten free easily sharing Your Pantry is the Key to Living gfe

Wednesday May 18th     Nancy from  The Sensitive Pantry sharing Tips for BBQ and Picnics

Thursday May 19th    Heidi from Adventures of a Gluten-Free Mom sharing Tips for Getting Kids to Embrace Whole Foods

Friday May 20th  Silvana from Silvana’s Kitchen sharing Everything I’ve Learned So Far about Gluten-Free (plus a recipe!)

Saturday May 21st  Maggie from She Let Them Eat Cake sharing Easy Gluten-Free Living With Preschoolers and a Vanilla Cupcake recipe!

Sunday May 22nd  Sea from Book of Yum sharing Gluten Free Vegetarian Burritos

Monday May 23rd     Tia from Glugle Gluten-Free

Tuesday May 24th    Alisa from Alisa Cooks and Go Dairy Free sharing Wrap it Up-Thinking Outside the Bun

Wednesday May 25th  Hallie from Daily Bites sharing Keys to Colorful Cooking

Thursday May 26th     Carol from Simply…Gluten-Free

Friday May 27th   AndreaAnna from Life as a Plate sharing Tips on Traveling on Day Trips with Kids

Saturday May 28th  Zoe from Z’s Cup of Tea

Sunday May 29th  Kelly from The Spunky Coconut

Monday May 30th  Jess from ATX Gluten-Free sharing 1 Meal 3 Ways, Jazzing up Leftovers

Tuesday May 31st  Naomi from Straight into Bed, Cakefree and Dried


Dairy-Free Knockoff Nutella

Yield: About 2 cups


2 cups blanched hazelnuts, roasted

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

½ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

3½ tablespoons canola oil


  1. Isaiah eats this stuff straight from the jar—with gluten-free pretzels or just a spoon. To roast the hazelnuts, preheat the oven to 325º and place them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Cook, shaking occasionally, until toasty and fragrant, about 12 minutes, and let cool completely. The chocolate-hazelnut butter will keep for at least 1 month in the fridge.
  2. In a food processor, grind the hazelnuts, scraping down the sides, until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the cocoa powder, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, salt and oil; process until combined, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a sealable container and refrigerate.


  1. Great post Silvana and thank you for being so honest. I’m already dreading the teenage years and I hope beyond all hope, that Sam and Luke will will be different, that they will just stay safe and be happy carrying a lunchbox everywhere they go! I know that is wishful thinking on my part, because we all go through that period of time when we challenge what we’ve been taught and think we’re invincible. I can only imagine how difficult it is to know that Isaiah cheats when he is among his peers, but you’re right, just keep doing what your doing, teaching him along the way and plastering him with hugs and kisses. He will eventually arrive at the moment when he can physically feel/see why you’ve made these important decisions for him, and he will have a safe place to fall. On the bright side, if he’s cheating on a regular basis, you could always take advantage of the situation and run the blood tests, just to see. 😀

    You are a great mom Silvana and the love you have for your children is so evident…BTW, handsome young man you’ve got there!


  2. Beautiful post, Silvana. I know it has to be hard for you seeing Isaiah go through this on his own. I hope he comes around quickly after feeling the effects of choosing to cheat. I know after 4 incidents of accidental glutening in 2 weeks that I thought it would never get out of my system. I know if you keep doing what you are doing he’ll see what is right for him. And after working with teens for years, sometimes they just have to learn from their own mistakes to really get what the lesson was about.

    *hugs* ~Debi

  3. I love this list–so direct and simple, and yes, we *should* all know many of these already, but I think we tend to forget in the hubbub of daily life! And of course I love the nutella, too–one of my favorite nut butters is homemade nutella (I had to ditch the sugar as well as the dairy, though) 😉 And what a striking young man Isaiah has become!

  4. Lovely pictures and post. I think your feelings are universal among moms raising kids with gluten and gut issues. I’m thankful for people like you who are writing about it and sharing great recipes. Sharing our stories makes us stronger.

  5. Silvana, this is beautiful. I totally fear those independent teenage years. Because my oldest has Celiac Disease, I am hoping that he will make decisions not to cheat, but who knows where that path will lead us. I have a few ore years to wait before I find out! And..holy moly. Your son is beautiful. He looks so much like you!

  6. Silvana…I’m tearing up with you. I can’t imagine how hard it must be…and what a blessing it is that you have the courage and strength to share what’s on your heart. Somehow out of our biggest challenges sometimes we find the courage to share and give to others, to bring hope where there was none. You’re doing that.

    Much love,

  7. That is why I have so much trouble letting my 8 year old out of my sight. I so respect moms with anaphylactic allergies since I don’t imagine I would ever be able to let her out of my sight if she were anaphylactic. By the way, my kids live on your “Nutella” recipe. We have struggled with finding options for school lunch and your “Nutella” recipe has saved me. My 8 year old will finally eat something at lunch time again.

  8. Really lovely, Silvana. So heartfelt, so poignant. I remember going through this with my son. He was diagnosed as gluten intolerant at age 15 and went gf long enough to get rid of those DH blisters on his torso that were so uncool for a lifeguard. But after that, he’d eat gluten free at home, but not be diligent outside of home. Then he started eating gluten again. If his symptoms returned, he went gf again. And so it went, until he finally went gf 3 years ago. However, he ate in fast food places often and got cross contaminated plenty. Now he eats gf and more and cooks most of his meals because he needs to heal and feel better. It’s a tough road for them and a tough road for us to watch them go down it. But I’ve found that we all have to come to diligent living gluten free on our own. Thanks so much for this post, Silvana. I know it will help many come to terms with similar struggles with children or themselves. My heart goes out to you and others because as I said I’ve been there and still am in many ways as my son is still healing and learning.


  9. Silvana, I love those photos. Your son has the most beautiful face and curls! This post was so poignant, it made me want to cry (but in a good way). 🙂

  10. I echo everyone else’s sentiments. This is so poignant and heartfelt. While I’m through with the teenage years, it’s also hard knowing your child is living in the big wide world and you no longer have ANY control over what they eat or do. =) My daughter who has celiac disease lives and works in NYC. She rides her bike through the city, lives alone in an apartment and has an active social life. YIKES! But I trust in her judgement, hoping I’ve impacted her enough to make wise food choices and avoid gluten at all costs. It’s hard, for sure, but with increased awareness, things are much better now than they were 10 years ago when she was diagnosed.

    Beautiful post, beautiful photos, beautiful people, beautiful nutella. =) I loved this post!

  11. Silvana, I feel for what you must be going through – and how difficult it must be for you to watch your son go through his teen years and make these decisions to eat gluten. But, I suppose it’s like many other things we have to do with teens no matter who they are – they have to learn and become independent for themselves. If that means they go out and drink, smoke, eat gluten-y food, whatever, and learn the hard way, it hurts us so much as parents to relinquish control and let them fall to learn that lesson. I hope for you and his sake both that he learns quickly! You’ve set some wonderful groundwork in the past years for him, and he will appreciate that dearly, and he will learn. Great post – thank you so much!

  12. Silvana this is such a beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing your truth with us. Your teenage boy is so handsome! Sounds to me like you’re doing the right thing by letting him go so he discover the world on his own! Lots of deep breaths for you.

  13. Yipee!! In this busy world, I often neglect to read all the postings I receive but was thrilled to find a substitute for Nutella…finally my 8 yo can eat it too!!

    I do worry about the future of food for my son but just hope I have laid the ground work for him to make the choices best for him…to my knowledge, he has never eaten any mistakes. Best wishes with your son!!

  14. Love these pictures…so adorable and this Nutella recipe is fabulous. I just made this recipe ‘tnite for my family atop gluten-free toast and they loved it! They’re already talking about adding it to their morning oatmeal, too. You are a chocolate genius.
    Have a great weekend.

  15. I wish there was a “print recipe” on your site to make it easier…is there one and I’m just missing it?

    Love your recipes!

  16. I love this post, you really are an inspiration and certainly a calming influence… always look forward to your posts!

  17. What a beautiful, honest and moving post! Thank you for sharing and for this recipe – fantastic!

  18. Silvana,
    I’ve gone from toddlerhood to the early 20s with my daughter on the gluten-free diet. I think the temptation to cheat is sometimes very hard to resist during the growing years. The best you can do is keep encouraging him and reminding him that his good health is at stake. Your son, like my daughter, will grow up and away and then he will be the only one in control of his diet, as it should be. Yes, it’s scary but you just have to trust that all the lessons you taught by the care you put into keeping him gluten free will be the underpinning of the way he chooses to live his life. No one is perfect and he may slip up occasionally, but overall he is likely to stick with the diet because of your good example and the path you set for him through all the love expressed in your cooking and your writing.

  19. Thank you for your honest about coming to the realization that we cannot control our children’s choices. It is so painful to witness them making choices that we think will harm them. I think all we can do is keep our loving connection to our teenagers open and flowing, and live our own lives with clarity about our values and choices. Life experience is a powerful teacher and sometimes we have to step aside and let it work its ways on those whom we love.

  20. My {gluten-free} son is only 7. I have his teen years in the back of my head all the time. I don’t worry that he’s going to stay out late, or that he’s going to get a girl pregnant (although I should!). I worry about what he will eat. When he was a baby and was diagnosed, I remember thinking that I no longer cared if he ate dirt from the garden by the fistful, as long as it was gluten-free. I really appreciate your post, and all the comments that followed, Silvana. We all know that we have to begin to let go of our children in tiny installments from the time they are born until the time they are fully grown. But having to let go when it comes to a gluten-free diet seems like a particularly harsh reality.
    Thank you.

    Warm regards,

  21. We are kindred spirits. Reading this post I felt as I could have been writing it. Thank you for the lift I needed today.

    And a big CONGRATULATIONS for the Saveur award. I am tickled for you : )

    xo Lexie

  22. Wow. Such a good post. My son is 3 and has several food allergies, including wheat, that he was diagnosed with at around 10 months old. We’ve been on this road for almost 3 years now. Right now we’re at the point where the biggest thing we worry about is what he might get while with the grandparents. I know that will change as he starts preschool and is more and more out of our direct supervision. I wonder at what age he will start to question the whole “you can’t eat that, it will make you sick” thing. So I don’t want to think about it now. I just have to educate him little by little and pray that he makes good choices as he develops his food independence. And I guess it wouldn’t hurt to pray he grows out of them, right? Thanks for the insight into your world. 🙂

  23. Look delicious. I can’t wait to try it.

    I was diagnosed with celiac when I was still living in my college dorm and navigating the playing field was a lot harder then than it is now. Your son is so lucky to have such a caring and devoted mother to help him figure it all out.

  24. This was so gorgeous. It also scares the heck out of me. My kids are 5 and 3 and knowing that I won’t be able to “control” what they eat forever makes me want to cry with you.

    I can only hope that Isiah sees how much you love him and want him to be healthy and treats himself with that same love. This is my hope for my children too.

    And now I’m off to the store to buy hazelnuts. 😉

  25. Sivana, thank you for sharing your feellings, conflicts of the heart and mind. You have said so simply what all moms of children with gluten sensitivities/allergies torment over. My daughter is gluten intolerant because she has significantly delayed digestion…at least that is what we have found out, on our own. No tests showed that she was intolerant or allergic…to anything, yet slow digestion was diagnosed. Docs thought I was PTS syndrome! but as soon as we tried gluten-free diet, the bathroom trips became manageable and the fatigue was gone. She still has trouble eating any fatty, processed foods, gluten-free or not. I worry as do you that maybe I should be doing more…take her to Boston?? etc. so little is known about this in children. aaahhh, it’s blogs such as yours that keep me sane. For that and your wonderful recipes, I thank you.

  26. I’m so thankful that I happened across Cooking For Isaiah! We decided to do the gluten and dairy free thing and your recipes have changed everything for us! My daughter loves the pineapple carrot muffins, the S’mores pancakes and the chocolate chip cookies! I’ve been eating gluten and dairy free as well and lost 5 lbs eating waffle bread, pancakes muffins and cookies! Thank you so much! My family is healthier and happier 🙂

  27. Can’t wait to try this nutella recipe!

  28. seriously??? a month in the fridge??? not in my house!!! too good…too gone!! 🙂

  29. I need your expert help. I have hazelnut flour and would prefer to use that instead of grinding up 2 cups of whole hazelnuts. I wondered if you could tell me the measurement of the 2 cups whole would be when they’re ground?

    • Hi Mickey, from what I’ve researched, 4 ounces ground, lightly packed hazelnuts = 3/4 cup whole hazelnuts. Hope that gets you started on the right path…Talk soon, Silvana

  30. Thank you for the Nutela recipe… I’m wondering if I could use coconut oil instead of canola… what do you think? Thanks in advance! My daughter Silvana : ) has a sensitivity to gluten, she is only 1 year old…your recipes have been very helpful… we are making a big switch for the whole family to go GF.

    • Yes, I think you could use melted coconut oil in place of the canola oil. I’m so happy that you’re enjoying the recipes. Best to you and your family on your gluten-free journey! Talk soon, Silvana