These vegan nutella dirt cups are an ode to the childhood favorite, only this plant-based and gluten-free remix of the classic keeps things straightforward and chocolaty. Creamy chocolate-hazelnut pudding is tucked between layers of rich chocolate crumble (aka “dirt”). The pudding is made by blending together homemade hazelnut butter, bananas, avocado, cacao powder, maple syrup, a splash of vanilla, and a dash of sea salt. The “dirt” is made by combining hazelnut meal with a bit of cacao powder, coconut sugar, mini chocolate chips or cacao nibs, and a splash of water. The water adds just enough moisture to pull everything together into the most glorious little crumbles.
These vegan nutella dirt cups signify a celebration of sorts. A chocolate- and hazelnut-infused pudding celebration outfitted in layers of chocolate-chip confetti.
I can’t think of a sweeter, more enjoyable way to honor the fact that I submitted my final review of cookbook proofs last week. Although I’ve thought the cookbook was complete or nearly complete on multiple occasions over the last ten months, as of last Thursday, it’s really, truly finished and out of my hands.
Writing a cookbook is a long, tedious, slightly messy adventure, but if you bare your heart, it can be an incredibly fulfilling and soulful one too. The process has taught me a lot about so many things—writing, courage, cooking, vulnerability, healing, photography, joy, self-doubt, and even self-love—but if there’s one thing I’ve learned with absolute certainty it’s this: As you go through the process of writing a cookbook, you’ll mistakingly think “Hooray, it’s complete!” on about seven different occasions.
- Turn in the 380-page manuscript after nine months of giving every inch of heart and soul to recipe testing, photography, and writing? Yay! It’s officially complete. Time to celebrate!
- Complete two months of editing alongside your editor? Yay! Okay, so now it’s officially done. Right?
- Turn in all 100+ edited print-ready photos? Yay! Okay, there we go, now it’s done.
- Complete three weeks of copyedits alongside your copyeditor? Yay! It really must be officially done now. Right? Pretty please can it be done?
- Complete a few rounds of design reviews? Okay, now surely this book is done.
- Complete a couple rounds of reviews on the typeset proofs? Okay, seriously, is this thing done? Someone take it away from me before I have second thoughts and rewrite it all.
- Complete a fast and furious 48-hour review of the final typeset proofs? Okay, now I’m pretty sure this cookbook is actually, really, and truly complete. Is it okay to say “yay” this time? Okay, time to celebrate! Wait, are you sure you’re sure that it’s done?
Of course, none the wiser, you’ll excitedly tell people it’s finished after instance #1, willingly sharing all the good feels of having just completed a cookbook with anyone who will listen.
However, by the time instance #3 rolls around and someone asks, “So, what’s it feel like to be done writing a cookbook,” an odd feeling bubbles up inside of you. A feeling that leaves you to contend with the following multiple-choice question (sidebar annotations courtesy of my inner monologue):
How should I respond?
A) kick him in the shin, steal one of his shoes, and run away
Sure, if you’re a bratty 6-year-old with a budding case of kleptomania.
B) sob on his shoulder while downing a pint of mint chip coconut ice cream
Girl, get. it. together.
C) bust into song and dance to distract him
This idea isn’t half bad. Let’s go with Running Man meets The Robot to the tune of ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’ by Elton John.
D) take a deep, calming breath and reply, “I’m still in the process of finishing it, but I imagine it will feel wonderful.”
Logical and composed. This one has potential.
E) throw up my arms and yell, “NEVER!!!”
“NEVER!!!” doesn’t answer the question, and quit being so dramatic.
F) do all of the above, all at once
Unless you’re auditioning for multiple roles in an emotionally tumultuous broadway musical, this is a truly terrible idea.
Being the kind-hearted, responsible, grown-ass woman that I am, I always went with “d”. But there’s a small part of me that will always wonder how “f” might have gone over, particularly when it came to combining “a” and “c”. Perhaps I’ll give it a whirl sometime. You know, just for kicks.
Let’s talk Nutella “dirt” cups, because these layered treats are all that and a bag of chocolate chips.
Traditionally, the beloved childhood treats known as “dirt cups” involve layering chocolate pudding/mousse and cookie “dirt” (i.e., crushed Oreo cookies) into cups. Some versions take the “dirt” authenticity up a notch by burying gummi worms within the layers but let’s be honest, those wriggly little critters are merely placeholders for prime chocolate real estate.
This plant-based remix keeps things straightforward and chocolaty. Creamy chocolate-hazelnut pudding is tucked between layers of rich chocolate crumble (aka “dirt”).
The pudding? I shared a recipe for hazelnut + chocolate “Nutella” pudding on the blog last fall and have been wanting to incorporate it into other recipes ever since. It comes together in under 30 minutes and is made with homemade hazelnut butter, bananas, avocado, cacao powder, maple syrup, a splash of vanilla, and a dash of sea salt.
The dirt? Truth be told, Oreos are vegan, so I could have just crushed some up and been done with it. But that wouldn’t be much fun. Plus, I had my heart set on a “dirt” layer that 1) was free from funny business (read: artificial gunk and funky additives), and 2) offered a bit more nutritional oomph. Check, check.
This plant-pure “dirt” is made by combining hazelnut meal with a bit of cacao powder, coconut sugar, mini chocolate chips or cacao nibs, and a splash of water. The water adds just enough moisture to pull everything together into the most glorious little crumbles.
If eating dirt is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.
Vegan Nutella Dirt Cups
Vegan Nutella Dirt Cups
- 1 recipe Vegan Nutella Pudding*
- 1/3 cup hazelnut meal**
- 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips or 2 tablespoons finely chopped cacao nibs
- 2 tablespoons cacao powder
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 2 teaspoons filtered water
- Crushed hazelnuts
- Begin by preparing the Vegan Nutella Pudding.
- Next, prepare the chocolate crumble (i.e., "dirt") layer. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the hazelnut meal, mini chocolate chips, cacao powder, coconut sugar, and sea salt. Add the water and stir well to disperse the water throughout, or until the mixture resembles a fine crumble.
- In 4 to 6 small jars or glasses, layer the pudding and the crumble, one after the other, creating four total layers (2 of each) in each glass.
- Keep chilled in the refrigerator until ready to serve. (Note: I recommend chilling the cups for at least one hour to thoroughly cool and set the pudding.)
- If desired, garnish with a sprinkle of crushed hazelnuts just before serving.
**Make your own hazelnut meal by adding a few handful of raw hazelnuts to a food processor and processing for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until ground into a fine meal.