Lick-The-Knife-Clean Chocolate Spread

As part of my candy-writin’ job at, I get a lot of emails from people I don’t know. A lot.

Most of them are perfectly lovely and are a pleasure to answer. Some are completely baffling. Some are a bit insulting, in the please-provide-me-with-free-consulting-work sort of way. And some—my very favorite type—provide inspiration for new candies to make or recipes to try.


I recently got an email from an Australian reader who asked if I knew how she could make Milky Way spread at home. This email made me sad for several reasons:

1) I’ve never been to Australia. Here I am with a serious kangaroo fetish and no way to indulge it. Hmph.
2) I’ve never tasted Milky Way spread, and had to do a google search to figure out what it is.
3) Apparently, Milky Way spread is a magical chocolatey spread with stripes of…white chocolate? marshmallow? the google machine was unclear…but it looks delicious!
4) Being a Milky Way spread ignoramus, I was unable to truly answer her question.

It was a sobering email day, indeed.


After I got over my disappointment at the lack of Australia-visiting and Milky Way spread-eating in my life, I started obsessing about making my own chocolate spread.

Think about it: Nutella hogs all of the glory! Sure, it has a little cocoa in it, but at heart it’s a hazelnut spread (or a hydrogenated palm oil spread, if we’re being brutally honest) with a little touch of chocolate flavor. The spread I wanted to make was deeply, intensely chocolately, without nuts or any other fillers getting in the way.

This recipe is built on two of my favorite ingredients: chocolate and butter. It has a small amount of vanilla, and a pinch of salt, but it’s really all chocolate, all the time. When it’s first made it has the consistency of hot fudge sauce (and I won’t stop you if you want to pour it all over ice cream, cake, your hands, etc…) but once it’s chilled it’s gorgeously rich and smooth, with a consistency that’s perfect for spreading on toast or using as a dip for fresh fruit.


Oh, and did I mention that it takes mighty well to a sprinkling of crunchy toasted coconut (or nuts) on top? Because it does. Yessir. I can also recommend it straight from the spreading knife. Ahem.


Ultimately some good did come from that email. I may not have recreated Milky Way spread, and I may not get to ride a kangaroo in the near future, but I have enough chocolate spread to last me at least a week, and that’s good enough for now.

Lick-the-Knife-Clean Chocolate Spread
yield: about 1-1/2 cups spread

Print This Recipe!

1/4 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (about 2/3 cup)
5 ounces unsalted butter, softened and cubed

In a small saucepan, combine the water, granulated sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, and salt. Place the pan over medium heat and stir until the sugar and cocoa powder dissolve. Continue to heat the pan, stirring frequently, just until it reaches a simmer.

Once simmering, remove the pan from the heat and add the vanilla extract, chopped chocolate, and cubed butter. Whisk until the chocolate and butter melt and the mixture is completely smooth. When it is freshly made, this spread will have the consistency of hot fudge sauce.

Pour the spread into a jar or other container with a lid. Press a layer of plastic wrap on top of the chocolate to prevent a skin from forming, and refrigerate it until it thickens. If it is too cold to spread easily, let it sit at room temperature for a short while before serving. Store it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

66 Responses to Lick-The-Knife-Clean Chocolate Spread
  1. Oh, my, but you are some kind of evil! I have a friend who LOVES Nutella but I’ll bet this would convert her. Gonna put a pin on it!

  2. Jodie says:

    This sounds amazing. Nutella needs to be dethroned, anyway.

  3. oh my! oh my! just imagine that choc spread on donuts…. *drool* ^_^

    • Elizabeth says:

      Doughnuts–yes! I love the way your mind works. Or you could even use it as a chocolate frosting on cupcakes, too.

  4. Leah says:

    I have never liked Nutella. I don’t like hazelnuts. As a consequence, this means I don’t like virtually every chocolate spread in existence. Years ago, an Australian supermarket chain (Woolworths) stocked a chocolate spread made by their own homebrand which was amazingly chocolatey and non-nutty. And then, what happened? They changed the recipe and added hazelnuts! In the intervening fifteen years or so, I have had no luck finding a replacement chocolate spread (until I visited Belgium two weeks ago and found one that was amazing, but only came in 750g bottles, a bit big to bring home!) I may have to try this one!

    • D-Rae says:

      There is no such thing as too much chocolate to bring home. Feel free to share.

    • Eddie G says:

      Seriously, next time bring the big jug back and share it with the rest of us. I have a theory that no one really likes Nutella. Everyone just suffers with it while wishing it was pure chocolate spread.

    • choclover says:

      Hi Leah although I love nutella Hershey’s makes this wonderful chocolate spread I’m not sure if there is nuts in it (sure doesn’t taste like it) but its darned good and I went around looking for things to dip in it.

  5. Rachel says:

    Wow. I have a nut-allergy daughter and can’t keep things like Nutella around. This may just save me.

  6. Faeez Ramjan says:

    Oh my. I wanted to make chocolate croissants in school next week but i found nutella too boring. You just saved me :’)

  7. Emilie says:

    This is truly amazing, delicious, and surprisingly easy. Two weeks? That’s ambitious, there’s no way that I would eat it all by then.

  8. Chris Walker says:

    Years ago Cadbury made a Plain chocolate spread, that actually tasted of chocolate – they stopped, then Sainsbury made a plain Begian spread, you can only get milk chocolate spread from them, I can’t wait to get to the shops on Monday so that I can try this recipe

  9. Ali says:

    Oh my goodness Elizabeth – I found your site completely by accident when googling “Chocolate Spread”. I sent you that email about the Milky Way spread and obviously have not got over my obsession for spreadable chocolate. Ironic it was exactly around this time a whole year ago. April must make me crave chocolate spreads…
    I’m sorry my email made you sad. I promise that if Milky Way spread ever hits our shelves again, I will send you a jar and I might even include a kangaroo (well, a photo of one anyway). This recipe looks AWESOME – off to try it now. = )

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hey Ali! How does it feel to have inspired a whole random blog post? Honestly I loved your email and especially love the recipe that came out of it. Fingers crossed that the Milky Way spread comes back, I could use a kangaroo photo in my life. :) Cheers!

  10. [...] On the chocolate note, I have been chipping away at my 70% cocoa chef’s blend from Soma Chocolate…my prized chocolate possession from a recent trip to Toronto.  (That stuff is no joke.) I used it in Sugar Hero’s Lick-the-Knife-Clean Chocolate Spread. [...]

  11. Syeda Fatima says:

    Its lovely.I tried it but it was a little thin in its consistency.Please can you tell me why.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hi Syeda, So glad you enjoyed it! Have you refrigerated the spread? If so, what’s the texture like after refrigeration? I found mine got very firm when it was chilled and I actually preferred warming it up a little after taking it out of the refrigerator so it was easy to spread.

  12. Jennifer says:

    This is great! Im trying to find somewhat, healthy, but fun snacks for my VERY picky Kindergartner who has to bring a snack to school everyday! Of course, it is against policy to bring ANY nut products. My kids love rice cakes, with peanut butter and a sliced banana on top. For a split second, I thought, nutella would be a great substitute for the PB… Nope.. made with hazelNUTS. I am so excited to try a chocolate spread! Thank you so much!

  13. laura says:

    How long does this last for? I want to make it for my younger brothers and sisters :)

    • Elizabeth says:

      I’d say a couple of weeks, if you keep it in the refrigerator! The only limiting factor is the butter, so it should keep as long as your butter usually keeps in the fridge. Let me know what you think!

  14. Mini says:

    I was out of chocolate spread and my 4 yr old daughter eats bread with only chocolate spread(groan). Googled and saw this recipe. Made it in 20 mts and packed her lunch with this spread.
    Thank q for this amazing, super easy recipe!!!

    (Bonus tip: added a tablespoon of almond butter and the spread was of perfect spreadable consistency)

    • Elizabeth says:

      Haha, your daughter is a girl after my own heart! So glad that it worked well for you, and I *love* the addition of the almond butter– nutrition, flavor, AND texture? I’m sold!

  15. Toni says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe :)
    Following 2 anaphylactic episodes I have just been diagnosed as having a nut allergy (after 60 years eating and loving them) – in particular hazel nuts and almonds – so this recipe will ‘save me’ in so many ways!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Toni, that’s rough! So glad you finally got a diagnosis, and so happy to help find some nut butter alternatives! Good luck navigating your new nut-free world. :)

  16. utee says:

    You save my life today. My sister is a chocolate vampire but she’s also a vegan so its not easy for her to find vegan chocolate spread for her so I decide to made her life easier by trying to make it my own. I switch the butter on your recipe to vegan margarine but I cut the amount of it to half of the amount of semisweet chocolate blocks and it turns out I don’t even need to refrigerate it (and I life in Indonesia,the country that sits right on the equator) but the spread I made stay firm! Its perfect my chocolate-vampire sister. Thanks!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Haha, “chocolate vampire”! I love it, and am so stealing that to describe myself! So glad to know that it worked out for you, and also that it works with vegan margarine! I’m sure other folks will find that info really useful–thanks for sharing! Cheers!

  17. Melanie says:

    I can’t include nut-containing items in my kids’ school lunches and the nut-free chocolate spread I’d used previously has vanished from the shops. Your recipe turned up in my google search and will be trying it shortly! Do you think coconut oil could work in place of some of the butter?

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hi Melanie! I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure, but I do think coconut oil would work for some of the butter, especially during the winter. (I know my coconut oil tends to liquefy during the hot summer months, which might make it less than idea as a sandwich spread ingredients.) I’d love to hear how it goes if you give it a try! Also, I’m not sure if you saw this previous comment, but another person made this with vegan margarine and said it worked well–so that might be another option if you’re trying to avoid butter. She used only 2 oz and says it stays firm at room temp.

      • Melanie says:

        Not so much trying to avoid butter (I avoid margarine!) as that I really love coconut :-) I did it with butter this time, and it is delicious! Next time I’ll sub some coconut oil and report back.

  18. […] Yap, saya berhasil membuat “choki-choki” saya sendiri. Resep aslinya saya contek disini, tapi waktu mencoba membuat sesuai resep aslinya dan mengganti butter dengan margarine, hasil […]

  19. Kami says:

    Do you happen to know how this would bake up? I ask because I came across a “Red Velvet Nutella “Cinnamon” Roll Hearts” recipe today, but would rather use a chocolate spread instead of Nutella. You make and roll out the “Red Velvet” bread dough, spread Nutella on, slice into strips, roll from the outsides to the middle and pinch the center to form the heart, then bake. Do you think the chocolate spread would work or melt away? I’m dying to try it!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hi Kami! I’ve seen that pin–it’s gorgeous! Unfortunately I think this particular chocolate spread would melt away. I did make a pinwheel cookie with a chocolate filling that might work for the rolls:

      You could also try to track down the plain chocolate Hershey’s spread. It’s probably made with palm oil or similar (like Nutella) so my guess is it would behave the same way when baking. Here’s a link so you know what I’m talking about:

      Good luck! I’d love to hear how it goes when you give it a try!

      • Kami says:

        Thank you for the ideas! I will let you know how it goes when I try it, maybe this weekend.

      • L. Harper says:

        I used this sauce for a bread recipe. (I wanted a cinnamon bread loaf with a jelly-roll style swirl of chocolate.) In my opinion, it worked perfectly. I need to make it again, just to make sure…. Well, to share. :) I was wondering if it would work adjusting the amount of sugar. I described my original batch as semisweet in favor, but I wonder since I have family that loves dark chocolate and to minimize sugar.

        • Elizabeth says:

          I think you can safely reduce the sugar! I’d try 1/3 cup instead of 1/2 and see how you like that. Alternately, you can try using 2 oz semi-sweet chocolate and 2 oz unsweetened (instead of 4 oz semi-sweet) to get at deeper chocolate flavor. I think either option would work well, I probably wouldn’t try both variations at once unless you’re sure you like really dark chocolate!

  20. suzanne says:

    Do you think this would work with white chocolate?

  21. Alyssa says:

    Thanks ever so much for sharing this recipe. I live in Australia & all the primary schools here(kids aged 4-12) are nut free. Nobody is allowed to take nut products to school due to other children having allergies. My local stores used to stock nut free spread but for the past 3 weeks I’ve been unable to find any & my daughter won’t eat anything for lunch but a chocolate spread sandwich. I’m now going to make this & hope that she will eat it. Again, thank you for making my life a little easier…LOL

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hi Alyssa, You’re so welcome! Thanks for the comment. My son’s school is the same way so I know that it can be challenging! I hope your daughter enjoys it–please let me know how it goes!

      • L. Harper says:

        Thanks for the advice. I’m going to make some (both for in-bread and to just share as a spread) for family for Christmas. I hope you enjoy the holidays! And thanks for this wonderful recipe.

  22. Julie says:

    I am so happy to find a Chocolate spread you can make yourself that seems so easy. Thank you for sharing it with us. I have a fibroid and have been trying to eliminate Soy’s and Lecithin’s from my diet as much as possible. The problem is almost everything has one or the other, or both in it, including a lot of chocolate. And I simply cannot do without chocolate. I have a brand of Organic 65% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (no soy, lecithin’s, palm oils and such) that I’d like to try with this. Do you think it would work or does it have to be a baking chocolate? I’m so excited to try it.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hi Julie, So sorry for the belated reply! Somehow this comment slipped by me. I think the 65% chocolate chips would absolutely work! I don’t see any reason why you’d need a specific baking chocolate for the recipe. Let me know what you think if you give it a try!

  23. Kelly says:

    Hi, if you don’t mind could you answer this? Is the texture supposed to be all smooth like nutella? I thought I had let the sugar all dissolve. Or maybe I wasn’t using the best quality chocolate chips. The texture is a little rough, I want it all smooth, is there anything I could do? I also love this recipe :) Cheaper than nutella!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hi Kelly, I’ve actually found that mine is pretty smooth (closer to Nutella than something really grainy.) If you’re concerned, you can try just combining the water and sugar together first, and bringing that to a simmer so the sugar is completely dissolved. You can even let it cool and then check the texture with your fingers to make sure there are no sugar crystals before proceeding. (Not saying this is necessary, just one way to double-check the texture.) It may also be that there were sugar crystals on the side of the pan, so even if the sugar was dissolved in the liquid, the crystals on the side of the pan can cause more sugar crystals to form in the sauce. One way to prevent this is to brush down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to remove any stray sugar crystals.

  24. alyssa says:

    Hi Kelly. Mine has always been rather grainy in texture too but my children don’t seem to mind. Once its on sandwiches you don’t notice the texture. The taste is yummy & nut free which is the main reason i needed this recipe.

  25. Patty says:

    Referring to someone else’s comment I am a chocolate vampire! I am so happy I stumbled across this recipe. I am sure there will be lots of chocolate in my future! Thanks for coming up with this. As a baker I am curious how you came up with the recipe?

  26. Joanna says:

    I think I found this a while back, but I made it again the other weel and it was amazing! This is even though I used very cheap chocolate. Thanks!

  27. Izzy says:

    I am so excited to try this! I used to love nutella, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized how fake and processed and.. Well, not good for you it is. Also, my brother is VERY allergic to hazelnuts, so I cant buy most of the chocolate spreads because theyall contain tree nuts. So thanks again for this!

  28. Mr.Bakered says:

    This took me back to when I first started experimenting in the search for no butter, cream, or egg frosting. The initial results were, well, as you say, fudge sauce. Then, I put the left over in the fridge and the next day…heaven! I make mine using confectioner’s sugar, cocoa, cornflour, milk, salt, clarified butter/butter/coconut oil and some ground chilli. I ended up here while looking for a peanut-chocolate spread. And I was bowled over. I’ve never made a batch that lasted more than a week -you know why- but I’m glad that you note that it’ll keep for 2 weeks. It also make for a great little gift.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thank you! And YUM to your addition of ground chili! I love spicy chocolate–that’s a great idea. Thanks for the feedback!

  29. Elaine says:

    Do you think I could sub pure map,e syrup for the sugar??

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hi Elaine, to be honest, I’m not sure how that would work and what the final texture of that would be. I haven’t tried any sugar substitutes myself. If you give it a try I’d love it if you come back and let me know how it goes!

      • Elaine says:

        I made this as per your recipe on the weekend and it is really nice. My very fussy daughter is addicted to nutella and this is a much healthier, nut free version (for school). Next time I make it I will try with the maple syrup and let you know how it goes :-)

  30. Vanessa says:

    Best chocolate spread ever. I used 72% cocoa.
    Will use higher next time – but I’m still eating
    the jar I just made!!

  31. Jan Douglass says:

    My chocaholic daughter-in-law loved it, need to store it in portion controlled jars !!

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