Chocolate Hazelnut Dust (molecular gastronomy)

Often when the term molecular gastronomy is bandied around, those who’ve heard the term think – TOO HARD and too confusing. Which is understandable, because old school molecular gastronomy is a bit like that. But if you’re interested in trying something new, and would like it to be an easy and fail safe introduction to molecular gastronomy then give this a shot.

Choc hazelnut dust



  • Large cup, high-sided small bowl or jug
  • Bowl
  • Spoon
  • Chopstick or something similar (for mixing)
  • Sieve


  1. Measure out around 1/2 dessert spoon of Nutella (or equivalent) and place in container (jug).
  2. Add 2 large spoons of tapioca powder to the Nutella and mix to blend using the chopstick.
  3. Add more tapioca powder and mix. Repeat until Nutella has been incorporated into the powder and it is a pale brown, dust like consistency.
  4. If required push through sieve to remove any lumps.
  5. Store in airtight container away from moisture.

Serving suggestion or use

  • Dust can be eaten straight.
  • Serve dust with dessert by sprinkling around plate, serve immediately and avoid contact with moisture.
  • Use it as dipping dust by serving it in a bowl. Dip fresh strawberries and chopped banana into the dust.

Scientific stuff

This technique is used by Heston Blumenthal in his famous “Sound of the Sea” dish. He uses this to assist with making the “sand” in his creation.

Tapioca maltodextrin is often used to convert liquids with high fat content into powder. This only works when using a specific type called N-Zorbit M. Derived from tapioca, it’s designed to have a very low bulk density. This means a big container will be very, very light (like dust).

Tapioca maltodextrin is used in the food industry to increase the volume of dry mixes and frozen foods. It’s white and almost flavourless.

When used in molecular gastronomy, tapioca maltodextrin is used to stabilise high-fat ingredients. This can then transform these ingredients into powders. It is an easy technique and can be used to convert regular ingredients from liquid or solid into powder. This adds a new dimension to dishes. The powder converts back to its original flavour and the sensation similar to an ingredient melting in your mouth. This occurs as soon as it makes contact with your tongue (or any other moisture, which is why you need to keep it dry).

The process of converting a high-fat liquid into powder is very simple. The high fat ingredient should be liquefied first if it is solid, chilled and then mixed with the tapioca maltodextrin. Start with a ratio of 2 parts fat to 1 part tapioca maltodextrin. Add more tapioca maltodextrin as required. To make the powder fluffier, pass it through a fine sieve.

Other ingredients that can be mixed with this powder include: peanut paste, bacon fat (melted/fried off the bacon), chorizo oil (fried off the chorizo), truffle oil, olive oil, white chocolate (melt and mix with some cream and refrigerate).

If you discover any other amazing combinations, please share!

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