Ode to Nutella
So here’s the thing.
I’ve always thought of myself as a chocolate purist. Not exactly a snob, mind you, but I definitely prefer my chocolate desserts– baked goods, ice cream, straight-up bars–to taste intensely chocolatey. And while peanut butter, coconut, coffee, raspberries, and even cinnamon all pair really nicely with chocolate, in my opinion, I’ve never really cared for the cocoa-hazelnut combo, so resisting the omnipresent Nutella–favored by all of my other chocolate loving friends and family members– was never very difficult. It’s overpowering, I maintained. It’s simply too sweet.
But something happened last last week during our lovely Riverwalk breakfast. Lily and I were sharing a plate full of migas, sweet potato tots, fruit, and vanilla-malt pancakes when I spotted a jar of Nutella next to the jam. Just a smear, I swore. We’re on vacation– and it’s high time that Lily has a taste of chocolate.
Immediately, she was smitten– and, shockingly, so was I. And for the remainder of our trip, I couldn’t help but imagine the possibilities I’d been ignoring for so many years: Nutella as frosting! Nutella on ice cream! Pretzels dipped into Nutella! To be honest, I’m not really sure how I let this happen. Maybe my tastes have changed. Maybe I’ve gotten lazy, and the idea of making my own spreadable chocolate sounds like too much work. Or maybe, just maybe, I made a colossal mistake years ago when I decided hazelnuts and cocoa were not a match made in heaven.
Regardless, I realized right away that I had lots and lots of catching up to do, so I stopped at the grocery store on my way back home from San Antonio and picked up the biggest jar I could find. I spread the stuff on my pancakes (dinner) and on my strawberries (dessert), and immediately began searching for the most incredible and decadent recipe I could find. And while I found some incredible concoctions (hello, Nutella brownies: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/everyday-italian/gianduja-bars-recipe/index.html), it eventually occurred to me that perhaps the very best vehicle for Nutella is… well, Nutella.
Then, magically, I found this- http://hauteapplepie.com/2011/05/18/nutella-brownies/— a three-ingredient recipe that does just that. Mix one egg, 1/2 cup Nutella, and 5 tablespoons of flour, pour into mini muffin tins, and bake for 12 minutes at 350, and you have these perfect little dessert bites. I had some anxiety about using– and potentially wasting!– so much of my spread (the precious!) in an un-tested recipe, so I only used a combination of 1/4 cup Nutella and 1/4 cup of peanut butter, sprinkled in a handful of dark chocolate chips, and subbed in quinoa flour for white. I let them cool for a few minutes and then let them firm up in the fridge for a little while… and proceded to eat half of the batch straight out of the pan in 30 seconds flat.
I did, of course, spread just a little extra Nutella on top for good measure.
I’m making up for lost time, after all :).