Yes, you read right: I'm having an affair; his name is Nutella. I’m not proud of this affair but I really just can’t help myself. Ever since I got back from Italy I have been in love with Nutella. I find myself reaching for him all hours of the day. It seems I just can’t keep my hands off his creamy chocolaty nutty goodness. Is it because he invokes vivid memories of my mornings on the Amalfi coast soaking in the sunshine with him. Or is it just that I find him irresistible.
Whatever the reason…I think my husband is catching on. I’ve started meeting Nutella for breakfast; at least once a week and I’m even bringing him home for dessert. I mean really can you blame me…who doesn’t love Nutella??
Now that the affair is out in the open let me share something special I’ve done with Nutella when I get him alone in the kitchen.
Nutella Swirl Pound Cake
adapted from Food and Wine Magazine
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
One 13-ounce jar Nutella
Preheat the oven to 325°. Lightly grease and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, tapping out any excess flour. In a glass measuring cup, lightly beat the eggs with the vanilla. In a medium bowl, whisk the 1 1/2 cups of flour with the baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the butter with the sugar at medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the mixer at medium-low speed, gradually beat in the egg mixture until fully incorporated. Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, beating at low speed between additions until just incorporated. Continue to beat for 30 seconds longer.
Spread one-third of the batter in the prepared pan, then spread half of the Nutella on top. Repeat with another third of the batter and the remaining Nutella. Top with the remaining batter. Lightly swirl the Nutella into the batter with a butter knife. Do not overmix.
Bake the cake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto a wire rack, turn it right side up and let cool completely, about 2 hours. Cut the cake into slices and serve.
And when he’s not around…because let’s face it I can’t be with him all the time…I've found something so similar in likeness:
Bittersweet Chocolate and Hazelnut Cookies
Adapted from Dolce Italiano by Gina DePalma
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup whole hazelnuts, skinned or unskinned
1 cup (2 sticks/8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, for dusting
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Place the hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse them 2 or 3 times to chop them medium-fine. Add the hazelnuts to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir to combine them.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract and scrape down the sides of the bowl. On low speed, beat in the dry ingredients, followed by the chocolate, and beat just until combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill the dough until firm, about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease two baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray or butter or line them with parchment.
Place the confectioners' sugar in a shallow bowl. To form the cookies, roll 1 scant tablespoon of dough into a 1-inch ball, then flatten it slightly with your fingertips to form a small disk. Roll the cookie in the confectioners' sugar to coat it evenly and place it on the baking sheet. Repeat until all of the dough is used, spacing the cookies 1 inch apart on the baking sheets.
Bake the cookies until they are puffed and cracking, 8 to 10 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets 180 degrees halfway through the baking time to ensure that the cookies bake evenly. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 1 to 2 minutes, then use a spatula to transfer them gently to a wire rack to cool completely. If desired, dust them with additional confectioners' sugar.
The cookies can be stored in an airtight container, layered between sheets of parchment paper, and kept in a cool, dry place for up to 1 week.
I'm submitting this to Susan over at Food Blogga for her Eat Christmas Cookies Event