Seize the moment.
Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.
Have you ever heard of National Hugging Day? What about No Housework Day? Rubber Duckie Day? Who makes up these crazy holidays, anyway?
…Happy Mew Year for Cats Day?
And we thought Valentine’s Day was created by Hallmark! Well, here’s a new one for you – World Nutella Day. It was new to me, at least, until I came across this blog. [Note: check out these fun hand-printed silkscreen calendars of silly holidays for 2011!]
Now, for those of you who know me personally, you can attest that I have a cynical side. I may be a little sarcastic at times. A wee bit skeptical. Not about this. Friends, this is serious. This is NUTELLA we’re talking about!
Of course my choice was clear. I had to celebrate this newfound Nutella holiday. As I did a little more digging, I discovered a whole world of food bloggers paying their respects to the addicting chocolate-and-hazelnut spread. Some take pictures, some post their own unique recipe creations, some discuss Nutella as a cultural phenomenon, and some write touching odes to their favorite pantry item.
So now, without further adieu, here are some recipes I tried out this week!
Nutella and Fresh Ginger Mousse
Recipe Source: Ms. Adventures in Italy
It sounded like a strange combination, Nutella and ginger. It could be a match made in heaven, or a disaster. So I had to find out which.
When I realized how much of my precious, brand-new 26-oz. Nutella jar would be used by this recipe, I decided to halve it. Even with doing that, I would still say this pudding serves four, because it’s very rich and a little will go a long way.
The first step for this mousse is melting Nutella with a bit of water over a double-boiler. Unfortunately, I missed the double-boiler part of this instruction and overheated my Nutella right from the start. FAIL. (Not pictured due to panic. But it looks oily when overheated. My advice, use a low heat. See my overly thorough tips on melting chocolate here.) Once the Nutella and water are melted and well incorporated, stir in about 1 tablespoon of soft butter and remove from heat. The butter can help if you, too, have a chocolate-melting nightmare, so take heart!
Off the heat, stir in two eggs yolks, one at a time, then stir in finely minced ginger. I used a microplane grater to get my ginger soft and paste-like.
The next step is to beat eggwhites and sugar into stiff peaks. This was accomplished beautifully with the help of an immersion blender (with whisk attachment) and a pinch of cream of tartar. Unfortunately, again, it was done too early, and the whites began to collapse a bit by the time I folded them into the Nutella mixture. My advice, follow the recipe steps in order. Mousse is a tricky thing!
Lastly, pour the mousse into serving cups and freeze for two hours or more. If I were to make this a second time, I think I could perfect the texture. But while I love Nutella and I love ginger, the combination didn’t really do it for me.
Recipe Source: French chef and boyfriend extraordinaire, David
This crepe is a classic, and for a lot of people, their first introduction to both Nutella and crepes. The exciting thing is, once you’ve mastered the art of making a crepe, the possibilities for filling it are endless!
Much like the pie crust recipe I featured on my pot pie post, this batter has a magical 2:1:1 proportion:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
This batter is much like pancake batter, in that you’ll want to whisk it gently to prevent it going flat. Ultimately, it needs to be smooth, but in this initial mixing, a few lumps are just fine. It’s best to let the batter sit overnight in the refrigerator, or at least for several hours. The next day, you can gently whisk out any remaining lumps, and add about 1/4 cup milk to thin it down. Runny is what we’re going for.
An ideal pan for crepes is round and flat, about 12 inches in diameter, like this one:
Spray the pan with a light coating on nonstick spray or run a light coating of butter over it, and warm over a medium heat. Your crepe will cover the entire surface of the pan. To pour it on, ladle the batter onto the top edge of the pan, tip the pan and let the batter run down the surface. Rotate the pan and repeat this step until you have a thin coating with no holes. It will take about one or two ladles, depending on the size of your ladle and pan.
Let the crepe lightly brown on medium heat, about 2-3 minutes…
…then carefully flip it over to lightly brown the other side. While it’s browning, run a stick of butter over the surface to give it a thin coating, and – this is the really yummy part – sprinkle a thin layer of sugar over that. The sugar gives the crepe a wonderful, slightly crunchy texture. If you like a simple crepe, you can stop here – butter-sugar crepe is one classic variety.
But we’re not going to stop there, are we? No… not on World Nutella Day!
SO. Once both sides are nicely browned, slide the crepe onto a serving dish, and fold it in half (butter and sugar inside). Quickly, while the crepe is still warm, spread the Nutella over one side – as much as you like! A large, flexible device is best for this, so you don’t tear the crepe; think pie server or frosting spreader. Place bananas over the surface and fold in half again. (Strawberries are also a lovely fruit to add to a Nutella crepe.)
If you’re eating these with someone you love, or someone you’ve just started dating, I must warn you – the point of the crepe is the best part. It’s where all the Nutella, sugar and butter are concentrated, and it can make or break your relationship. It’s best if both parties understand from the get-go: this point is not for sharing. It’s for savoring, last, after you’ve gotten past the outer flaky edges of crepe and diplomatic, evenly spread middle parts. Whatever you do, when you make crepes, make two.
Chocolate and Chickpea Cupcakes with Nutella-Sour Cream Frosting (gluten-free!)
Recipe Source: Lucullian Delights
If you’ve been cruising this blog for a while, you might have already seen my gluten-free brownie recipe, which is also based on chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans). Unlike that recipe, this one uses chickpea flour. If you can’t find chickpea flour at the store, you can make your own by grinding dried chickpeas in a food processor. (I wrote a how-to on the subject, as I found it to be an interesting experience…)
On her blog, Ilva made one plain and one orange version of cupcakes. I wasn’t sure about the orange-Nutella combo, but I do love cooking with booze, so I opted to use Amaretto. If I’d had Frangelico, that would be even better.
Trader Joe’s carries this brand of Amaretto, and I think it’s great for baking because 1) it’s cheap, and 2) it’s sweeter than DiSaronno and slightly caramel, so the flavor comes through well in baking. I save the expensive stuff for after-dinner cordial 😉
I also lightened up this recipe a bit by substituting applesauce for half of the oil, and gave you U.S. measurements below.
The nice thing I discovered about using chickpea flour, as opposed to canned chickpeas, is that the cupcakes resemble the more crumbly, cake-like texture achieved with all-purpose flour, than a dense, brownie-like texture. The method for making this frosting was unique to me, and hands-down the easiest frosting I’ve ever made from scratch! The Nutella really comes through, and it’s just heavenly.
Bottom line: I loved this recipe and will be back for more of Ilva’s chickpea flour creations!
Other quick and easy ways to enjoy Nutella
Nutella is delicious on a graham cracker…
Or, you can try making a how-wide-can-you-open-your-mouth Nutella-graham sandwich:
If you’re feeling a bit fancier, try topping a butter or shortbread cookie with Nutella, sliced banana and hazelnuts:
For health-conscious types, Nutella is delicious on sliced apple or pear. So I hear. Note lack of picture.
RECIPE– Nutella and Fresh Ginger Mousse
2 eggs, separated
15g butter, softened
1T. fresh ginger, finely chopped or pureed
In a double boiler, melt the Nutella and water until thoroughly melted. Add softened butter and mix thoroughly. Take off heat.
Separate the eggs while the mixture cools down. After it has cooled down, add one egg yolk at a time to the mix, incorporating it fully. Add the fresh ginger and mix well.
In a separate bowl, mix the egg whites with 30g of sugar until you have stiff white peaks. Fold the egg whites slowly into the chocolate mixture. Pour the mousse into glass cups or bowls to set up in the fridge or freezer.
Ms. Adventures in Italy, adapted from “La classica Mousse” of Sale e Pepe
RECIPE – Nutella-Banana Crepes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk, plus more to thin
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Nutella
In a medium bowl, beat two whole eggs, then gently stir in 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of milk until well-mixed. Don’t worry about lumps at this point; you don’t want to overmix. Place the batter in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
Spray a flat, round pan with nonstick spray and warm over medium heat. Thin the crepe batter by slowly adding milk, until the consistency is runny (around 1/4 cup usually does the trick). Be careful to remove all lumps at this point.
Hold the pan at an angle and pour on ladle-fulls of batter, letting it run down the pan and become thin. Rotate the pan and keep ladling and running the batter until the pan is covered. Warm the crepe about 2-3 minutes, checking the bottom for a medium-brown color. Once the bottom is lightly browned, flip the crepe and brown the other side.
Run a stick of butter along the surface of the crepe to add a thin coating on one side. Sprinkle a thin layer of sugar over the surface, and slide the crepe onto a serving plate.
Immediately fold the crepe in half, so the butter and sugar are inside. Spread Nutella over the folded surface, cover with bananas, and fold in half again. Serve warm.
Serves 2, with extra batter leftover
RECIPE – Chocolate and Chickpea Cupcakes with Nutella-Sour Cream Frosting
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup of vegetable, sunflower seed, or canola oil
1/4 cup applesauce
1 cup chickpea flour
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
2-3 tablespoons chopped candied orange peel, optional
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or other liqueur
3/4 cups Nutella
1/2 cup sour cream
Whisk eggs and sugar until fluffy in a bowl. Add the oil and applesauce, and mix well.
Sift chickpea flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into the batter and stir until well incorporated. If you choose to make the orange version, this is when you add the candied orange peel and the liqueur.
Spoon the batter into cupcake forms and bake in a pre-heated oven (175°C/350°F) for about 10 minutes. but do check with a toothpick to see if they are ready – they don’t need to be completely dry as they are even nicer if they are a little on the moist side.
While the cupcakes cool down, whisk sour cream and Nutella until smooth and shiny, then pipe the cream on top of the cupcakes.