Showing posts with label Nutella. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nutella. Show all posts

Monday, July 21, 2014

Banana Chocolate Chip Donuts

We are home and in the swing of things.  My parents drove up after the wedding and arrived on Saturday, the Chick went to visit her mom after the wedding and got home Saturday night.

We celebrated everyone's arrival with ribs for dinner and these donuts for breakfast.  It was one of my healthier eating days!  I'm back on kale smoothies tomorrow....yea, right.

Over-ripe bananas are a wonderful thing.

Warm and delicious...perfect for breakfast.

Banana Chocolate Chip Donuts
adapted from Twigg studios

2 medium bananas, very ripe and mashed
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk or almond milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup chocolate chips, I used mini

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Generously spray donut pans with cooking spray, or butter well.

Mix bananas, sugar, milk, butter, eggs and vanilla together in a medium bowl.  Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl.  Mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients (or the other way around, I can never remember how you are supposed to do it), then add the chocolate chips.

Pour the mixture into a large ziplock bag, squeeze the air out and snip off one corner.  Pipe the batter into the donut molds.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.  Let donuts cool in pans for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack.  Let cool.  Serve with chocolate dipping sauce, Nutella, or's all good.

This post linked to Homemade Mondays from Frugal by Choice, Cheap by Necessity.

1 year ago:   Buttermilk Blueberry cake and Dave the Streetsweeper
2 years ago:  Strawberry Upside Down Cake

July 21, 2014   Sunrise: 4:13am  Sunset 11:39pm  Temp. H 72/ L 54°F

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Scary Stories and Nutella filled Cinnamon Sugar Muffines

Everyone who knows me knows I don't like scary stuff.  I don't read scary books (I tell people I'm not allowed), I don't watch scary movies (in college, my date and I had to leave Gremlins because it was too scary...and no, we didn't have a second date), I don't even like the movie trailers on t.v. that are scary.  I believe that it is because I have such an active imagination, which is a sign of a high IQ (at least that is what I tell myself so I can feel better about it.)

Well, I was cruising Facebook over the weekend (when I was home alone and not washing the walls) and I came upon a shared post called Terrifying two sentence horror stories.  Now really, how scary can two sentences be?  Here is the link, see for yourself...

Um, yea.  I was home alone and had to sleep with the lights on, with Hershey on Dave's pillow (and keep in mind right now it never really gets dark outside, just kind of dusky)...the one about the closet was especially scary since my side of the bed is right next to the closet.  At 2:37 am, I had to go get Tucker (a golden retriever) out of the living room and make him sleep on the floor between me and the closet so he would bark before something tried to get me.

So, yes, I am a big fat ol' baby.  And my gun is in the closet so how could I get to it if the monster was coming from the closet?  I had to have a treat to calm my nerves in the morning.  And nothing clams nerves better than chocolate.  It is a scientific fact that the antioxidants in chocolate are good for you, and dark chocolate helps relax your blood vessels so helps lower your blood pressure and reduce your chance of strokes...or something like that.  I read it on the internet so I know it is true.

So, here is a great recipe for you to make yourself, after you read those scary two-sentence horror stories.  You might want to mix them up and have them in the oven when you read them, and don't say I didn't warn you.

Nutella Stuffed Cinnamon Sugar Muffins
adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction Blog


· 1/3 cup (5 Tablespoons or 75g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

· 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar

· 1 large egg

· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

· 1/2 cup (120ml) milk (cow, almond, soy)

· 1 and 1/2 cups (190g) all-purpose flour

· 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

· 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

· 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

· 1/2 teaspoon salt

· 8 teaspoons Nutella


· 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar

· 2 teaspoons cinnamon

· 3 Tablespoons (45g) unsalted butter


Preheat oven to 425F. Spray muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl of an electric or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together on medium speed. Mix in the egg, vanilla extract, and milk. Gently stir in flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Do not overmix - stir until *just* combined.

Spoon 1 heaping Tablespoon of batter into muffin cavity. Layer with 1 teaspoon Nutella in the center and spoon another heaping Tablespoon of batter on top. If the muffin tins are completely full, that is ok. They will not overflow. Repeat layering batter and Nutella into each muffin tin. I got exactly 8 muffins.

Bake at 425F for 5 minutes. Keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce temperature to 350F and bake for an additional 13-17 minutes until batter is set. Allow muffins to cool for about 5 minutes.

While the muffins are cooling, make the cinnamon-sugar topping. Melt the butter for about 30 seconds in the microwave. Stir and stick back in microwave if not fully melted. In a separate small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon. Dip the top of each muffin into the melted butter and dip into the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Swirl them around in the cinnamon-sugar a bit to make sure you get a thick coating. Set upright on cooling rack.

Muffins stay fresh in an airtight container up to 1 week. Muffins freeze well, up to 3 months.

1 year ago:   Quinoa Salad
2 years ago: Mudslide Brownies and Ruckus in the Muckus

May 28, 2014   Daylight 20 hrs. 10 min. 53 sec.   Temp. H 66/ L 45°F

Friday, November 15, 2013

Folded Nutella Cookies and the Happy Light

In my ever increasing attempts to insure the baby boy and his chick are happy, productive, and love Alaska while they are here, I purchased a "Happy Light" for them.  This light is recommended for some people who live in areas where sunlight is limited (Hello Fairbanks).  It is supposed to help reverse the symptoms of winter blues such as depression, lethargy, and sluggishness.  I don't want the Bboy and his chick to be depressed and I really don't want them lethargic or sluggish since they will be working and going to school.

My plan was to put it on the shelf in the dinning area, right next to the table.  I am hoping it will get turned on in the mornings, everyone will benefit from it (Dave needs it too, but he would never admit it), and we all will go on with our day in a happy, productive way.

So I bought it (over $100!), set it up and began to read the directions.  First of all the directions say, "place lamp 6 inches from face."  6 inches, you have got to be kidding me.  How can I sit with that overly bright thing in my face only 6 inches away?

Then it says "Use lamp for 30-60 minutes daily."  Really, I'm going to sit with that lamp shining in my eyes, bright enough that they are streaming tears, they are watering so much, 6 inches from my face for 60 have got to be kidding me, the first time I tried it I didn't last 4 minutes.  How am I going to get the chick and the Bboy to do this?  It's not going to happen.  I just spent over $100 for this damn light and all it is doing is pissing me off.

So I made cookies.  Nutella fixes everything.  I made these cookies, I sat down with a cup of tea and a plate full a couple of cookies and reread the instruction manual.  O.K. it says 6-36 inches and 30-60 minutes, not directly in front of your face.  So the shelf with the cookbooks next to the table will work after all.  I'll turn it on when I get up and Dave can turn it off before he goes to work and we can all benefit.

I should have saved us some money and just bought a couple jars of Nutella for the Bboy and the chick, we all would have been happier.

Nutella Folded Cookies
adapted from Taste of Home, November 2013

1 Tbsp. finely chopped hazelnuts
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
2 Tbsp. Nutella, plus more for eating while you make these cookies
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350°F.  In a small bowl, mix hazelnuts and sugar.  In a large bowl, whisk four, confectioners' sugar and cornstarch.  Cut in butter until crumbly.  Transfer to a clean work surface.  Knead gently until mixture forms a smooth dough, about 2 minutes (dough will be crumbly but will come together).

Divide dough in half.  On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion to 1/8 inch thickness.  Cut with floured 2 inch round cookie cutter.  Place 1/4 tsp. Nutella in center.  Fold dough partway over filling, just enough to cover.

Place 1 inch apart on greased baking sheets.  Brush with beaten egg; sprinkle with hazelnut mixture.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until bottoms are light brown.  Remove to wire racks to cool.

November 15, 2014   Daylight  6 hrs, 14 min, 38 sec.   Temp. H 13/ L 3°F

Monday, October 28, 2013

Easy Nutella Cookies

It is a good thing we have Fridays.  My brain must have been full last Friday and just couldn't hold anything else.

I do a lot on the weekends to help myself get through the week without using up valuable thinking space...
 -I prep my lunches as much as possible, cooking and freezing chicken, cutting veggies, measuring out my yogurt for my morning snack
-I choose all my clothes on Sunday and hang them on a butler hook on the outside of my closet door so all I have to do is put them on, no time having to think about what I am going to wear
-My bag is in the entry and all I have to do is grab it on my way out
You get the picture.

But last Friday, wow.  I have been learning a lot with my new position and have spent most days reading or doing on-line tutorials on how to use a new computer program.  Then Dave was outside working on the wood pile and I was inside doing one thing or another for the duplex (that's what my BIL calls the change in the downstairs for the kids coming home).  All in all a busy week.

Well, here was Friday morning. I had showered, I was dressed, I came downstairs to grab my lunch and go.  I had a big meeting that day with my big boss and the president of the university I work for, so I wanted to look good.  I was rocking this beautiful purple dress and and black and white patterned jacket. I walked into the kitchen where my husband was getting coffee.
"Did you forget to put something on?" he asked.
"No, what?" I said as I looked, tights, dress, jacket - all were accounted for.
"Um, you don't have a bra on."
"Oh Shit!"  I ran upstairs, got undressed, got dressed - with the bra this time - and was 10 minutes late to work.  So much for having the world by the tail that morning.

Now, how could he tell that I was missing my bra when I had a jacket on?  (The girls must be hanging a little lower than they used to.)

So this weekend, I'm didn't learn anything new.  I'm took lots of naps and on Sunday, when I chose my clothes for the week, I hung the proper underclothes with them.  Obviously, my brain can't be trusted.

In dire times, Nutella is the go-to health restorative food of choice.  It only makes sense to make some form of Nutella cookies...

Easy Nutella Cookies
1 cup Nutella
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325°F.  Mix all ingredients together.  Scoop onto parchment covered cookies sheet.
Bake 6-10 minutes.
Makes 12 cookies

October 28, 2013   Daylight 8 hrs. 14 min. 43 sec.   Temp. H 43/ L 34°F

Friday, September 20, 2013

Nutella Hot Chocolate

It really amazes me the difference in weather in our country.  My friend, Suzanne, is in Colorado and her town is flooding.  You can read about her excitement at Front Range Fork and Cork.  My brother, in Kansas is "suffering" with 90+° weather.  The blond boy gets a cool 70° in San Diego and us, well, we get snow.

Yes, the white stuff made it's first appearance this week.  I didn't get all my yard work done, we need to put up some more wood, and the little dogs looked at me with the "You think I should go out in this stuff, what are you, crazy?"  I have to pick them up an put them outside or they hide under the hutch.  And my brother is complaining it is too hot.

So I needed something warm, comforting, and soothing.  You know, something that would help me forget that I have 9 months of this white stuff to look forward to.  What better way to drown your sorrows celebrate the first snowfall, than with Nutella hot chocolate.

This is the adult version, with whipped cream vodka.  Just leave it out for your younger set.  Since we don't have anyone under 21 at our house, it is adult beverages all the way around.  I make ours with almond milk because cow's milk is not our friend (or you don't want to be my friend after I've had cow's milk...I'm mean Dave, after Dave has had cow's milk.  Yea, that's right.).  Use what ever kind of milk you like.  My brother might want to wait a couple of weeks to drink this, but I'm already on my second cup and I'm feeling warmer with every sip.

Nutella Hot Chocolate
makes one drink
1 cup milk
1/4 cup Nutella, more to taste
pinch of salt
1 oz. whipped cream vodka
toppings of choice: marshmallows, whipped cream, etc.

In a small saucepan over med. low heat, add milk, Nutella and a pinch of salt.  Whisk until Nutella is completely dissolved into milk.  Heat until very hot but not boiling.  Remove from heat and add vodka.  Pour into cup and top with desired toppings.  Enjoy.
You can double, triple, or quadruple this recipe.

September 20, 2013   Daylight 12 hrs. 28 min. 26 sec.    Temp. H 30/ L 25°F

Monday, September 16, 2013

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with Nutella Mousse

It was was about 1986, it was my birthday and my boyfriend (actually he was my fiancé at the time), took me to dinner at a Chinese restaurant.  At the end of the meal our fortune cookies came.
Mine said, "Your luck will soon change."

On the ride home this boy I was madly in love with said, "I'm getting married in two months and not to you.  And, I want the ring back."

Yep, I'd say that was a change in luck...and I'm still trying to figure out if my luck changed for the better or for the worse?

I make it a rule never to eat chines and get fortune cookies on my birthday.

We had a friend over for her birthday.  It was a big one, the kind with a 0 at the end.  We grilled steaks and opened a great bottle of wine (or two) and I made chocolate-hazelnut cake with Nutella Mousse.  It was a special way to top off the evening, no fortunes required.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with Nutella Mousse
Cook like a Rock Star, Anne Burrell

For the Cake:
12 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 1/2 cups hazelnuts, toasted
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup hazelnut paste (I couldn't find this in Fairbanks, so I ground hazelnuts into butter and used that)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 tsp. baking powder
pinch of kosher salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 325ºF.  Butter and flour a 9 inch square pan.

In food processor pulse the hazelnuts until coarsely chopped.  Reserve.

In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar, hazelnuts paste, and vanilla.  Using an electric mixer, beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.

Add baking powder, salt, and cocoa, beat until combined.

Gradually add the flour, stopping the beater when it is just combined.  Fold 1 cup of chopped hazelnuts into the batter, reserving the rest for garnish.

Transfer the cake batter to the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake.

Let the cake cool for 10 minutes, remove cake from pan and let cool completely.

For the Mousse:

1 1/2 cups Nutella
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1 cup heavy cream, chilled

In a large mixing bowl, combine the Nutella and mascarpone.

In another large bowl, beat the heavy cream to soft peaks, use an electric mixer, trust me.

Add a spoonful of whipped cream to the Nutella mixture and stir until you don't see any streaks.
Using a rubber spatula, fold a third of the remaining whipped cream into the Nutella mixture.  Lift the mixture gently from underneath, bring the spatula up, turn it over and fold the mixture over as you rotate the bowl slowly.  You want to keep this fluffy and not squish all the air out of the whipped cream.  Repeat two more times with the remaining whipped cream.

To Assemble the Cakes:
Cut the cakes into 3" rounds and slice each round in half horizontally.

Pipe or spread Nutella mousse on the bottom half of the cake, where you cut it, sprinkle a few chopped hazelnuts, top with top half of cake, pipe or spread Nutella mousse on top, sprinkle with more hazelnuts.  Serve immediately.

September 16, 2013    Daylight: 12 hours, 54 minutes, 57 seconds   Temp: H 52/ L 28ºF

Monday, August 19, 2013

Oatmeal Cream Sandwich Cookies

I had very difficult pre-teen and early teen years, I know most of us did.  But, did you have braces, not such a big deal these days but back then yikes! And a mother who was obsessed with Afros?  Well, I did, and being the skinny white girl with braces and an get the picture.

We had to drive 30 minutes to the town with the orthodontist, there weren't a lot of choices in rural Kansas.  We would go to the "city" do some shopping and stop by a Woolworths lunch counter for a burger before my orthodontist's appt.  After the adjustment I usually went a couple of days eating only soup and pudding, so my mom wanted to get some meat into me before the fast.  One of the things I loved about this particular Woolworth is they had a bowl of individually wrapped cookies at each booth.  You ate what you wanted and then just told the waitress what you ate so she could add it to the bill.  I usually ate about 6 of the oatmeal cream sandwiches.  This was a time to load up, and my mom never once said anything about the quantity of cookies I was eating.  I loved those cookies.

While I have outgrown the braces and the afro, I have not outgrown my love of oatmeal cream sandwich cookies.  These are my grown up version with a soft oatmeal cookie and a Nutella-mascarpone filling.  The best part about these is I can eat them as often as I want and I don't have to suffer with a sore mouth after.  Now, this is a walk down memory lane I can live with, no afro required.

Oatmeal Cream Sandwich Cookies
adapted from Perfecting the Pairing
 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ¼ cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp salt
3 cups quick cooking oats

from Cook Like a Rock Star, Anne Burrell
1 1/2 cups Nutella
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1 cup heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl mix the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until well combined.  Add the eggs and vanilla, mix until completely combined.
In another large bowl mix the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  Combine with a whisk.  Stir in the quick cooking oats.  Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture in two batches until thoroughly combined.
Scoop the cookies onto the lined baking sheets.  Lightly wet the bottom of a juice glass and press down on the cookies to flatten them into a disc.  Bake 10-15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through.  Watch the cookies closely.  Remove from the oven when the edges start to brown but the middle is still slightly soft.  Allow to cool completely on racks.

Meanwhile combine Nutella and mascarpone in a large mixing bowl.  In another bowl beat the heavy cream to soft peaks.  Add a spoonful of the whipped cream to the Nutella mixture and stir until you don't see any streaks.  Using a rubber spatula, fold a third of the remaining whipped cream into the Nutella.  Repeat this process two more times with the remaining whipped cream.  
When cookies are cool spread frosting between two cookies.  Continue until you have sandwiched all of the cookies.  Refrigerate until ready to eat. 
*I would recommend filling the cookies on the day you will eat them.  Otherwise keep them separate.

August 19, 2013   Daylight 16 hrs. 3 min. 13 sec.   Temp. H 65/ L 49° F

Friday, November 2, 2012

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Nutella Buttercream

Dinner with good friends is always a wonderful event.  There is just something about eating, laughing, sharing stories and laughing with people who get you.  I love my monthly date with my friends.

We always bring a little gift or treat for each other.  This month  we received a shower aromatherapy ball (mine was grapefruit and lavender and I'm headed to the store for more), a chocolate hazelnut bar (YUM!), peppermint chap stick (perfect for this time of year), I took caramel corn, and Linda brought a flourless chocolate cake with Nutella buttercream.  Oh my, it was so good.  We sat right in the restaurant and ate it.  It was that good.

It is one of those treats that you don't need much to satisfy.  But boy, it is good (have I said that already?).  The fact that Nutella is one of the ingredients guarantees success.  So, if you are gluten free or not, this is the perfect dessert for something special or just something.  Make it.  I dare you not to dream about it, like I have been doing.

I had to make this cake this week.  It is the perfect cake to celebrate my one year blog birthday.  Who would have thought that I could ramble on for a whole year? (Well, anyone who knows me, knows I can go on and on and on...)  So, happy birthday to me and my little blog.  I hope you try this cake and have a piece to help me celebrate.  Let me know what you think about this little piece of deliciousness.  By the way, you're welcome.

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Nutella Buttercream
from my friend Linda

 - 1 pound bittersweet chocolate (I used Lindt 70% dark chocolate)
- 1/2 pound sweet butter
- 1/4 cup hazelnut liqueur
- 8 eggs
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
 Line 9" cake pan with parchment circle.  (I used a spring form pan)
Break chocolate into smaller pieces and put into microwave safe bowl with butter.  Melt in microwave on defrost level to prevent scorching, stirring every 2 or 3 minutes until completely melted and combined.  Add liqueur.
Whip eggs until doubled in volume.  Fold 1/3 eggs into chocolate until just streaks remain.  Repeat with next 1/3 and final third.
Pour into cake pan.  Insert pan into larger pan and place in oven.  Pour boiling water into larger pan until it reaches 1/2 up side of cake.
Bake for 22 - 25 minutes until cake has a thin glazed crust on top but remains jiggly.  (Should look like the film on cook and serve pudding)
Cool to room temperature.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerage overnight before frosting.
Nutella Buttercream:) happy
2 small jars or 1 large jar Nutella (approx. 26 oz.)
3 sticks sweet butter at room temperature
Mix well in blender, food processor or with mixer.
Decorate flourless cake with frosting.
**1/2 of recipe is plenty for the cake.  Even after decorating each of your pieces individually, I still have a good amount in a container in the freezer.**

Ahh, what to do with extra Nutella Buttercream you ask...what extra Nutella buttercream.

November 2, 2012     Daylight  7 hours, 39 minutes, 21 seconds     Temp. 8°F

Monday, October 15, 2012

Baked Nutella Doughnuts and Less than 10 hours of sunlight

So it has happened.  We are under 10 hours of daylight a day now, and losing about 6 1/2 minutes a day.  It's all downhill from here, the dark, the cold, the flannel pants, the cuddling by the fire...
Luckily, we have the holidays coming up and that keeps us entertained until after the new year.  We also have some fun things coming up, Jerry Seinfeld is coming to Fairbanks soon, we already have our tickets.  UAF hockey season has started, Dave will have snow to shovel, and I'm starting a mosaic of the sun for the back yard.

We really have to keep up our strength during the long, dark winters so I'm bulking up for winter and starting with baked Nutella Doughnuts.  As you know, Nutella makes everything better and everyone feel better.  If I'm not eating it by the spoonful, I'm adding it to anything I can, this is the perfect combination of warm, cakey doughnut and melty, soft Nutella.  My, these are so good, I can eat them all myself.  I got this recipe from the blog Gingerbread Bagels.  It is brilliant.

Baked Nutella Swirl Doughnuts
adapted from Gingerbread Bagels
(makes 12 doughnuts)
2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup buttermilk (at room temperature)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten and at room temperature
2 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 Tablespoons Nutella

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Sift the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and kosher salt into a large bowl. Mix it up.
Add in the buttermilk, eggs, melted butter and vanilla extract. Gently mix and fold everything together. Be careful to over mix the batter.
Put the batter into a piping bag fitted with a large round decorating tip.
Pipe the batter into a lightly greased doughnut pan.
Put 1/2 Tablespoon of Nutella on each top of each doughnut. (the batter)
Using a knife, swirl the Nutella around.
Bake the doughnuts at 425 degrees F for 9 minutes.
Remove the doughnuts from the pan and enjoy!

October 15, 2012     Daylight 9 hours, 40 minutes, 31 seconds     Temp. 24 ºF

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Nutella Meringue

It is amazing how good you feel after you've been sick!  I am not a sick person by nature, but last week I was thrown for a loop, or thrown loopy.  I got vertigo and the world spun around and around for about a week. (Dave says he has always known I was a little dizzy, now there is a medical diagnosis to go along with it)

Well, the spinning is gone, I'm back on my feet and to celebrate, I drank champagne and made Nutella Meringues.  You just can't get any better than that.  

I have decided that these are true health food.  Meringues are basically egg whites and a little sweetener.  Egg whites are good protein.  Nutella states in the advertising that is a healthy...and I believe everything I hear in commercials so protein and a healthy chocolate/hazelnut addition.  How can you go wrong?  If nothing else, when I eat these crispy, chewy meringues I am happier and that is good for anyone's health.

Nutella Meringues
from Cream Puffs in Venice
Yields 15 to 20 meringues (depends on how big you make them)
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
a pinch of cream of tartar
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon, granulated sugar
1/4 cup Nutella
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Make sure you have one oven rack in the bottom third of your oven and one in the upper third of your oven.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Set up a double boiler (a pot with another pot on top or a heat-proof bowl on top) and put the Nutella in the top of the double boiler. Warm the Nutella through and then set aside while you make the meringue. (You could warm the Nutella in a microwave but I don’t own one so you’re on your own if you do use one.) Let the Nutella cool as you make the meringue.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, place the egg whites. Beat on medium-high speed until they are completely foamy.
Add the cream of tartar and the salt and continue whipping at medium-high speed until when you lift the whisk attachment, soft peaks form. This should take a few minutes.
Once you have reached the soft peak stage, increase the speed to high and begin adding the sugar a few spoonfuls at a time (this should take a few minutes).
Once all the sugar is in, the meringue should be very thick (almost stiff) and when you left the whisk firm peaks should remain.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and drop in all the Nutella. With a rubber spatula, gently fold the Nutella into the meringue three or four times. You’re aiming for a swirled effect so don’t overmix. This will also help avoid deflating the meringue.
Using two spoons, drop the meringue onto the parchment-lined baking sheets in large dollops.
Place in the oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, immediately lower the heat to 200 degrees F. and rotate the trays. Bake for an hour.
After an hour, check the meringues. If they are completely dried out then turn the oven off and leave the meringues in the oven for a few hours to cool with the oven. If the meringues still look a bit “wet”, then continue baking for another 20 minutes or so. Either way, once fully baked, turn off the oven and leave the meringues in there for a few hours.
When you remove the meringues from the oven they should be completely dry and cool and will sound hollow when you tap the bottoms.
The meringues will keep in an airtight container for a week.

August 15, 2012     Daylight  16 hours, 29 minutes, 1 second   Current Temp: 67ºF

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Banana cake with Nutella and Hazelnuts

I was in a bad mood, a really bad mood.  The kind where my husband stays outside to split wood even though it is 15 below and a 25 mile an hour wind and when the bad mood was not his fault (well, maybe a little bit). Even the dogs stayed by the back door and weren't underfoot. There was only one thing to do.  Open the Nutella and get a spoon.  About half way though the first spoonful, I spied the very ripe bananas on the counter and decided I needed a warm from the oven banana cake.  And why not add some nutella?  And I think I have a handful of hazelnuts left-over in the freezer.  So, this cake was born, my mood improved with the warm smell of banana and chocolate baking in the oven, and my husband thought it safe to come inside.  It turned out to be a good night after all.

Banana cake with Nutella and Hazelnuts
  adapted from Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?

3 very ripe bananas
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra large eggs, room temp
1/2 cup greek yogurt or sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
grated zest of 1 orange
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baing soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
1 cup Nutella

Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Grease and flour a 9 X 2-inch round cake pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the bananas, granulated sugar and brown sugar on low speed until combined.  With the mixer still on low, add oil, eggs, yogurt, vanilla and orange zest.  Mix until smooth.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.  With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients and mix just until combines.  Stir in the chopped hazelnuts.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Drop spoonfuls of Nutella over the top.  Take a knife and swirl the Nutella through the batter. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, turn out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

January 29, 2012     Daylight   hours,   minutes,   seconds     Current Temp. -40 ºF