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nutella

Baking

Banana Bread with swirls of Nutella

slices of nutella swirl banana bread

I made so much nutella the other day, I didn’t think we would ever finish it. So, I decided to make this Banana Bread. And who doesn’t love banana bread with chocolate chips and swirls of Nutella!

nutella swirl banana bread on a plate

I have made loads and loads of banana bread ever since I was a teenager. When I was 17, I won a contest for banana bread in our local newspaper. The prize was kitchen flooring which my parents really loved. I really wanted the silver tea set that the person one down from me won, but c’est la vie. My parents were happy.

slices of nutella swirl banana bread

This quick bread has it all; moistness from the bananas; just enough sweetness from white and brown sugars and nutty aromas from the browned butter. And if you slice it up while it’s still warm, the nutella and milk chocolate chips will be warm and molten. Double yum!

This bread is also a great way to use up bananas that are over ripe. This can happen especially quick in the summer. Blackened bananas freeze very well. I used to freeze bananas in their skin. And that technique works just fine, but then you have to thaw them to get the skin off. So, now I peel the overly ripe bananas, chop them up and place them in a freezer bag. And I always label the date and how many bananas are in the bag. So helpful down the road when I pull them out to use them.

I made this bread with browned butter to amp up the flavour components. I have instructions in a previous post on how to brown butter, if you have never done that. It’s really easy, by the way!

slices of nutella swirl banana bread

This banana bread is absolutely delicious on its own. You don’t need to add butter or anything. I think it’s absolutely delicious on it’s own. It would be fantastic with a large mug of a spicy herbal tea or a chai latte. So good!

Enjoy!

Print Recipe
Serves: 2 loaves Cooking Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 3 very very ripe bananas, mashed or pureed
  • 1 cup butter (browned)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1 cup white spelt flour
  • 1 cup oat flour (whole oats pulverized in your food processor)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup plain unsweetened yogurt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup nutella (warmed)

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2

Line two loaf tins with parchment paper.

3

Brown the butter (see instructions above).

4

Add sugar to browned butter.

5

Once the egg and butter mixture has cooled, add in the eggs, vanilla, yogurt and bananas.

6

In a separate large bowl, stir together the flours and baking soda.

7

Add butter and sugar mixture to dry ingredients.

8

Stir all ingredients together until mixed.

9

Add chocolate chips.

10

Add about 1/4 of the mixture into each loaf tin.

11

Spread 1/4 cup of the warmed nutella down the centre. Swirl with a butter knife.

12

Add the rest of the batter overtop of the nutella. Then spread another 1/4 cup of the nutella on the top. Swirl with a butter knife, mixing the batter with the nutella.

13

Bake in the oven for about 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.

14

Let it cool in the loaf tins for about 10 minutes. Then remove from the loaf tins and cool on a rack.

Notes

These loaves freeze very well. If freezing, dont forget to label the package with the date and the name of the bread. Use within 3 months.

Baking

Orange Nutella Alfajores

raw dough for orange nutella alfajores

I have wanted to make alfajore cookies ever since I first heard about them. Their common description of being a melt-in-the-mouth cookie sandwiched together with dulce de leche just seemed heavenly. And they are.

Alfajores Cookies are one of the simplest cookies to make. They are made from just a handful of ingredients; flour, cornstarch, butter, sugar and egg. And they are ready in a jiffy.

The first batch of alfajores that I made was sandwiches together with dulce de leche. Dulce de leche, for those that are not familiar with this unctious spread, is caramelized milk. It is made by baking milk in a low oven for several hours, until it is thick, golden and sweet. You can buy it from Latin American shops, or make your own. Although I always buy mine.  With Valentine’s Day approaching, I wanted a chocolate filling. I added orange zest to the cookie dough, sandwiched them together with Nutella, and Orange Nutella Alfajores were born. And I must say it is a heavenly match.

You can use store-bought Nutella for the filling. Or if you have time, try my recipe for Nutty Chocolate Hazelnut Spread. It is divine.

Alfajores cookies have been popular in Uruguay, Peru and Argentina since the mid 1800’s. Common fillings in alfajores are dulce de leche, chocolate mousse, fruit spreads or whipped cream. Toppings include meringue coating, milk chocolate, coconut or a sugar glaze.

I always find it interesting to read about similar foods in different parts of the world. The word alfajor comes from the Arabic “al-hasu”, which means filled or stuffed. Culinary experts have traced Alfajores to Andalusia, Spain during the occupation by the Moors. There is a strong similarity between alfajores and mamoul, a buttery confection filled with date paste that is popular in the Middle East and North Africa. I can’t wait to make a batch of those.

orange nutella alfajores

Alfajores are so popular in Peru and Argentina, that there are chain restaurants that only sell alfajores. Casa del alfajor is one such chain in Peru. There is also Havanna, in Argentina, which has been around since 1947.

Try making a batch. You will love them!

Orange Nutella Alfajores

Print Recipe
Serves: 18 Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 200 gram flour
  • 300 gram corn starch
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 250 grams softened butter
  • 150 grams sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp brandy
  • zest from one orange
  • nutella (store bought or my own - see above)

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

2

Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

3

Mix together flour, corn starch and baking powder and soda.

4

Cream together butter, sugar and orange zest for 5 minutes, until pale and fluffy.

5

Add the egg yolks and brandy to the butter mixture.

6

Add in the flour mixture.

7

Mix briefly until well incorporated.

8

Roll out dough until about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out cookies with cutter about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

9

You can place them relatively close together, as they will not spread.

10

Bake for about 10 minutes, only until slightly golden around the edges.

11

Cool on baking tray for 5 minutes, then place them on a cookie rack to cool.

12

Sandwich them together, when they are cold, with nutella.

Preserves

Nutty Chocolate Hazelnut Spread Recipe

Roasted Hazelnuts for Nutty Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Nutella!!! This infamous blend of chocolate and hazelnuts not only tastes amazing, but also has quite a lot of history behind it.

World Nutella Day

World Nutella Day is February 5th and was created by Food blogger, Sara Rosso in 2007 to help celebrate this popular treat. She handed the reins of World Nutella Day over to Ferroro in 2015.

I have wanted to make my own chocolate hazelnut spread for quite some time now. This week seemed appropriate with World Nutella Day and Valentine’s Day so close together.

Why make Homemade Nutella?

I love store bought Nutella. But, like most food items, I prefer to make my own: I can use the best chocolate, sweeten it slightly with a small amount of local honey, and use fresh organic hazelnuts. It is also possible to use a variety of nuts, if you prefer.

This Nutty Chocolate Hazelnut Spread is made up of roasted and skinned whole hazelnuts, dark and milk chocolate, honey, milk and milk powder. You can alter the percentage of hazelnuts to suit your taste. This recipe contains 26% hazelnuts, Nutella contains about 13% and some places in Italy use as much as 50% hazelnuts. So, you can make it as nutty as you like.

How easy is it to make Nutella?

My recipe for this Chocolate Hazelnut Spread is so easy to make. All you need to do is roast and grind some hazelnuts, melt some chocolate, heat some milk mixed with powdered milk and honey and then blend them all together.

Store-bought Nutella is nice, but we really love our homemade version. It is nuttier, darker and less sweet than store bought. You can adjust the percentage of nuts, as well as the type of chocolate used.  You will never get the hazelnuts as pureed and smooth as in store bought Nutella, but we actually prefer the crunchy texture.

Can I use other nuts?

If you find hazelnuts too strong, you can substitute part of them with skinned almonds, or macadamia nuts. Make sure you remove the skin from the hazelnuts and/or almonds. It’s not imperative to remove all of the skins, but try to get as much off as possible, as the skins will add a bitter taste.

When you put your nuts in your food processor, try to grind them as finely as possible. Homemade Nutella will not be as fine as store bought. But you will really be able to taste the roasted nuts and heavenly chocolate. That’s the joy of homemade!

bowl of melted chocolate for Nutty Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

This Nutty Hazelnut and Chocolate Spread is a blend of dark and milk chocolate. You can adjust the amounts of each chocolate, as long as the total weight stays the same. My version has some small chunks of hazelnut in each bite. So nutty!

Nutty Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Besides being so amazingly tasty, the combination of hazelnuts and chocolate has an amazing history.

History of Nutella

In Italy, the combination of chocolate and hazelnuts is called Gianduja. Gianduja was created over 200 years ago during Napoleon’s regency in Turin, Italy in the Piedmont area.

In 1806, Napoleon imposed the Continental System, which prevented British goods from entering European harbours under French control. This created a shortage in cocoa, which was devastating to chocolatiers.

In Turin, a chocolatier, whose chocolate supplies were low, began mixing his chocolate with ground hazelnuts, which are plentiful in this area of Italy. The name Gianduja is named after a popular Carnival marionette that is an archetype of the Piedmontese.

One hundred and fifty years after this crazy time for chocolate lovers, chocolate became expensive and scarce again due to the rationing in Europe during World War II. Pietro Ferrero was a pastry maker in Italy and in 1946 created Pasta Gianduja. His original version was formed into a loaf which was sliced and eaten on bread. In 1949, he accidentally added cocoa butter, which made it soft and easy to spread. It was renamed Nutella in 1964.

I hope you enjoy this Nutella recipe!

Buon Appetito

Nutty Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Print Recipe
Serves: 12-16 Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 240 grams dark chocolate
  • 150 g milk chocolate
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 300 grams 2% milk
  • 50 grams milk powder
  • 150 grams hazelnuts

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2

Roast hazelnuts on an ungreased cookie sheet for about 10 minutes, do not burn. When they are fragrant and the skins seem loose, they are ready to take out.

3

Rub the warm hazelnuts in a clean tea towel, until most of the skins have rubbed off.

4

Add the hazelnuts to the food processor and grind until fine.

5

Warm the milk with the honey and powdered milk.

6

Melt the chocolate in the microwave. I melted it at 30 second internals, stirring in between. Do not overheat, or it will burn and you will not be able to use it.

7

Add the warm milk, and chocolate to the hazelnuts in the food processor.

8

Combine until everything is mixed together.

9

Scrape into a clean container.

10

Keep in the refrigerator for one week.