Nutella Crackles

Nutella Crackle Cookies

Nutella Crackle Cookies

Does the thought of Nutella make you swoon?  It does me.  I love the stuff, but I tend to forget about it hiding there in the back of the cupboard.  Then when I see the jar it’s like meeting up with an old friend, picking up just where we left off.  You might say we have an “on and off” relationship.

Wouldn't you like to taste one?

Wouldn’t you like to taste one?

I had that same reaction when I saw George Clooney recently in the movie, The Descendants.  He was so good in that role.  I had forgotten how much I like him, until I saw him again.  The same for Rosemary Clooney,  she is one of my all-time favorite singers.  There is nobody who can make you feel a song like she could, and I love to dance to her music.  It’s so romantic, dreamy, jazzy, and cool.  Isn’t it odd that I have such strong feelings for the two of them?  They both make me swoon. You could say that I get swooney for Clooney.  Did you know that Rosemary was George’s aunt?  Yes, his father’s sister.  Such a talented family.

Likewise, just a taste of Nutella is all it takes to make me swoon for it and want to create something sinfully delicious.  I think this recipe for Nutella Crackles has what it takes on all counts:  crispy sugary exterior, crunchy with nuts;  a surprisingly chewy interior, the perfect blend of hazelnuts and chocolate.  Try them, you might get “swooney”, too.

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NUTELLA CRACKLES

YIELD:   about 4 dozen cookies

INGREDIENTS

Beat up the Nutella, butter and sugar.

Beat up the Nutella, butter and sugar.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 – 1/4 cup Nutella spread
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 – 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon instant expresso powder
  • 2 large eggs,
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 – 1/2 cups hazelnuts, chopped fine
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1.  Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

2.  With electric mixer on medium speed, beat Nutella, butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add vanilla, expresso powder, and eggs and mix until incorporated.  Reduce speed to low.  Add flour mixture and milk, and mix until just combined.  Fold in 2/3 cup hazelnuts.   Refrigerate dough until firm, about 1 hour.

3.  Preheat oven to 375*F.  Line baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper.

4.  Place remaining hazelnuts in a shallow bowl. Place confectioners’ sugar in another shallow bowl.   One at a time, roll dough into 1-inch balls, roll in nuts, then in confectioners’ sugar.  Place balls 1 1/2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.  Refrigerate the first sheet while preparing the next sheet.  Bake the first sheet and all others for approximately 8 minutes.  As each sheet is baking, chill one while you make up the next.

Cooling Cookies.

Cooling Cookies.

5.  Transfer to wire cooling racks to cool completely.  Repeat with all dough.

Crispy, chewy, deliciousness

Crispy, chewy, deliciousness

SOURCE:  Taste of Home Baking

Banana-Chocolate-Hazelnut French Toast

I don’t know why, but when I’m on vacation, I really enjoy having breakfast out.  Eating something rather sumptuous  that I didn’t make is such a treat.   Even coffee made by someone else tastes extra special to me.  Well, one recent weekend, I found that I had some ripe bananas that needed to be eaten or used, and at the same time an almost empty jar of chocolate-hazelnut spread.  Normally, I would have had a teaspoon in that jar in a  split second, eating the last of it right off the spoon,  but just in the nick of time I remembered once on vacation when I ordered “Stuffed French Toast”.  The filling was sliced bananas and peanut butter.  It was delicious, and I ate every last crumb.  I thought to myself, if peanut butter was so good , well then, hazelnut spread with chocolate must be as good or better, wouldn’t you agree?

So I tried it out and  yep, I was right!  If you have kids at your house I feel pretty sure they will like this, in fact kids of all ages will like it.  Pair this dish with a bowl of mixed fresh fruits to round out the meal.

Let me also add that in spite of the fact that the recipe may at  first sound high calorie, it really isn’t because I use skim milk, no butter, only 2 eggs (and  you could use egg-beaters instead to further lower cholesterol and calories) and  I get in some fiber by using whole-grain bread.  The recipe serves 4, and the calorie total as I make it comes to somewhere between 360-380 calories.  That’s less than 1/3 of a 1200 calorie diet.  A serving consists of 3 triangles of the stuffed toast, dusted with powdered sugar.  It is quite filling; you feel like you’ve had a special treat.

INGREDIENT LIST:

  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 slices whole grain bread
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons chocolate-hazelnut spread ( such as Nutella)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced banana
  •  2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons powdered sugar
  1.  Combine first 5 ingredients in a shallow dish.
  2. Spread each of 3 bread slices with 1 1/2 tablespoon chocolate hazelnut spread; arrange 1/3 of the banana slices on each slice of bread.  Top sandwiches with remaining 3 bread slices.
  3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Working with one sandwich at a time, place into egg mixture, carefully turn over to coat other side and then place into pan. Cook sandwiches about 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.
  4. Cut each sandwich into 4 triangles.  Place 3 triangles attractively on each plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Garnish with fruit or serve with a cup of mixed fruits.

SOURCE:  This is a riff on someone else’s recipe. I can’t take credit for this one, although I did modify it to be more diet friendly.