Nutella Cream Puffs

Nutella Cream Puffs

Nutella Cream Puffs

Today I thought I would dazzle you with these decadent cream puffs.  Really, who can be good all the time?  I just couldn’t help myself when I found this recipe.  They are so delicious!   It just wouldn’t be fair to make them and not share them with all of you.   I think these would make the perfect dessert for Easter dinner.

Creamy Nutella filling with a rich chocolate glaze.

Creamy Nutella filling with a rich chocolate glaze.

Cream puffs are not a dessert that I make on a regular basis; more likely for special occasions. I’d almost forgotten how much I love baking choux–the way it magically puffs in the oven, creating a secret hiding place for a rich filling. The pastry itself is very simple and the Nutella whipped cream couldn’t be easier.  You can substitute any cream filling or pudding if you would like. This is one of those desserts that looks like you spent hours making it and is super complicated, but instead is incredibly easy.  This is a dessert that can be made over two days, though it doesn’t need to take that long.  The first day I like to leisurely make the paté choux, and the next day I’ll make the filling and frosting.

The puffs, though easy to make, do need ample time in the oven to puff up.  Give them the full time allotted and don’t open the oven door until they are fragrantly eggy and golden.

 

NUTELLA CREAM PUFFS

Yield:  12 to 14 puffs

Ingredients:

For the pastry:IMG_7005

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 tsp. salt (only if using unsalted butter)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 eggs

For the whipped cream:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup Nutella

For the chocolate drizzle:

  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil or shortening

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400*F.    Bring the water, salt and butter to boil over medium high heat, and stir occasionally.  At the boil,  remove from heat and sift in flour, stirring until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball.  Stir with a wooden spoon 1 minute to cool a little.  Add eggs one at a time, stirring well after each one, until the mixture is smooth and satiny.

2.  Drop scoops of dough ( or pipe rounds for smooth even puffs) onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone liner.  Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the puffs are golden and puffed up.  Puffs are done when they are hollow inside.  Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack to cool.

Baked puffs, nicely browned.

Baked puffs, nicely browned.

3.  While puffs are cooling, whip the cream using a stand mixer or hand mixer.  When the cream forms soft peaks beat in the powdered sugar until combined.  Add the Nutella and beat until light and fluffy.  Cut cooled puffs in half horizontally and fill with whipped cream.

4.  To make the drizzle, add the chocolate chips and coconut oil (or shortening) to a microwave safe bowl.  Heat at 50% power for one minute and stir.  Continue heating for thirty second intervals at 50% power until melted and smooth.  Pour the chocolate into a ziploc bag or piping bag and cut a small piece off the corner of the bag.  Drizzle over the filled cream puffs.  Store cream puffs in the refrigerator.

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SOURCE:   Chocolatier Magazine

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.