Post #374 The Chocolate Peanut Butter

May 27, 2015 at 11:05 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Years ago, I was traveling in Europe.  I can’t remember which country I was in, but the breakfast bar had small packages of a spread that was new to me.  It was made out of hazelnuts, cocoa, milk, and emulsifiers.  It was called Nutella.

Nutella 01

It had an interesting flavor of chocolate and hazelnuts, neither one overpowering the other.  Most of the locals spread it on bread or bagels.  I tried it; didn’t like it; ignored it from then on.  But I grabbed a couple to take home to my (now) ex-wife who liked it but wasn’t transported over the moon by it.

Fast forward a few years, and I’m the grocery store and there it was on the shelf!  I was tickled to see something from another part of the world showing up in my little corner of the world.  I pointed it out, and grabbed a small jar “just in case”.  Never opened it and tossed it years after its sell-by date had passed.

Nutella 02

I’ve been seeing a lot of this around recently.  When I would babysit the kids back in Arizona, when asked what they wanted for lunch, invariably the reply was “Chocolate peanut butter.”  I knew what they meant but I didn’t have any of it.

There’s one recipe that sounds intriguing.  It’s for breakfast, but I imagine it would work any time as long as you gave it time to “cook”.  Take an empty jar of Nutella that has the “scrapings” left on the sides and bottom and add 1/2 a cup of oats and 1/2 a cup of water or milk.  Seal tightly and leave in the fridge overnight.  The next morning, remove the lid and stir.  The Nutella is absorbed into the oats and gives it a chocolaty flavor.  You can add fruits and nuts for variety.  If you want it warm, microwave for sixty seconds before adding anything to it.

If you’re a crepe fan, Nutella makes a good spread.  When I was in Paris, there were street vendors selling crepes.  One of the most popular was a crepe spread with Nutella and wrapped around a banana.  One of my colleagues was so addicted to these, he once said he ate so many his teeth hurt.

One dessert that Nutella seems to be made for is the Crepe Cake, the Mille Crepe Cake.  Crepes are thin pancakes made from a very thin batter.  When done properly, they are almost see through.  They are much larger that regular pancakes, taking up the entire surface of the pan.  Several are needed per person.  They can be made in advance and refrigerated or frozen.  For this recipe you’ll need 18-24 crepes, a jar of Nutella, a jar of raspberry jam, and some fresh raspberries.

On a large plate, place a crepe down and spread a thin layer of Nutella.  Place another crepe on top and spread a thin layer of raspberry jam.  Continue stacking and spreading until all the crepes are used.  On the final layer, spread a thin layer of Nutella and dot raspberry jam around.  Place a fresh raspberry in each dot.  Chill for a couple of hours, then serve with whipped cream.

chocolate mille crepe cake

It’s said that Nutella can be used in brownies, or in French Croissants making a version of Pain au Chocolat.  It can be used as a cupcake filling, or a swirl in a marble cake.  You can add butter and powdered sugar to it to make an icing for cakes.  You can make thumbprint cookies and fill them with Nutella instead of jam.  You use it as filling for sandwich cookies, or dipping for dipped cookies.

Since Nutella is sweet, it lends itself most likely for desserts.  But it can be drizzled over popcorn.  You can dip bacon in it.  You can add a small amount to your favorite chili rub and blend well, and use it on meats to be grilled or roasted.  You can even add it to hot milk and make a form of hot chocolate, to which you can add spirits and make a hot toddy.

As I said, I’m not a big fan of the stuff, but it’s popularity world wide cannot be denied.  So try it, if you haven’t, and have a good time with it!

Enjoy

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