April 15, 2011 § Leave a comment
Nutella is the ultimate happiness generator.
Imagine. You’re sitting in a chair at your kitchen table, a large jar before you, a spoon beside it. It’s been a long day. You place your hand over that plastic white top and twist, the cover effortlessly unscrewing and falling to the tabletop. Your head tilts forward and your eyes gaze into the chestnut-colored depths of the Nutella jar. Whiffs of chocolate and hazelnut swirl up, through the air and into your nostrils, overtaking your air streams and electrifying your mind. The spoon goes in, in, in, and around, around, around, happily twirling in viscous goodness. Your spoon comes out, and like a jet, zooms into your open mouth and onto your tongue. Your lips envelop the spoon and your eyes close. Everything else melts away. It’s just you and your ‘tella. What a magic moment.
Nutella was created in the 1940’s by Italian chocolatier Pietro Ferrero (delicious drugstore Ferrero Rocher, anyone?). During World War II, food rationing caused a scarcity in cocoa…which meant a shortage of chocolate. This was not acceptable. What to do? The Big Aha came to Ferrero: Hazelnuts, always in abundance in his native region of Piedmont, would be the perfect ingredient to add to cocoa and thus stretch out cocoa rations. Well, I guess we can trace Nutella back to cocoa shortages. Thanks, food stamps.
Here’s a delicate, crunchy Nutella confection that very much delivers.
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for rolling
1/3 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350º F.
- Spread oats on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl; stir in flours and salt.
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla extract and stir. Add dry oat mixture; beat until blended.
- Form dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until firm (about 2 hours).
- On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into one gigantic spread, about 1/8 inch thick, over a large sheet of parchment paper. While rolling, dust lightly with flour as needed.
- Move parchment paper, with cookie spread on top, to a baking pan.
- Bake until cookie dough spread is golden around edges, about 8-10 minutes.
- As SOON as you take sheet out of the oven, cut cookie dough length-wise, into strips approx. 1-2 inches thick, with a sharp, non-serrated knife. Next, do this horizontally so squares form. Perform this step as quickly as possible, as cookies harden fast.
inspired by Martha.