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With the festive season closing in, I felt it was time for me to revisit my cookie repertoire in search of something festive to kick start my Christmas baking. The heavenly Nutella and hazelnut combination in this soft textured cookie from Bake or Break may remind you of a Ferrero Rocher minus the hazelnut centre. It looks good in any Christmas hamper when packed in clear cellophane bags with a fancy ribbon. Its rugged nutty appearance makes sure this cookie has a distinctive ‘homemade’ look that conveys the feeling of extra effort and love to the recipient.

NUTELLA HAZELNUT CRINKLE COOKIES

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups finely chopped hazelnuts

180g Nutella hazelnut spread

1/4 cup butter or shortening

1/3 cup white granulated sugar

1/3 cup light muscovado sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon kitchen salt

3 tablespoons full cream milk

Sifted confectioner’s sugar

Method:

  • Toast chopped hazelnuts in shallow pan at 350 degree in oven for about 5 minutes until fragrant.

  • Next, beat together Nutella and butter or shortening. Gradually add the sugars and then add eggs.

  • Stir in vanilla extract. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add to the Nutella mixture.

  • Alternate with milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stir in 1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts.

  • At this point, put the dough in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to make it easier to work with.

  • Shape into 1-inch diameter balls. Roll in finely chopped hazelnuts, then in the confectioner’s sugar.

  • The cookies should be placed about 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheets or lined baking sheets.

  • Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Cool on wire racks. Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Let the Festive Mood Begin!

Warm Nutella crêpes with fresh strawberries and toasted almonds… if only I could wake up to this on every cold winter morning!

STRAWBERRY NUTELLA CREPES

Ingredients:

2 large eggs, room temperature

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1 1/4 cup full cream milk

1 cup all purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar

Nutella hazelnut spread

200g fresh strawberries

50g almond flakes, toasted

Method:

  • In a medium sized bowl, combine eggs, melted butter, milk, water, flour and sugar. Whisk together until well combined.
  • Refrigerate the mixture for about 30 minutes to allow bubbles to settle. Preheat a medium frying pan over medium heat.

  • Transfer the mixture to a measuring cup. It should be almost 2 cups worth of batter. Grease the frying pan lightly with oil.
  • Once the pan is hot, pour 1/4 cup of batter into the pan. Immediately roll the pan in a circular motion to thin out the crêpe.

  • Crêpes should be very thin, not thick like a pancake. Cook the crêpe for about a minute to a minute and twenty seconds.
  • Then flip it over with a spatula. The crêpe should be a light golden brown before flipping, if not, give it a little more time.

  • Once flipped, cook for another minute and transfer to a serving plate. Repeat the process until you run out of crêpe batter.
  • Spray the pan each time before pouring batter for a new crêpe. Allow crêpes to cool slightly before spreading with Nutella.

  • Fold into quarters and spread a thin layer of Nutella over one quarter. Add a few thinly sliced strawberries over the Nutella.
  • Fold it up again, top with almond flakes and drizzle with some more Nutella. Repeat the process for each crêpe. Makes 15.

Strawberry Nutella Crêpes

Keep this one for lazy days when you do not want to be in the kitchen for more than 30 minutes. Mash the bananas, stir in the sugar, oil and yogurt [omit the egg if you want to go vegetarian] and fold in the dry ingredients, that should take no more than 15 minutes. Drop generous teaspoons of Nutella or any other chocolate spread on top and swirl through with a skewer before popping those beauties in the oven. Bake for another 15-20 minutes; you can tell they are done when your kitchen gets filled with the heavenly smell of banana and chocolate.

Taken from The Novice Chef, I replaced the white sugar with dark muscovado and added some whole wheat flour which made my batter way darker than it should have been. I tipped in a small cartoon of whipping cream to help with the texture and skipped the pecan nuts since I was too lazy to chop and toast them. The batter was just enough to fill my four mini muffin tins but I had to add another 10 minutes to the baking time before I could enjoy them as a teatime treat with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

BANANA & NUTELLA MUFFINS

Ingredients:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon table salt

1/2 cup over-ripe bananas, mashed

3 tablespoons light muscovado sugar

3 tablespoons dark muscovado sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup Nutella spread

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin pan with liners. In a medium bowl, whisk flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

  • In large bowl, whisk together mashed bananas and sugars. Beat in egg, vegetable oil, vanilla and cream till well combined.

  • Slowly whisk in the flour mixture, until there are no lumps. Fill tins half full. Top each with about 1 teaspoon of Nutella.

  • Use a toothpick to swirl it into the batter. Bake for 15- 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  • Serve warm or cool to room temperature on a rack. Store in an airtight container until ready to serve. Makes 18 muffins.

Banana & Nutella

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