It’s the most wonderful time of the year…February 5th is World Nutella Day! Truly my favorite holiday. But how did this all come about, you ask? OK maybe you didn’t ask, but I’m going to tell you anyway.
Picture this…the year is 1946…World War II has ended but throughout Italy there is a shortage of cocoa. So Pietro Ferrero, a baker from Piedmont, combines hazelnuts and sugar with just a little cocoa to create a sweet paste. He shapes it into a loaf that could be sliced and then served on bread. He names it ‘Giandujot’ after a famous local carnival character at the time.
Five years later, he transforms this paste into a new product that is easier to spread. This spread is called SuperCrema and is the ancestor of Nutella. It wasn’t until 1964 that Pietro Ferrero’s son, Michele improves the recipe and creates the first-ever jar of Nutella. Since then it has been a staple of European breakfasts and now finally American ones.
In 2007, as America was finally embracing this amazing creation (honestly, what took so long), Sara Rosso, a fellow food blogger, named Febraury 5th World Nutella Day. A day to spread the love (pun intended) by sharing Nutella recipes, Nutella memories and Nutella anecdotes and to introduce people to the spread (as if there is anyone who hasn’t heard of it yet).
Every year I make a Nutella dessert to mark the occasion. This year my contribution is Nutella Brownies. I don’t know about you, but I can’t get enough brownies. My past recipes included Flourless Nutella Cake and Nutella-Stuffed Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt. How will you mark the holiday?
- 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (6 ounces)
- ¾ cup nutella (8 ounces)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup sugar
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar
- 1½ cups plus 2 tablespoons flour mix B
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup hazelnuts (5.25 ounces)
- Position the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Line a 9 x 12 pan with 2 sheets of parchment paper in a crisscross pattern. Make sure the paper overhangs the edges of the pan so you can easily lift out the brownies when they are done. Grease the paper.
- Arrange the hazelnuts in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. Leave the oven on. Tip: I prefer already blanched or skinless hazelnuts, however, if you can't find them, no problem. After the nuts are roasted and still hot, wrap some in a kitchen towel and rub them between your fingers. The skins will come right off!
- Melt the butter in either a medium bowl set over simmering water or in the microwave.
- Stir in the Nutella and mix until thoroughly combined. Set aside. Tip: This requires quite a bit of stirring.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and sugars. Whisk until thoroughly combined and there are no lumps of sugar.
- Whisk in the Nutella and melted butter into the egg mixture.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 ½ cups of the flour mix, the baking powder, and salt. Add to the wet ingredients and whisk robustly for at least one minute. Tip: This vigorous whisking helps combine the gluten-free flours into the batter. It’s what makes the brownies nice and fudgey.
- Take ½ cup of the browned hazelnuts and chop them coarsely. Tip: I did it the old fashioned way by putting them in a plastic bag and crushing them with a rolling pin. However, you can chop them with a knife or put them in a food processor.
- Toss the chopped hazelnuts and chocolate chips in a medium bowl with 2 tablespoons of flour, then fold them into the chocolate batter. Pour into the prepared pan. Tip: View a video on How to Fold an Ingredient into your Batter.
- Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of whole hazelnuts on top of the batter.
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Do not overbake! They are done when there is a slight crust on the top but your finger still makes an impression. Cool thoroughly on a rack, refrigerate, and cut into 12 or 18 pieces.
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