World Nutella Day is Here *drools*

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Cooking, ExperiMENTAL

First off, let me start by saying, “WTF!?!? Nutella wasn’t in my user dictionary? Suck it, me!”. Now added, I can continue:

Today is World Nutella Day. If you don’t know what Nutella is, don’t fret. It’s simply hazelnuts, ground up until spreadable, like peanut butter, with milk and cocoa added for tasty measure.

My loyal friend, Chaos, ever at my side these days, has prevented me from doing the baking I wanted to do. Playing catch-up on everything that slipped since I have been laid up, means that I can’t bake today. My solution: The jar I bought will just have to fit into my day, however it may. It’s a Holy Day in my calendar, and this year I choose to honor it in restful contemplation. I’ll still experiment, but on a far smaller scale than the previous two years.

I raise my spoonful of Nutella to those who honor this day as I do: By indulging to my heart’s content to this most exquisite gift from what must be from the fairy realms in Belgium.  Ok, so the spoonful didn’t last this long, but I raise it in spirit, my friends.

Enjoy!
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Previous posts from 2011 are viewable here. 
And, apparently, I never blogged about last year’s fun. May have to remedy that soon. I’ve got some pix around here somewhere…

 

World Nutella Day: The Reckoning

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Anti-Health, Chooch, Cooking, Dessert Hacks, ExperiMENTAL, Friends

Events were such that we actually cracked open the Nutella tub on Friday night. I baked some yummy vegan brownies (Thanks, Andrea!) to take to Chooch‘s band practice. (He’s the super sexy bassist for Ditched By Kate, dontchaknow!) While I’ve had these brownies before, I’d never made them so I took the Nutella as insurance against failure. Sure, Nutella isn’t vegan, but I didn’t spread it on the brownies. Rather I just set it beside the brownies for folks to use if they liked. Needless to say, the pan was empty before we left for home and the Nutella was a hit.

Too few hours later, World Nutella Day had officially started so I broke my fast with Bloom bakery croissants that I lightly toasted in the oven. I spread Nutella on top and it was crispy, gooey and heavenly. I had hoped to make crepes or waffles, but just didn’t have time during this super-full weekend.

Lunch found us at a dear friend Grailwolf’s birthday party at Hard Times Cafe somewhere in Maryland (Chooch drove). I brought along my trusty tub of Nutella and cookies to set out for folks to enjoy. Lorna Doone’s were my favorite with Nutella, but the oatmeal chocolate chip and chocolate graham crackers were also enjoyed. It seems the hands down favorite was the Nilla Wafers, especially in the “Reverse Oreo” configuration that Andrea invented – Nutella sandwiched between two wafers.

At dinner (and after a tasty cocktail), I felt a bit more adventurous and decided to push the envelope of my pledge to incorporate Nutella into every meal. Pre-dinner nosh included blue tortilla chips, and being a lover of pretzel or potato chips with chocolate I couldn’t resist. It was pretty good, but nothing I’d specifically seek out. I have a feeling that Nutella covered pretzels would be much better and will be testing that theory at a later date.

During dinner itself, I mixed a small amount of Nutella in with fettuccine noodles. The noodles were un-sauced, and I’d enjoyed chocolate pasta in the past. It’s a bit odd, but as another carbohydrate-Nutella-delivery-system it served well.

I then pushed beyond the limits of decorum by spreading Nutella on garlic seasoned broccoli. Judge me all you like, but I was not alone in thinking it was not unpleasantly interesting.

I redeemed myself at dessert, having prepared a cupcake bar of sorts. Chocolate cupcakes, which I hollowed out the top for filling with a small variety – cherry preserves, Nutella (natch), banana slices, chocolate frosting and a last minute addition of peanut butter.  Several iterations were created, but my very favorite was a smidge of Nutella on a banana slice inside a cupcake with a thin layer of Nutella on top.

I’d say the day was a success, except that I got on the scales this morning and am dealing with a Reckoning of another sort.

Nutella Day (Don’t Judge Me)

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Anti-Health, Cooking, Cool Links / Clicky Linky, Weight Loss

I love Nutella. It’s a recent favorite, as I first tasted the insanely delicious chocolate and hazlenut spread about 6 or 7 years ago. If you haven’t tried it, think peanut butter, but sweeter and deeply chocolatey. In fact, it’s typically stocked next to peanut butter in the grocery store. It’s also pretty close calorie and fat-wise, but the sugar is much higher in Nutella than in peanut butter.

I occasionally buy a jar, but it’s a dangerous purchase since I’m the only one that likes it. Because I’m focusing on eating healthier I haven’t had it for awhile, and the craving has grown to obsession. Did I say obsession? I meant to say OBSESSION.

I’ve decided the only solution to purge this frantic desire is to have a Nutella free-for-all. One day where I can have as much Nutella as I want until I’m sickened at the sight of it. What? It could happen.

I’ve chosen this Saturday since my regular weigh-in day is Friday. That allows almost a week to undo all the damage a 20 ton vat of Nutella will do to my weight loss efforts.

I was debating writing this post in order to proclaim Saturday, February 5th as Viv’s Nutella Day and invite folks to indulge as I am. But I hesitated because big girls don’t like to trumpet their fatty-fatty-bo-batty indulgences. On a lark, I did a search and discovered that there is already an established Nutella Day. In fact, the 5th World Nutella Day is … wait for it … Saturday, February 5th! The same day I’m doing mine! How could I not post and encourage folks to join me?

So if you’re interested in this foolishness, you may enjoy the links I’m providing below:

World Nutella Day Website – includes links to 400 Nutella recipes and information.

World Nutella Day Twitter Account

World Nutella Day Facebook Page

Let me know in the comments if you’ll be indulging in any way on Saturday, as I’m curious to see who else is a fan of the sticky, dark deliciousness that *is* Nutella.

Now, does anyone know where I can find a 20 ton vat of Nutella?

Sopapillas, Finally

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Cooking

I’ve been wanting to master these for decades, the need heightened after making a few “sopapilla cheesecakes” and wanting something better than croissant rolls for the base of the dessert.

An opportunity arose and I’m taking it as  chance to take on two long-delayed nommies. The first, sopapillas. I hunted down this recipe in AllRecipes for sopapillas  and skimmed through the comments for potential issues. It had over 150 reviews with almost a complete 5 star rating. I’ve had great luck with their recipes in the past, so jumped in.

Because of carb doom lately, I only made a half batch to test and play with the techniques. The comments indicated that temperature was key at 375fahrenheit / 190celsius. Luckily, I had recently discovered my hot oil/candy thermometer. I bought the Crisco (I follow them to a “T” before making alterations to recipes.) and waited for the perfect window of moderate pain and empty kitchen and started in.

Batch A (on the left) rested for the recipe instructed 20 minutes, then rolled and cut with a pizza cutter (easier for my hands) and dropped in to the waiting oil at the perfect temp.

Batch B (on the right) was surprisingly easy to accomplish at the reviewer-recommended 45 minute dough resting time. I had finished Batch A and cleared the counters with time to spare for Batch B to start.

What I learned from my test:

  • I should have re-measured the temperature, I believe the oil was too hot at the end of both fry batches.
  • A wider pan would have been awesome. I could only do 4 at a time of the approximately 2″ x 2″ squares in the medium pot I was using. I dream of the giant 5″ x 3″ sopapillas of my favorite childhood restaurant, but I won’t ever bring myself to use that much oil for a sporadic-use recipe.
  • I’d dust each piece before dropping it in the oil. I ended up with the blechhhh of brown burned bits in the oil. Not cool, man. Not cool.
  • After the dough is dropped in, it sinks to the bottom. As it cooks, it rises, on its own, to the surface. It seems that the more surface exposed to the air, the more it would expand, or pillow out further. A few tests proved this to be true. The few that look circular are the ones I played the most with this effect the most.
  • I am also testing how they old up to storage, since the next batch will be made Saturday. 
  • Alongside another dessert, this half batch made PLENTY. So, a complete fresh dessert for $4 for honey, $4 for Nutella (World Nutella Day is NOT a weekend!), 2 cups of flour, 1/2 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of baking-something, 2 quarts of frying oil (although I’ll make use of this for other things, once I strain off oil through a cheesecloth).

I plan on inserting the recipe to prevent a frequent problem I am running in to, dead links. I’ll try and insert an image of the recipe here, if I can catch hubby’s eye for a few minutes. You can find the link above.

 

EDIT, before going in to make the final batch:
Note: I hated the oil flavor on the sopapillas so am switching from canola to coconut. Healthier anyways and I got a vat of the good stuff on sale at Costco. (Marry me, Costco!) Also, I’ll be putting the sopapillas directly ON the paper towels this time to drain. Every little bit of oil removing absorption. NECESSARY!