Nutella is my nostalgia food. It’s elementary school lunch hours and afternoon snacks while watching cartoons. It’s one of those flavours that brings me back to my mom’s livingroom, sitting cross legged on the carpet with an extra special snack in front of me on the coffee table.
With my brother’s peanut allergy, Nutella was our peanut butter in the house. It was a quick fix sandwich and an easy way for my mom to get protein in me. To me, it tasted like chocolate. Chocolate for lunch. It made me feel like I was getting away with murder.
We later found out from the allergist that Justin was actually allergic to hazelnuts as well, and it wasn’t much safer for us to keep in the house than peanut butter.
Funny how those things go.
Because of Nutella and its frequent appearances during my childhood, hazelnuts are now one of my favourite nuts. Them and pecans. I think the only reason I don’t use hazelnuts as often as I do pecans are because of their skins. For some reason, the grocery store near me doesn’t sell whole hazelnuts, and only sells them chopped with the skins still on. This makes it very hard to get the skins off.
To get the skin off of hazelnuts, you toast them in a 350 degree F oven for about 10 minutes, and then rub them in a kitchen towel. However, when your nuts are already chopped, you no longer have just skins rubbing skins which makes the whole process much less efficient.
And by “less efficient” I mean that I almost always give up and add the hazelnuts to my baked goods when only about 50% are technically skinned. So if you have the opportunity to buy whole hazelnuts, make sure you do.
After all that nut rubbing (did I just say that?) the Nutella part is deliciously easy.
Just scoop, drop, mix.
And bam, lots of hazelnut flavour. I heart you, you jar of wonderfulness.
To make things feel even more easy, I like to purposely avoid mixing in the Nutella completely, so that there’s a bit of a swirl going on in the batter.
I love when being lazy also manages to make things a little more pretty.
The last step of these blondies is my favourite. The dollop.
What is a “dollop”? How much is this quantity? A tablespoon? A 1/4 cup? A gallon? I love a good dollop because you can make it whatever you need it to be. In this case, I took it to mean “as much Nutella as possible without making people think you’re a crazy Nutella fiend because they can’t find the blondie”.
I think in the original recipe, their dollop was the same size, but their blondie was 3 times as big. I think my ratio is clearly superior. On some of my blondies I believe the dollop was about a half inch thick.
Don’t judge me. Nutella is not only my childhood food, but a chocolate childhood food. That’s like a dollop of happiness.
Chocolate hazelnut happiness.
Adapted from Martha Stewart
- 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skins rubbed off with a kitchen towel, and chopped
- 1/4 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread, such as Nutella, plus more for serving (In total I used about half of one of the larger jars.)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Line with parchment paper. Butter parchment.
- Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Melt butter. Beat butter and sugar until combined. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour mixture, and stir until combined. Stir in hazelnuts and Nutella.
- Press dough into pan. Bake until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs, about 25 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes. Cut into squares. Dollop each blondie with additional Nutella.