It’s World Nutella Day – Nutella Brownies

It’s World Nutella Day – Nutella Brownies

Nutella Brownies

It’s World Nutella Day  sponsored by Ms Adventures in Italy, Bleeding Espresso, and World Nutella Day – there really is a day for everything!  In honor of Nutella, here is my nutella brownie recipe.

World nutella day

My daughter is also away at college and since she didn’t come home for spring break this year she was feeling neglected after finding out her brother and cousin got goodies.  She wanted brownies, so I decided to make “Nutella” brownies.  I took a good fudgie brownie recipe, added extra cocoa and swirled in Nutella, then dalloped more warm Nutella on top with some cherries.  After taste testing, my husband thought we should keep them for ourselves but he relented and off they went to Oklahoma.
Being the terrible mother than I am, I sent my son a picture of the brownies that went to his sister (I thought it was a good picture).  He said “so do I put the Nutella on myself  when they get here” after which I had to point out that I didn’t send him any.  Of course, today I’ll be making another batch, with extra’s for his roommate.  During one trip home, my son forgot his list of items he was supposed to pick up so asked his roommate to text it to him.  The last item on the list was “cookies for Roommate” as apparently he was also fond of the care packages.
Chocolate Fudge Nutella Brownies
2         cups   chocolate chips 

1         cup    butter (2 sticks)

1         cup    cocoa powder

2 1/2   cups   sugar

4                    large eggs

1      Tbs   pure vanilla extract 

1/8   tsp    salt

1      cup   unbleached white flour

1      cup   Chopped nuts (optional)

1      cup   Nutella

Procedure

1   Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2   Butter or spray and flour a 9 X 13 inch glass or non-stick baking pan.
3   Melt 1 cup chocolate chips and butter in microwave checking and stirring at 30 second intervals.
4   Add cocoa and sugar and stir until well mixed.
5   Add eggs, vanilla and salt and mix well.
6   Add flour and mix just until smooth. Do not over mix. This is also the time to add in the remaining chocolate chips and nuts if desired.
7   Pour into prepared pan.
8   Microwave 1 cup Nutella at 15 second intervals until pourable,  Pour over the batter using a large spoon to drizzle generously.
9   Swirl the Nutella in with a knife, drawing it lengthwise, then crosswise to make a nice design. 

Swirled Nutella

10Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until knife comes out clean.
11Cool for about 15 minutes, then spread desired amount of Nutella over warm brownies.  If you prefer you can wait until serving, then warm a little Nutella and put a spoon full on top.
12Add Maraschino cherries or sprinkle with more nuts, chips, sprinkles or whatever else you like!
13Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Servings: 24

Yield: Yields from 16-24 servings depending on size.

Italian Caprese Sliders – Superbowl Sliders

Italian Caprese Sliders – Superbowl Sliders

Italian Caprese Sliders

Italian Caprese Sliders

I know this isn’t new, but seemed perfect for tomorrow (and it did get an Editor’s Pick in Food52‘s burger contest a while ago).  When I was growing up my father was a true grill man – charcoal only and whatever he was making, there was one beer to splash on the food and one for him!  I on the other hand, love my gas grill (and I think dad has one now too) mostly because I’m lazy and don’t want to mess with the charcoal.  Of course, dad would probably not been caught making “wimpy” sliders and I am generally prone to enormous burgers stuffed with cheese but as I mentioned in a previous recipe for the Bacon Sliders, my husband brought home a “slider” pan which I determined wasn’t worth much, but I did like the sliders so here’s another variation.  If you have the time, it is well worth it to make fresh rolls from either your own or the frozen dough.

1 1/2      lb            ground beef

1             lb            hot Italian sausage

1             tsp          dried Italian seasoning

1             med       onion finely chopped

1                            bell pepper finely chopped

3                            cloves minced garlic

18                          (White Dinner Rolls freshly baked – your recipe or frozen dough best)

8             oz           fresh Mozzarella cheese sliced 1/4 inch thick

4             large      Roma tomatoes sliced in 1/4 in thick slices

36          large         fresh basil leaves stems removed

freshly ground black pepper

3             Tbs         extra virgin olive oil

3             Tbs         balsamic vinegar

Freshly baked rolls

Garlic, Onion, peppers and fresh herbs

Ready to mix

Mix gently

1             Gently but thoroughly mix together the ground beef and ground Italian sausage (removing from the casings if any), along with the Italian spices, chopped onion, chopped Bell pepper and 2 cloves of minced garlic.

Flatten

Use spatula to measure squares

Use spatula to measure squares

Cut squares

Cut entire pan into squares

2             Press the mixture into a jelly roll pan using a rolling pin to make a flat even layer.  Cut the meat into 2″ squares.

3             Grill 2-3 minutes on each side or until cooked through to a temperature of at least 160.

4             If not fresh from the oven, wrap the rolls in foil and warm on the top rack of the grill while the burgers are cooking on their second side.

5             When the burgers are done, place a slice of Mozzerella on each burger and tent with foil while preparing the buns.

6             Whisk together olive oil, balsamic and remaining 1 clove minced garlic

7             Place the burger with cheese on the bottom of the bun, add a slice of tomato and two good sized basil leaves and drizzle each burger with 1 teaspoon of the balsamic/olive oil dressing.

Girlie Birthday cupcakes: Part II chocolate/maraschino cherry regular and minis

Girlie Birthday cupcakes: Part II chocolate/maraschino cherry regular and minis

Girlie Birthday Cupcakes Mini Chocolate Maraschino Cherry

As promised, here is the second half of the Girlie Birthday Cupcakes – the chocolate/maraschino cherry cupcakes and minis.  As I mentioned in Part I I  modified and combined several recipes.  For these, I used the Martha Stuart’s Strawberry Buttercream modified into Maraschino Cherry Buttercream and  Sour Cream Chocolate Cupcakes from Betty Crocker.  The minis turned out to be my favorite, they were like a chocolate covered cherry with icing!

First the cupcakes:

I followed the Betty Crocker recipe but added 1/4 cup coco powder to the mix to increase the chocolate flavor.

Cherries in the wrappers

To prepare the cupcakes, I put a cherry in each cupcake wrapper in both the regular and min size.

Mini-s ready to bake

Fill the minis  to the top so you get a nice dome and cover the cherry.

Regular ready to bake

Fill the regular size 2/3 full, then add another cherry on top.  The cupcakes will bake around it making a nice center.

Baked regular and minis

Cool completely before icing.

Next the icing:

Following the recipe for  Martha Stuart’s Strawberry Buttercream replace the mashed strawberries with 1/2 cup drained and chopped maraschino cherries – don’t use the juice.

Starting with the egg whites and sugar here’s a quick way to make a double boiler using the mixer bowl that eliminates washing an extra pot (which I thought of after I made the strawberry batch)

Double boiler for icing

Cooking the egg whites

Cook the egg whites according to the directions, then whip

Whip the egg whites and sugar

Gradually add the butter a chunk at a time

Adding butter

Finish up by adding the chopped cherries.

I decorated the minis to look like little ice cream cones with a small candy on top and the full size cupcakes to resemble flowers by piping the icing around the center cherry and adding some little green candies for the leaves.

Chocolate Maraschino Cherry Cupcakes