Category: hazelnut

Dark chocolate hazelnut granola -with chocolate chips, ’cause it’s healthy. Right?

What have I become!?

I made GRANOLA. Not just granola, but granola with AGAVE NECTAR not sugar. WHAT? I know. I can’t believe it either. But it was delicious.

I had never used agave before this, but I had heard a lot of good things. I tasted it and because it was sweet but not sickeningly so, I thought it’d be a good syrup to use in granola. Healthier than sugar, but without the “honey” taste that honey provides. Sometimes you just don’t want to have that flavor profile. So I got my amber agave and went to work!

Dark chocolate chocolate chip granola with hazelnuts. Extremely easy, made with Agave nectar!

So Chrismas is over, and we’ve all indulged a lot since Thanksgiving. Not only that, but NYE is coming, and there’s certainly more indulgence & debauchery to come. Annnnnd with that said, I figured a little lighter fare was in order. Less sugar, more agave.

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Apple cake, sadness, sickness & Spode.

Apple cake made with hazelnuts. The hazelnuts toast in the oven & the middle layer of apples just melts into the coffee-cake style cake, leaving you with a moist, delicious dessert.

Alliteration at it’s finest, ladies & gentlemen. My 7th & 8th grade English teacher Mrs. Clarey would be proud. Shamefully ‘apple cake’ doesn’t start with an ‘s.’ Anyway, even though I’ve shown you the cake… first let’s tackle the easiest of the four: Spode.

A while back, I told you all about my adventures in thrifting- or, as Xenia says: Tales from the Thrift. I’ve bought some pretty little things since that post & you’ll see some of them today.

Like, right now.

Vintage Spode Cowslip pattern bread & butter plates (+ a recipe for apple cake with hazelnuts).

See? Those plates. They’re Spode “Cowslip” pattern bread & butter dishes, or appetizer dishes. I got them for less than $2.00 a piece (actually closer to a buck a piece) in a thrift store, and according to Replacements.com that’s quite a good deal. I should’ve bought the whole dinnerware set, but they were asking a bit much considering there was quite a lot of it missing. Regardless, I’m happy with my four little plates- dating from December 1950, according to the marks on the bottom (D50). Since the pattern was only started in the 1940’s and discontinued by 1972 that’s pretty cool.

Spode Cowslip plates (& a recipe for apple cake).

I just love me some cute little plates for serving desserts or snacks. Or cake.

Cake! Apple cake!

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Homemade Nutella “pop tarts.”

I’m not Italian. Of the many Eastern & Western European & other nationalities I am, Italian is not one of them. It’s practically the only one I’m missing. But I’ve hung out with enough Italians, & eaten with enough Italians, including one of my uncles (by marriage) to know a lot about Italia. I’ve probably watched more RAI and eaten just as much cannoli as the average Italian-American. I also went to Catholic school which, in true stereo-typical form, had an equal population of Irish-American and Italian-American students (not to say there weren’t plenty of other nationalities & ethnicities represented as well), and I was taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph… so I know things like who St. Joseph is, & when his feast day is, even if I don’t believe in that stuff. And by that stuff I mean religious mumbo-jumbo, not that there was once a dude named Joseph. I know there are lots of those. I mean I know at least 6 myself!

In Sicily, where St. Joseph is regarded by many as their Patron Saint, and many Italian-American communities, thanks are given to St. Joseph (“San Giuseppe” in Italian) for preventing a famine in Sicily during the Middle Ages. According to legend, there was a severe drought at the time, and the people prayed for their patron saint to bring them rain. They promised that if he answered their prayers, they would prepare a large feast to honor him. The rain did come, and the people of Sicily prepared a large banquet for their patron saint. The fava bean was the crop which saved the population from starvation and is a traditional part of St. Joseph’s Day altars and traditions. Giving food to the needy is a St. Joseph’s Day custom. In some communities it is traditional to wear red clothing and eat a Sicilian pastry known as a zeppola on St. Joseph’s Day.[6][7] Sweets are popular because St. Joseph is the patron saint of pastry chefs.[8]

Upon a typical St. Joseph’s Day altar, people place flowers, limes, candles, wine, fava beans, specially prepared cakes, breads, and cookies (as well as other meatless dishes), and zeppole. Foods are traditionally served containing bread crumbs to represent saw dust since St. Joseph was a carpenter. Because the feast occurs during Lent, traditionally no meat was allowed on the celebration table. The altar usually has three tiers, to represent the trinity.[7][9]

Some villages like Belmonte Mezzagno used to burn wood and logs in squares on the day before St.Joseph, as thanksgiving to the Saint. This is called “A Vampa di San Giuseppe” (the Saint Joseph’s bonfire).[7]

In Italy March 19 is also Father’s Day.

Saint Joseph’s Day is also celebrated in other American communities with high proportions of Italians such as New York City; Kansas City, MO; Buffalo; Chicago;[8][10] Gloucester, Mass.; and Providence, Rhode Island, where observance (which takes place just after Saint Patrick’s Day) often is expressed through “the wearing of the red”, i.e., wearing red clothing or accessories similar to the wearing of green on Saint Patrick’s Day. The observance of St Joseph’s Day (and wearing of red) by Italian Americans communities which are also home to significant Irish American communities can take on the overtone of a challenge by the Italian Americans to the power and relevance of those Irish communities and Saint Patrick’s Day.[11]

Yeah, I’m fairly sure that photo I created there will offend someone. Eh. I do what I can. I never said this website was endorsed by the Vatican.

Anyway I’m far from religious (obviously), but I do remember from my Catholic high school/junior high school days that St. Joseph’s Day is sort of the equivalent of St. Patricks’ Day, except without the green beer & excessive drinking, but with the addition of pastries. Which I can totally get down with. I also remember my Italian friends sort of complaining that St. Joe’s Day was overlooked in favor of the *cough*more fun*cough* St. Patrick’s Day. Although let’s not forget that St. Patrick was Anglo-Roman, which is technically “Italian”… since you could say the Romans were the first Italians. But at any rate, for these purposes, let’s go with the general populations idea of polarizing the “holidays”, causing ethnic divides and of course, slander. I do love to start trouble, you know. *wink*

Anyway in turn, since fair is fair, I figured one saint deserves as much as another. Since I did a lot for good ol’ St. Patty, I decided to make something for ol’ St. Joe using my absolute favorite Italian import- Nutella. And what did I decide to make with Nutella? Homemade pop-tarts, courtesy of Smitten Kitchen!

I’m not sure if Pop-Tarts are a universal concept, so I’ll do a quick explanation courtesy of Wikipedia:

Pop-Tarts is a brand of rectangular, pre-baked toaster pastries made by the Kellogg Company. Pop-Tarts have a sugary filling sealed inside two layers of rectangular, thin pastry crust. Some varieties are frosted. Although sold pre-cooked, they are designed to be warmed inside a toaster. They are usually sold in pairs inside foil packages, and do not require refrigeration.

Popular flavors include chocolate, apple, frosted blueberry, frosted strawberry, frosted brown sugar cinnamon, cherry, and s’mores.

Pop-Tarts are Kellogg’s most popular brand to date in the United States, with millions of Pop-Tarts sold each year.[1] They are distributed mainly in the United States, but also in Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland. Pop-Tarts were discontinued in Australia in 2005 and are now found only in import stores.[2]

Before I get all crazy-preachy about making this recipe I will state: I do like Pop-Tarts®. I do. The s’mores kind are my favorite, and admittedly, I’ve only ever had those or the chocolate, but I can say that for what they are they’re good. And heated up, they’re better. I’m not 100% anti this stuff. But that said, who would (or could) turn down a homemade “toaster pastry” with a flaky, buttery, pastry crust if they had the choice? Probably not many. However I just needed to say that I do enjoy those store-bought, preservative-filled, chemical-laden little boxes of “pastry.” What can I say? I’m a child of the ’80’s. Crucify me… (sorry, bad joke).

HOMEMADE POP-TART CRUST

Yield: 9 pop-tarts

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks, or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten (to brush on pastry)

Directions:

  1. To make the crust, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Using your fingers or a pastry blender, work in the butter until it is the size of peas and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it. Whisk together the egg and milk and add to the dough. Mix together with a fork until everything is evenly moistened. Knead briefly on a floured surface, if necessary, until the dough comes together.
  2. Divide the dough in half. (At this point you can wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days.) If you refrigerate the dough, let it come to room temperature for about 15 minutes before rolling out. Roll out one piece of dough to about 1/8-inch thick, in a 9½ by 12½ rectangle. Using a sharp knife, pastry wheel or bench scraper, trim the rectangle to 9×12 inches. Cut the sheet of dough into nine 3×4 rectangles. Using a spatula, transfer the rectangles to a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Brush the lightly beaten egg on each of the rectangles. Spoon a tablespoon of filling into the center of each rectangle, leaving a ½-inch of space around the edges.
  3. Roll out and cut the second piece of dough in the exact same manner as you did the first. One at a time, place a second rectangle of dough on top of the nine assembled ones. Using your fingers, press around the seams of the dough to make sure they are sealed. Press the tines of a fork around the edges of the rectangles. Prick the tops of the rectangles in multiple spots to allow steam to escape.
  4. Refrigerate the pan with the pastries (you don’t need to cover them) for about 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool slightly before serving. Store pastries in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

I made my dough the afternoon before, divided it and let it chill until the next afternoon (because I ended up being to tired to make them once evening came). I found that to be the best bet, as the dough was totally chilled and easy to work with and this way I didn’t get impatient and take it out too soon. As far as the filling, like I said, I used straight Nutella. But if you go to the Smitten Kitchen, you’ll find the ingredients for strawberry jam filling and cinnamon/brown sugar filling. And anything is possible! Marshmallow Fluff would be awesome mixed with Nutella /chocolate ganache. I made mine two different sizes, some small and some regular pop-tart size. I felt like for some people the full size ones would be too much.

I can’t tell you how much of a HUGE hit these were. This was my second time making them, the first time being last month, and they were so enjoyed that I decided to do a repeat performance. I still haven’t gone past the Nutella filling, mainly because I don’t like fruit fillings and the Nutella is just so easy… but when the weather gets warmer I think a few fruit ones will have to be made for family; I know my father & mother are big jam people. And by that I mean fruit jam, not musical jams. Although they like those too… who doesn’t like a good, loud jam?

Also, the King Arthur Flour website’s version of these little “toaster pastries” has a great idea for those leftover dough scraps:

Sprinkle the dough trimmings with cinnamon-sugar; these have nothing to do with your toaster pastries, but it’s a shame to discard them, and they make a wonderful snack. While the tarts are chilling, bake these trimmings for 13 to 15 minutes, till they’re golden brown.

At this point there’s nothing left to say except: DO IT. I’m battling a wicked nasty flu and they even made me feel (slightly) better. DO IT. NOW. And if you’re a Nutella freak like I am, I’ve got other recipes using it you might wanna take a peek at.

Nutella vanilla.

Just some cupcake porn for you today. And a sweet idea for filling your cupcakes (and cookies, and cakes) without making your own filling.

In case you didn’t know, I have a thing for Nutella. I try not to have it around that much, just when I really crave it or want to use it for baking because I tend to eat it right out of the jar like a pig. And I could eat an entire small jar in one sitting if given the opportunity, no joke. It would be really embarrassing to have to go out and buy all new pants and clothes in a size 6 just because I went up a whole size from eating… Nutella. Anyway if you’re a Nutella fan like me, in addition to making these, you should try my Nutella “sangwich” cake. If you’ve never had Nutella, then you seriously need to go out right now and buy some. If you don’t like Nutella… then get the fuck out of here! Just kidding. But really, whatsamatta with you!?

Anyway one night last week I was pissed off, frustrated and kind of depressed, and what do I do when I’m in one (or all) of those moods? I have to create something. So I bake. And this is what I came up with.

So with these I did a basic vanilla cupcake and just used a disposable piping bag fitted with a round tip (Wilton 2A, found here) to inject the cakes with the filling. Nutella is a delicious, easy filling to use because unlike peanut butter, you really don’t have to add any sugar, butter or make a frosting out of it. It’s already sweet enough, and it has a great consistency. You can spread it on sugar cookies, use it to fill the middle layer of a cake, fill cupcakes, etc. You could even make a Nutella frosting if you wanted. Be forewarned- you would need to incorporate it into a frosting like a buttercream, because it won’t pipe well in it’s natural state.

Then for the frosting, I went with this amazing frosting I’ve been obsessed with lately that you can find here (except this time I used 100% white granulated sugar). Om nom nom nom nom. I filled one side of the frosting bag with some Nutella, then put the frosting in, and did a few test squeezes until I saw it come out half & half, or rather like the Nutella was “laced” through the frosting. I won’t bother giving you a cupcake recipe because you can use any ol’ one you like (even a yellow or white cake mix if you’re a big fat cheater). I used Billy’s Bakery vanilla cupcake recipe. But any one will do!

The tip is a Wilton large star tip (1M). If you need a frosting tutorial, lucky for you I wrote two up this past spring- take a look.

The little toppers are adorable, right? They reminded me of little Vespas, which went with the Nutella/Italian theme. In my head anyway. I didn’t make them, though. I got them a few years ago from Miss Amy O when she had her store (The Peach) on Etsy. She kindly sent them to me free when I placed an order (for my ice cream cone toppers, actually). Now she no longer has an Etsy store but she has a bakery/baking business. called Amy Bakes Cupcakes. Don’t worry, I’m pretty sure she still makes toppers.

So there you have it. A really simple idea, but it’s so delicious. And you know what else is delicious? My Cupcake Rehab third birthday giveaway. Almost $100.00 in prizes up for grabs, and all you have to do is comment. Yep, it’s my blog’s birthday, and you have a chance to get the gifts. Go take a peek and enter! And also, thank you all for being fans of Cupcake Rehab! I really do love my fans & readers. You’re the absolute coolest, and I adore you. If I could give you all prizes I would. Seriously. I really would. You guys & your awesome comments make doing this blog fun and worthwhile. Even the occasional jerk or the few Single White Female copycat stalkers I have to deal with are worth it, because the majority of you are just splendiferous. And scrumtrilescent. So thank you, thank you, thank you for reading my incessant babbling.

Who wants a Nutella sangwich?

Sometime on or around July 9th, I received a fairly large package from Lyns on my doorstep. I knew she was sending me something, I just wasn’t sure what. I expected more cupcake materials; liners, sprinkles, etc. Lyns always spoils me. But when I opened it, I saw this: a Fred Cakewich silicone bake pan! Immediately, I knew what I was going to use it for- I was going to make a giant Nutella sangwich, better known as a “sandwich” to those of you not Dane Cook fans or residing in NY… or in this case- cakewich. It was a pretty nifty early birthday present!

“Oh hi. I’m Nutella. I’m incredibly rich & delicious. And you are…?”

….

Nutella is a hazelnut spread that’s pretty popular in Italian households. I never personally knew anyone of Italian descent who didn’t love Nutella (except for Brianne, who has never even tried it!). When I was a kid, another kid in my class used to bring Nutella sandwiches (Nutella spread in between two pieces of Wonder bread) to school for lunch, and everyone made fun of it, asking why his mom made him a “chocolate sandwich.” But he was a dick anyway, so nobody cares that he was made fun of. Anyway Nutella originated thanks to an Italian pastry maker, Mr. Ferrero, in 1946. It’s a mixture of hazelnut, cocoa and skim milk. It’s delicious right out of the jar, on croissants, on plain old white bread,cookies, in frosting, etc. Anything you can imagine using it for, it’s always delicious. How could it not be!

Gianduja is a type of chocolate analogue containing approximately 50% almond and hazelnut paste. It was developed in Piedmont, Italy, after taxes on cocoa beans hindered the diffusion of conventional chocolate.

Pietro Ferrero, who owned a patisserie in Alba, in the Langhe district of Piedmont, an area known for the production of hazelnuts, sold an initial batch of 300 kilograms (660 lb) of “Pasta Gianduja” in 1946. This was originally a solid block, but in 1949, Pietro started to sell a creamy version in 1951 as “Supercrema”.

In 1963, Pietro’s son Michele revamped Supercrema with the intention of marketing it across Europe. Its composition was modified and it was renamed “Nutella.” The first jar of Nutella left the Ferrero factory in Alba on 20 April 1964. The product was an instant success and remains widely popular. The estimated Italian production of Nutella averages 179,000 tons per year.

Nutella is a modified form of gianduja. The exact recipe is a secret closely guarded by Ferrero. According to the product label, the main ingredients of Nutella are sugar and vegetable oils, followed by hazelnut, cocoa solids and skimmed milk, which together comprise at most 29% of the ingredients. Nutella is marketed as “hazelnut cream” in many countries. Under Italian law, it cannot be labeled as a chocolate cream, as it does not meet minimum cocoa solids concentration criteria.

It’s pretty delicious. So I figured, why not make a huge “sandwich” with it, except instead of bread, just use pound cake! The recipe for this particular cake is on the box that the cake pan comes in, and it bakes perfectly, brown on the outside, white on the inside. Here’s yer Nutella sangwich, everyone. Come & get it!..

FRED’S FAMOUS POUND CAKE (aka the “bread” in the sandwich)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry measuring cup and level off)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 large egg whites
  • ¾ cup milk

Directions:

  1. Set rack at the middle level and preheat oven to 315° degrees F.
  2. Grease and flour the inner bottom surface of the Cakewich pan.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl, mixing well with a whisk.
  4. Whisk together the egg whites and milk by hand until just combined.
  5. In a heavy-duty mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla and beat vigorously.
  6. Reduce speed to low, and add one-quarter of the flour mixture, then one-third of the milk mixture, mixing until just combined, scraping down the bowl and beater after each addition. Repeat until all ingredients are just combined.
  7. Scrape the bowl well with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the Cakewich pan and smooth the top.
  8. Bake for about 60-70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean.
  9. Cool the cake in the pan on a cooling rack for one hour. Then unmold to finish cooling.

After it was completely cool, I sliced the “dome” off using a Wilton cake leveler (if you don’t have one of these and you bake cakes a lot, you need to get one). I then adjusted the wire to the proper level to cut the cake entirely in half. Then I spread the Nutella over the first layer of cake evenly, making sure it was thick enough all over, using an offset spatula. Then I put the second half of the cake on top, and cut the entire thing in half like a sandwich. Ta-da! It was so good I can’t even verbalize it. Just delectable. I ate way too much of it.

Seriously… does that NOT look like a sandwich?

….

But it ain’t! It’s a cake! A 2.5″ high cake… or CAKEWICH!

You could also make it a PB&J sandwich. Just make a peanut butter buttercream, spread it over the first layer of cake, then top that with a fruit jelly of your choice, slightly warmed to room temperature. Then put the top cake layer on. Again, ta-da! Jay doesn’t like Nutella so he’s requested I remake it PB&J style for him. And I certainly will. It was a super easy and super fun cake to make. Just mix it, pop it in the pan, and go watch True Blood until the timer goes off. Then take it out, let it cool for another hour while you watch more True Blood, and then start assembly, which is even more easy. And yet it looks awesomely impressive. Another option is to do a cheese/fruit version- maybe a cream cheese frosting and a berry jam or fruit puree? It’s up to you. I’m not much of a berry or jam person, so for me, Nutella is the way to go. Though I’m thinking next time maybe a Nutella/Fluff combination, or a peanut butter frosting/Fluff combo. How awesome does THAT sound?

I was amazed at how much it really looked like giant slices of bread. This is a great idea for a kid’s birthday party or school party. I bet kids would get a big kick out of this. Well, I mean, I did. And the cake is pretty good on it’s own too, I know… ’cause I ate the top that was sliced off. Stop judging me. You probably would too. I’m sure the cake recipe could be used in a regular pan as well, the cooking time would have to be adjusted however, because silicone bakes at a different rate/temperature than metal or glass bakeware. My cake was 2.5 inches high because I cut a lot off the top. If you cut off less, you’ll get a thicker cake, obviously. You could probably get two cakes out of it if you cut the “bread” thinner. All I know is, Fred needs to make these pans cupcake size. Teeny little cakewiches… that would be so cute my head would explode.

If you’ve never gone to Sweet Cuppin’ Cakes Bakery & Cupcakery Supplies to buy stuff, then go now. They have amazing things like this cake pan, silicone tea cups to make “tea cupcakes”, a chef’s knife with “blood” on it (the “Evidence” Knife- you’ve gotta see it to understand) not to mention gorgeous, excellent quality cupcake liners, cupcake boxes & packaging and Nielsen-Massey extracts. Plus a ton of other stuff. Thank you, Lyns, for being awesome & providing me with incredible stuff that makes me look like an awesome baker/decorator *wink*