Chewy Nutella & Oatmeal Bars

I seem to be experiencing a butter deficiency as of late.  I blame it on the holiday consumption of more buttery treats than I care to admit having entered my body.  I have failed to divulge in sweet treats for approximately eighteen days now, give or take (with one cherry pie inserted somewhere in between) and so my body is saying “Hello? Yes, Hello!  It’s your body.  I need something with butter.  And sugar.  And chocolate would also be delightful.”  Imagine my shock, horror (and delight!) when I discovered this recipe in my “To Try” folder contained two sticks of butter on the ingredient list.  Of course, some sugar and chocolate too.  Who am I to deprive my body of what it needs?  Butter just seems to make everything better.  I think it should be called better, instead of butter…  I just don’t know if Webster would agree with me.

So, I printed this recipe off ages ago when I was high in my Nutella fascination.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am still highly fascinated with Nutella.  Or maybe infatuated is a better word.  When I make pancakes for the kids, sometimes I secretly sneak a pancake, slather it with Nutella, and eat it with my back turned so my kids  don’t see me.  I don’t want them to see the Nutella and want some too.  I want to keep it all for myself.  Please don’t tell my kids about the Nutella.

While Nutella alone is reason enough to make these bars (and, of course, to satisfy my ever-growing butter deficiency), we are having guests over for dinner tonight and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to make these delightful bars for dessert.  While I may seem selfish about my Nutella, I also enjoy a good reason to share it.

I had a few glitches with this recipe, mostly because I have not updated my Nut Database in a while.  I searched high and low, scanning the aisles for hazelnuts at two different grocery stores over the last few days.  At store number two, I gathered up the courage to ask an employee if they carried the elusive hazelnuts.  Now, I did look at the filberts and they did appear an awful lot like hazelnuts.  However, they did not state hazelnuts on their package.  None of the packages of nuts specified hazelnuts anywhere.  Trust me.  I looked.  Well, the sweet little cashier came back with the answer.  ‘Filberts are the same as hazelnuts, you crazy lady.’  Well, she didn’t actually call me a crazy lady but I most certainly felt like one.  So, when you go to the store, just look for filberts.  Or hazelnuts.  ‘Cause, y’know, they are The. Exact. Same. Thing.  Here is a photo for those of you who are visual learners.

Glitch Number Two was the tin foil.  I have never made bars that required the lining of tin foil in the pan.  I don’t do a lot of bar baking apparently and haven’t quite graduated to the tin foil method.  But I will tell you that the pan looked fantastic, requiring virtually no cleaning at all.  This alone is a great reason to use the tin foil.  The trouble for me was in the step where you are supposed to lift the bars out of the pan.  There was no way around it.  I’m not going to lie to you.  There was a bit of breakage.  I felt terrible but it had to be done.  I tried to be swift.  But it didn’t matter.  *deep breath* *moment of silence*  Okay.  I’m over it now.

I, somewhat sheepishly, need to divulge that these did not earn a high stamp of approval from my husband, the Sweet Connoisseur.  I think they fall into more of a Ladies Tea category.  They team up splendidly with coffee.  If I make them again, I think I would increase the mini chocolate chips from 1/2 cup to one whole cup.  I don’t think they were quite ooey-gooey enough for my husband and I think that would help solve that issue.

Here is the recipe, courtesy of Cookin’ Canuck

Chewy Nutella & Oatmeal Bars

  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (packed) brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped hazelnuts (filberts!)
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp Nutella
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, with rack set in middle of the oven. Line a 13- by 9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving a some foil overlapping on each side. Spray lightly with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and ground nutmeg.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer), beat butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, one a time, beating after each addition.
Turn the mixer to low and gradually add flour mixture. Beat until just combined, about 30 seconds. Stir in oatmeal, chocolate chips and hazelnuts.

Press the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake until the top is turning golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out just slightly moist, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Holding edges of foil, lift the bars out of the pan and let cool completely on wire rack. Cut into squares.
In a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, whisk together Nutella and heavy cream until melted and smooth. Drizzle over bars. Serve.

Makes about 48 squares.

Printable recipe

Chocolate Pastry Bliss

Lately, I have been reminiscing about France which gave me a serious craving for chocolate pastries.  I assure you there will be future posts of French memories.  For now, I must focus on the chocolate and the pastry.  The daydreaming begins…

A dark-haired woman sits at an outdoor cafe in Paris, sipping a cup of espresso.

A handsome French waiter approaches:  “Pain au chocolat, Mademoiselle?” 

Skinny, beautiful American woman replies:  “Oui, Monsieur!  Merci beaucoup!” in her best French accent (which is actually quite terrible in real life but in the fantasy it is perfect!)

(And yes, this is my daydream and I get to be beautiful and skinny in it!)

Woman experiences BLISS. True, unabashed BLISS.  She hears an orchestra playing music.  She considers running off with handsome French waiter.  But first, she must consume pastry. 

Where was I?  *wipes drool off chin* Oh yes!  Pain au chocolat is a pastry of delectable measure.  Similar to the croissant in its genetic makeup and filled with chocolate, there is nothing painful about it.  The ‘pain’ is simply French for bread.

In honor of the chocolate pastry and to satisfy my ever-growing desires, I made Nutella Turnovers this past weekend.  Which, mind you, are not exactly the same as what I enjoyed in Paris.  But they are certainly excellent imposters.  They were irresistible!  I cannot possibly tell you the number of pastries I consumed.  I cannot tell you because (a) I truly do not know how many and because (b) I don’t want you to think I am total loser with no self control.

I do know this.  It was more than one.  And less than eight.  (I know!!  Terrible.)  I had some help with the devouring process in the form of my husband and some dinner guests.  (Thank goodness!)

I might not be able to make these again.  They pulled me to them like a high powered magnet.  I cut one turnover in half, willing myself to be good.  It melted in my mouth.  Bliss.  Twenty minutes later, I had to go back for the other half.  And so the dance began with the Nutella Turnover leading the ENTIRE time.  Yes, my jeans are a little tight this week. I’m blaming it on PMS.

The creation of these turnovers was so simple.  They require six ingredients and I can guarantee you already have at least four in your kitchen.  You could easily substitute one tablespoon of a fruit pie filling in for the Nutella.  (Hmmm… Fruit or Chocolate?  Although the fruit would make it healthy…Right?)  I might do cherry or apple turnovers next time.  That is IF I let myself make them again.  There will have to be guests.  And self-control.

Like any good recipe, I stumbled upon this one purely by accident.  I happened to notice that The Pioneer Woman (I have mentioned her before and if you have not yet had a chance to check out her site, I highly encourage you to do so!) had a list of sites she likes and the first one was bell’alimento.  I’ll be going back to try more of Paula’s recipes.  Her photographs alone are divine.

bell’alimento’s Nutella Turnover Recipe with Divine Photographs

These turnovers would make a great addition to a brunch or breakfast event!   I hope you have a chance to try them and experience the bliss for yourself.  I’m going to get on my treadmill now.  Bon Appétit!

Printable Nutella Turnover Recipe

Nutella Cookies

Today my oven was graced with just four ingredients, which when combined were delightful.

Enter flour, sugar, an egg and *cue the alleluia music* Nutella.  Oh Nutella.  How I love you so.

These little guys even received praises from my dear husband, whose compliments can be slightly hard to come by.  Here is the recipe for Nutella Cookies.  Simple.  Easy.  Delicious.