Today is my one year ‘blogaversary,’ which happily coincides with World Nutella Day. Could there be a sweeter way to celebrate?

Not familiar with Nutella? Think of it as manna from Heaven, in the shelf-stable form of a chocolate-hazelnut spread.

Nutella was created during the 1940’s in Italy, during WWII, when chocolate was in short supply (due to rations), and hazelnuts were plentiful. A man named Pietro Ferrero added ground hazelnuts to chocolate, kind of as a ‘filler,’ as a way to make his chocolate supply go further, and thus, a perfect pairing was born. Necessity truly is the mother of invention…..because man cannot live without chocolate!

Here is my first blog post ever, from last February, which talks about how Nutella (or Nugatti, which is the Norwegian version) pretty much saved our lives a couple of summers ago when we were in Stavanger, Norway with our kids to attend the wedding of our friends. Carsten, my picky eater, suffered greatly, as he was faced with salmon, smoked salmon and pickled herring at every turn. It was Nutella to the rescue…. and Carsten is living proof that you can, in fact, live on bread and chocolate (at least temporarily!).

I have long loved Nutella, even before our trip to Norway. Before it was widely available in the U.S., I remember buying it when I was living in France, and eating myself silly on it for breakfast, spread on a slice of baguette. Nutella always reminds me of sitting at the table in my tiny little student apartment, sipping coffee and eating a baguette slathered with it. A delicious memory, indeed.

(In retrospect, it’s a good thing that the time I spent in France was when I was young – 21 years old. Otherwise, I may have come home a good 100 pounds heavier.)

In honor of World Nutella Day, and my one year blogging anniversary, I would like to share with you three of my favorite Nutella ‘recipes’ — if you can even call them that. They are so incredibly simple that I hesitate to call any one of them a recipe. Sometimes, simple is the best way to go — particularly when Nutella is involved. It’s a star, all on its own, and doesn’t really need much to dress it up.

Here are the ingredients you will need to for making all three of these recipes:

  • 1 jar Nutella
  • 1 small package brie cheese
  • French bread
  • Fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1 Pound Cake, frozen (such as Sara Lee – found in the frozen dessert section)
  • 1 Package croissant/crescent roll dough (such as Pillsbury)

Nutella & Brie Panini

I know, chocolate and cheese sounds like a very unlikely combination. All I can say is: step outside the comfort range of your tastebuds and please…..try this. It is so good. Especially if you are like me and love that sweet / salty combination of flavors. Vosges Chocolate sells a chocolate-cheese truffle as part of their exotic Italian collection, so I am not making it up when I tell you the combination is divine.

To make:

Spread Nutella and Brie on thin (1/2 inch slices) of French bread.

Put the slices together, making a sandwich, and using a panini press, toast the bread, cheese and Nutella. Remove from panini press when bread is beginning to brown, and cheese and Nutella have been heated through.

Nutella, Strawberries and Pound Cake Panini

Using a store-bought frozen Pound Cake, cut a couple of slices approximately 3/4 inch thick. (The Pound Cake is easiest to work with if still frozen.) Slice up a few strawberries, and places the slices on one piece of the pound cake.

Spread Nutella on another slice, and make a sandwich with the two pieces.

Toast the pound cake, Nutella and strawberries using a panini press. Watch carefully, as the pound cake will burn quickly. Also, I don’t let the lid of the panini press come fully down on this ‘sandwich;’ I let it just barely rest on the top layer of pound cake — enough to toast it, but not enough to crush it.

Nutella Croissants

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using a package of store-bought crescent dough, unfold the triangles of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Spoon approximately 1 teaspoon of Nutella onto the wide end of the triangle of dough. Warming the Nutella in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds makes it easier to work with.

Begin rolling dough from the wide end, enclosing the Nutella within. Shape dough into a crescent shape.

Bake for approximately 11-13 minutes, or until dough is lightly browned.

To read more about World Nutella Day, and to find other inspiring Nutella recipes, check out the following websites:

Ms. Adventures in Italy

Bleeding Espresso