Friday, February 06, 2009

I am nuts for Nutella!

My fondness for Nutella began in college, when every meal we ate either came out of a jar, frozen dinner box or could easily be cooked in a crock pot or toaster. This means you would typically find some of the hazelnut and cocoa-flavored goodness next to the tub of peanut butter and endless supply of ramen noodle packets and macaroni and cheese boxes. By the time I went backpacking in Europe, however, that fondness had blossomed into a full-blown love affair. I mean, how can you top a portable chocolate that can be spread on bread, fruit, crackers and pastries? My traveling buddies and I - all of whom were on a serious, shoestring budget - frequently dined on bread, cheese, wine and Nutella. And ya know what? It was fabulous! We loved our Nutella! Although I don't eat much of the sweet treat anymore (a rapidly slowing metabolism and a few extra pounds quickly put an end to that habit!) I still do indulge every once in a blue moon. So needless to say, when I finally made my way to the newly-opened and uber-popular Flip Burger Boutique this past weekend (headed up by Richard Blais of last season's Top Chef), I was delighted to discover they had a Nutella & Burnt Marshmallow milkshake on the menu. And all I have to say is...It.Was.Worth.Every.Last.Calorie. Wow, that was a tasty shake! On a sidenote, some of you might be thrilled - or horrified - to know they also sell a Krispy Kreme shake.
But back to the some background, the product was created in the 1940s by Pietro Ferrero, a pastry maker. At the time, cocoa was in short supply because of rationing during World War II so Ferrero used hazelnuts to extend the chocolate supply. It was eventually imported from Italy to the U.S. back in 1983 and quickly grew in popularity. Nutella is now marketed in more than 75 countries across the globe and outsells all brands of peanut butter combined worldwide.

Now, as we all know, it's Friday afternoon, so what better way to close out the long work week than with a Nutella-based, reduced-sugar cookie recipe! Thanks to recipezaar for this one. Enjoy and have a safe weekend.

Nutella Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies

More Splenda recipes here.

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