I’ve undoubtedly eaten more than my fair share of Nutella on its own — on ice cream, toast, crepes, fruit, by the spoonful and (I confess!) straight off a knife — but never baked with it.
On the one hand, I’ve always thought, it’s kind of expensive and so decadent, why waste it by mixing it with other things? On the other hand, I mulled as I recently dipped crackers in it for the first time, wouldn’t some kind of salty-sweet dessert with Nutella and pretzels be awesome?
Envisioning gloops of Nutella and chunks of pretzels just needing some kind of something to hold them together, I pulled up a handful of Nutella recipes online but found none like what I had in mind. So I came up with my own.
These cookie bars (inspired by the Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars from September’s Kansas University tailgating food story) have mini pretzels and white chocolate chunks in the cookie dough. Not wanting to dilute the Nutella by stirring it into anything, or risk it being smeared away from the top or bottom of a cookie, it’s scooped straight out of the jar and sandwiched safely between layers of dough.
This probably goes without saying, but these are extra good with a glass of milk.
PRETZEL-NUTELLA BARS WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE CHUNKS
Start to finish: 45 minutes
Servings: 18 bars
1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 cup canola oil
2 1/2 cups mini pretzels, broken
6 ounces white baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 jar (13 ounces) Nutella
Preheat the oven to 350F. In a medium bowl, stir together cake mix, oil and eggs. Mix in pretzels and white chocolate chunks. In a greased 9-by-13-inch pan, press three-fourths of the dough into the bottom. Bake 10 minutes. Cool 5 minutes.
Spread Nutella over top of partially cooked dough. Drop remaining dough over the top. Bake 20 minutes more, or until top is lightly browned. Cool and use a sharp knife to cut into bars.
After interviewing pie-baking champion Aliene Bieber for this week’s food cover story, (and, along with the rest of the newsroom, quite enjoying the pie in this picture), I typed up the recipe she shared with me to keep for myself (and inevitably not execute as well as she does someday when I try it). But, I figured, why keep it only for myself when sharing on the blog is so easy?
We also have recipes for Harold Agnew’s Basil Chive Bagels and Katherine Berkowitz’s Whole Wheat Bread. You can find those here, along with winning recipes from last year’s 4-H food contests.
Here is Aliene’s cherry pie recipe, with two approaches to choose from for the pastry.
3 cups tart red cherries
1/2 cup cherry juice
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon red food coloring (optional)
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon butter
Mix sugar, flour and salt thoroughly in a sauce pan. Add cherry juice, extract, cinnamon and coloring. Stir until well blended. Cook until thickened then add cherries. Let stand while making pastry.
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
2/3 cup shortening
About 1/3 cup of cold milk
Sift flour, salt and sugar into large bowl. Add shortening. Cut into the flour with pastry blender or hands until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle with milk. Toss mixture lightly until mixture forms a soft ball. Roll out half of dough. Fit into pie plate. Trim off edge. Roll out the other half of dough for top of pie. Put cherry filling into pastry lined pan and dot with butter. Place top pastry on pie. Trim and tuck edges.
Bake at 400F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for 30-35 minutes longer.
Aliene’s Pie Crust (for two-crust pie)
2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup butter-flavored shortening
4 Tablespoons cold nonfat milk
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
Mix flour, salt, sugar and shortening until you have a crumbly mixture. Using fingers, mix lightly. Add milk and syrup. Mix just until dough forms a soft ball. Roll out half at a time. If baking for a one-crust pie, bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes or until nicely browned. If making a two-crust pie, bake according to recipe.