Drum roll, please. I have an announcement to make . . . today, February 5, 2011, is World Nutella Day! I think I’m more excited about this than Christmas.
World Nutella Day first began in 2007 as the brainchild of Sara from Ms. Adventures in Italy and Michelle from Bleeding Espresso, and what a brilliant brainchild it was. I mean, how can you not love a day that encourages you to eat, cook with, and otherwise pay tribute one of the most fabulous foods to ever come in a jar?
Although 2011 is the fifth anniversary of this glorious holiday, it’s the first time I’m celebrating it personally and participating as The Girl in the Blue Apron. Because I’ve been looking forward to this day for, oh, I don’t know, about six months now, I’ve had a lot of time to think about what I could make that would be worthy of World Nutella Day. I finally settled on something featuring Nutella and bananas, and as luck would have it, today you’re the recipients of a two-for-one recipe deal.
Nutella and bananas are quite possibly a match made in heaven. I’m not usually a fan of regular old chocolate and bananas, but there’s something about the combination of fudgy, nutty Nutella and sweet, soft bananas that’s different. Ever had a Nutella and banana crepe? You’ll know what I mean.
Today’s main recipe uses the flavors from that classic crepe: banana nut cupcakes with Nutella ganache. This cupcake recipe has been in my family for generations; my grandmother used to make them for my sister and me as kids. Of course, at the time we called them muffins in hopes that they would seem healthier and my mom would let us have more of them, but let’s be honest, they’re cupcakes. Grandma would top them with a lemon glaze, which is also lovely, but today I’ve switched it out for the Nutella ganache.
Since cupcakes and ganache can be a bit time consuming to prepare, and let’s face it, sometimes when you want Nutella you want it now, I also have an almost-instant-gratification recipe for you: a toasted Nutella-banana sandwich. So simple and perfect for any meal of the day. Seriously. I’ve had these for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They’re excellent with a tall glass of milk or a cup of lavender chamomile tea.
Is the sandwich still taking too long for you? Grab a spoon and eat Nutella straight from the jar. I won’t tell.
BANANA-NUT CUPCAKES WITH NUTELLA GANACHE
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
Tiny pinch of salt
1/2 cup mashed bananas
1/2 cup chopped nuts (hazelnuts make a great complement to the Nutella ganache)
1/2 cup Nutella
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a muffin pan with 12 cupcake liners. Cream together butter, sugar, and egg. Mix dry ingredients together, then add them to the sugar mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Fold in bananas and nuts. Spoon batter into prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and allow to cool on a wire rack.
For the ganache, gently heat the heavy cream and Nutella together in a double boiler or in 10-second intervals (stirring after each) in the microwave until Nutella just starts to melt. Remove from heat and stir together until Nutella is completely melted and smooth. Allow to cool, stirring occasionally to ensure no skin forms on top. Spoon a bit of the ganache on top of each cupcake and refrigerate immediately until the ganache is set. These are best stored in the refrigerator, but bring to room temperature before eating.
TOASTED NUTELLA-BANANA SANDWICH
2 slices of bread
2 tablespoons of Nutella
1/2 of a medium banana, sliced
Butter and granulated sugar for toasting
Slather the Nutella on both pieces of bread, and put them together in a sandwich with the banana slices in the middle. Spread butter on the outside of the sandwich and sprinkle lightly with sugar (this will caramelize the outside a bit during toasting). Toast the sandwich in a skillet until the bread is golden brown and the Nutella has started to melt.
NUTELLA ON A SPOON
Jar of Nutella (extra-large, of course)
Open jar; insert spoon; put spoon in mouth. Repeat.