Nutella, the Italian hazelnut-chocolate spread, is loved by millions around the world. Just try to open a jar and not dig in.
Today is World Nutella Day, so it's the perfect time to indulge in what's referred to by many as chocolate gold.
The annual Nutella celebration was created by Sara Rosso in 2007. She established the unofficial fan site NutellaDay.com and in 2013 successfully stopped Ferrero, the company that makes Nutella, from stomping out World Nutella Day.
Fans can agree, the creamy, chocolatey spread deserves at least an entire day devoted to its greatness, and then some. Frankly, we're surprised L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti didn't think of closing off at least a couple of downtown streets for a parade.
To celebrate, here are nine recipes highlighting Nutella, including a recipe for homemade chocolate hazelnut spread. Or you can just do what I do — and many L.A. pastry chefs secretly do too — and eat it straight out of the jar. Your call. We're not judging.
GRILLED NUTELLA AND PECAN POUND CAKE SANDWICHES
Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes, plus cooling time | Serves 8
Elaine Smith's pound cake:
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsweetened butter
3 3/4 cups (1 pound) powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Generously butter a 10-inch tube or bundt pan. Dust with flour, tapping out all excess. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a large bowl and hand-held electric mixer), beat the butter until creamy and pale. Sift the powdered sugar and gradually add it to the butter, beating continuously until the mixture is very light and fluffy.
3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, making sure to blend well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix the baking soda with the cake flour and beat it into the butter mixture, half a cup at a time, until the batter is smooth and velvety.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely before slicing.
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
3/4 cup Nutella, divided
16 (1/3-inch-thick) slices pound cake
1/2 pint premium ice cream or gelato
1/4 cup coarsely grated chocolate, divided.
1. In a small skillet over medium-low heat, toast the chopped pecans, stirring or shaking the pan frequently, 1 or 2 minutes, until aromatic. Set aside.
2. Spread 1 1/2 tablespoons Nutella on each of eight slices of the cake, then top each slice with a heaped teaspoon of nuts. Top each prepared slice with a remaining slice of cake to form a sandwich.
3. Using a flat, thin, long-handled metal spatula, gently place each of the sandwiches on a clean, well-oiled grill over medium heat. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side until lightly golden, rotating each sandwich 90 degrees halfway through, to get good grill marks. Flip each sandwich; repeat on the other side.
4. To serve, place a grilled sandwich on each of eight plates with a small scoop (1/8 cup) of ice cream. Garnish evenly with any remaining nuts, and sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons of chocolate over each serving. Serve immediately.
Yes, I would marry Nutella if I could. Follow me on Twitter @Jenn_Harris_