Perhaps if I were a more professional food blogger, I would have tried this recipe a couple weeks ago, and then posted it last week in time for you all to decide to make it, too.
But I am not at all a professional food blogger, just someone — I expect rather like you — who sees appealing photos and links to recipes and thinks, “I could make that, too.” And so I did. With the kids. The kids declared them as delicious as the store bought kind, then noticed my expression and announced that ours are in fact better. Good kids.
Easy, kid-friendly, keeps-well, delicious, no-bake Christmas treat that my 7 year-old can make with only the slightest supervision? Sign me up.
I have this fantasy: Someday I will give them something so good they will be happy forever. Once and for all, they will love me without complaining. They will stop fighting. They will remember gratitude. They will be transported, their minds and mouths silenced by perfect joy. This joy will last, and last, and last.
Magical thinking, I know. But it’s the kind of magical thinking that turns a warm day daydream…nutella…vanilla ice cream…hazelnuts...into a batch of cold, sweet bliss. Some mothers might think the magical thing is a hug, or a kind word, or a pony. For me, on this day, it was ice cream.
It didn’t silence them. It did fill them with joy. It didn’t stop the complaining. It did conjure gratitude. It didn’t last. But I can make it again. And again. And again.
Nutella Swirl Ice Cream with Hazelnut Crunch
- 1 cup whole milk
- pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2-1 cup Nutella
- 1/4 cup hazelnuts, more or less to taste (optional)
- In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks until well blended and smooth. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, salt, and sugar until the sugar dissolves.
- Pour a small amount of the warmed milk into the egg yolks and stir gently to loosen the yolks, then pour the yolks back into the pan containing the warm milk and sugar.
- Continue to cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
- Strain the custard into the heavy cream. At this point, you are supposed to set the custard into an ice bath and cool it thoroughly. I almost never do this.
- Refrigerate the custard until it is thoroughly chilled, at least 8 hours, or overnight.
- Gently toast the hazlenuts until they are aromatic. Rub together to remove the skins and roughly chop.
- After the custard is chilled, set the Nutella in a double boiler and simmer until Nutella is pourable.
- Freeze the ice cream in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturers directions.
- When ice cream is finished, add the hazlenuts and continue churning until incorporated.
- Once nuts are incorporated, pour the warm Nutella, very, very quickly, in one or two large spoonfuls into the churning ice cream. Churn for only a few seconds–just until the Nutella is incorporated.
- You can return the ice cream to the freezer to finish freezing. Or you can give in and eat it immediately.
I guess I feel about recipes the way some people feel about mountains. It’s there in front of you, so why not give it a shot? There is really no pressing need to make nutella (you could push it and say there’s no pressing need to eat nutella, but I won’t go so far), but when you find a recipe that looks so easy, and promises a result so delicious, why not? Besides, it’s summer. And in summer, we say yes.
1 cup hazelnuts
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil
Preheat the oven to 350. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for 10-11 minutes, or until fragrant. Wrap them in a kitchen towel and rub them to remove the skin; use your fingers as they cool and do the best you can — it won’t all come off. Let the nuts cool.
Grind the nuts in the food processor until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and continue blending until smooth and spreadable.
This keeps at room temperature for three days, apparently, or in the fridge for two months, but we wouldn’t know.
I know I’ve posted this recipe for Oreos before, but it is so easy, and so delicious, it’s worth reposting. This time I happened to make pink filling for Valentine’s Day, but you could make egg-shaped Oreos with pastel filling for Easter, or baseball Oreos for your kid’s team, or you could simply make Oreos today because it is Friday and that’s as good a reason as any.
In a mixing bowl, beat till fluffy
1 cup room temperature unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
In a separate bowl, sift together
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa*
1/2 tsp salt
Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter to make a stiff dough. Remove from the bowl, knead a couple times on a lightly floured board to make sure it’s fully combined, then shape into a disk and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°. Cut the dough into quarters. Working with one quarter at a time and keeping the remainder cold, roll out to about 1/4” thickness. Cut into circles or whatever shape you desire, place on a cookie sheet, and bake 15 minutes or till firm. Cool on a rack. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
When cool, make sandwiches with the following filling:
1/2 cup room temperature unsalted butter beaten till fluffy with
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar and
1/2 tsp. vanilla
*Note: I use half regular cocoa and half black cocoa (available from King Arthur Flour) for a real “oreo” color.