You may not remember the old days, before Nutella was available in this country. I do. Those were not happy times. My little kid brain could not fathom why something so marvelous–a chocolate concoction that Italian children spread on bread and ate for breakfast–could not be had in the land of peanut butter and marshmallow fluff.
Nutella was a special treat, reserved for our summer trips to Italy to visit family. It was the first food we requested when we arrived at my aunts’ home in Rome (well, that and the prosciutto they kept hanging in the pantry). We would stuff glass jars of Nutella in our suitcases for the trip home and make them last as long as we could.
The other day I was shoping at The Italian Store, in Arlington, and came across this jar: note the weight in kilos. Times have changed. Price? $69. Don’t think I didn’t consider buying it and lugging it home. But, somehow, rationality prevailed, and I ended up with the 400g jar that you see pictured next to it.
Five years ago, fellow Italian food blogger Sara (Ms Adventures in Italy) started a Nutella appreciation, known as World Nutella Day. She was joined by Michelle (Bleeding Espresso) the following year. Their appreciation has inspired lots of other Nutella lovers to come up with their own tributes.
Although I love it plain and simple, spread on a thick slice of crusty Italian bread (with a chewy crumb), Nutella is also a great ingredient to play around with. Last week, I made a lemon crostata for friends who came to dinner. I had a little leftover pasta frolla (tart dough) so I cut out some cookies and sandwiched Nutella between them. I loved the result–the flaky, buttery cookies with their sticky-creamy filling, and the way the chocolate-hazelnut flavor of Nutella and the bright taste of citrus from the lemon and orange zest in the cookie dough combined so nicely. So, here’s my little tribute to Nutella. I hope you enjoy it. Happy World Nutella Day and Buon Appetito!
Copyright 2011 Domenica Marchetti
The dough for these cookies is the same dough I use to make crostate and tarts. It is easy to assemble and easy to roll out, not to mention versatile and delicious.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies (using a 2 1/2-inch cookie cutter)
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
1 cup (8 ounces/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
Measure the flour, sugar, salt, and lemon and orange zests into the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse briefly to combine the ingredients. Distribute the butter around the bowl and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Add the egg and egg yolks and process until the dough just begins to come together.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gather it together. Knead it briefly and shape it into a disk. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until well chilled.
Sprinkle a little flour onto the work surface and roll the disk out to 1/4-inch thickness. Use your favorite cookie cutter shape to cut out cookies. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and chill for 30 minutes. Heat the oven to 350 degrees while the cookies are chilling.
Bake the cookies in batches for 10 to 15 minutes, until they are set and the edges are very lightly browned. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool 5 minutes. With an angled spatula, remove the cookies from the baking sheet and let them cool completely on the rack.
Spread a little Nutella on the bottom of one cookie. Set another cookie on top of the Nutella filling and press the cookies together lightly. Fill and sandwich together the remaining cookies. Arrange them on a decorative plate and serve.