Nutella Brownies

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I am sure many of you will be either hosting or going to a Super Bowl party this Sunday.  I do not usually partake in that American tradition, but I do enjoy the good eats that are usually involved. All of those appetizers, snacks, finger foods, messy foods, sandwiches, chilis, SWEETS, etc...!  Now that's a party I can get after! Well here is another recipe you can add to that sweet table or simply to your recipe caché.  

How many of you keep that lip smacking, super delicious, chocolate hazelnut spread in your pantry?? Oh is my hand ever raised! I actually keep both size jars, the larger 26.5-ouncer and the smaller, 13-ouncer. Why you ask? Well the big one we use for slathering on just about anything and the smaller one is just right for this recipe because you use the entire 13-ounces (1 1/4 cup, divided).  But really, size does not matter here😉.  

The cool thing about this recipe is that there is no cocoa powder.  You don't even to melt chocolate. It is just Nutella, sugar, eggs, and flour. Well, of course, there is vanilla and a little salt.  I do like to add a little espresso powder because it always bumps up the chocolate flavor in most desserts, but if you don't have it, don't worry about it.  Remember that I said the Nutella is divided? Well that is because Nutella is in the batter and then it is dropped by teaspoons then swirled on top of that luscious batter.  Swoon! They should be called double Nutella Swirl Brownies.  Once baked, the "brownie batter" comes out with the perfect cake to fudge ratio with a nice shiny top.  And the Nutella swirl? Well, that stay in its natural Nutella glorious state.  My jaws just cracked!  

I like to finish the brownies with a little sprinkle of sea salt as soon as they come out of the oven because I like a little salt with my sweets, but again, that is optional. What is not optional is making these wonderful squares of Nutella heaven.  Don't put the recipe in a file, in your reader or in your bookmark.  Put it on your counter on bake away! 

Nutella Brownies
yields 12 brownies

5 Tablespoons (2 1/2-ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 extra large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (1, 13-ounce jar) Nutella, divided
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon espresso powder 
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
Pinch of sea salt (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Make a foil sling for an 8-inch square baking pan by folding 2 long sheets of aluminum foil so each is 8-inches wide.  Lay the sheets of foil perpendicular to each other, with extra foil hanging over the edges of the pan, smoothing foil flush to pan.  Lightly spray with baking spay; set aside.

With a hand-held mixer and a large bowl or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute.  Add the brown sugar and beat on high speed until well blended, about 1-2 minutes.  Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl.  With the mixer on low, add the eggs and vanilla.  Beat on medium-high speed until combined.  Add 1 cup of Nutella, salt and espresso powder and beat until smooth and fluffy.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  With the mixer on low speed, add the flour, mixing just until combined. (Do not over mix). Scrape down the sides of the bowl and give the batter a brief final stir.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Drop teaspoons full of the remaining 1/4 Nutella on top of the batter.  Using the tip of a knife, swirl the Nutella into the batter. 

Bake the brownies for 32-36 minutes.  Using a toothpick inserted into a batter section, test for doneness. 
The toothpick should come out with only a few moist crumbs. Sprinkle with sea salt if using.

Allow the brownies to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack.  Once cool, use the foil overhand to lift the brownies out of the pan and cut into squares. Brownies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days.  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from The Cookies and Cups Cookbook by Shelly Jaronsky


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