Nutella Swirled Banana Bread
The first time I tried nutella was in France, on my honeymoon. I thought French kids were the luckiest people on earth. There was no way my mom would have given me a chocolate hazelnut spread on anything. (For the record it was the 1960s, she was a hippy and didn't allow any sugar at all. Hence my full on sugar rebellion and career as a pastry chef.) French kids get nutella for breakfast, on their bread at lunch or as a late night snack. They all seemed healthy enough, so I think the French moms are on to something. My honeymoon was 23 years ago and in the meantime we Americans have had a hazelnut spread revolution of our own. Now you can find it on the shelves of costco and seven-eleven. My house is never without a jar. I've spread nutella on just about everything, but one of my favorites is freshly baked banana bread. In an "aha! moment" I decided to swirl the nutella right into the batter and bake them together. I'm not claiming to have discovered this combo, but I believe this may be the tastiest pairing ever there was. I now always make two loaves, otherwise it disappears too quickly. One we eat while it is still warm and a bit gooey, the other sits for breakfast the next day. It is magnificent and super simple to make. Recipe: Nutella Swirled Banana Bread Makes 2 loaves 3 large or 4 medium (2 cups mashed) bananas, yellow with brown speckles 1 cup brown sugar, packed 4 ounces (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted 1/2 cup milk 2 large eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 3 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1/2 cup nutella To make the banana bread: Preaheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pans with butter, lined with buttered parchment. Mash the bananas with a potato masher, so they still have some small lumps, set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, butter, milk, eggs and vanilla. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar/butter mixture, just until smooth. Add the bananas and mix just until they are combined. Heat the nutella in a microwave for about 20 seconds to soften it. If you don't use a microwave, you can heat the nutella over a double boiler for a couple of minutes. Drizzle 2/3 of the nutella over the banana bread batter. Using a rubber spatula gently fold the nutella into the batter, trying not to over mix, so you can see the swirls when it is baked. Carefully divide the batter into the pans, trying not to overly mix the batter, so the swirls stay well defined. Add the rest of the nutella and swirl into the batter. Bake for about 45 mintues or until a tester comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for about 10 mintues. On a cooling rack. Remove and eat one of them while it is still warm and gooey. Save the other for the next day and serve with more melted nutella.