If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’ll know I love nutella. I’ve been craving brownies lately and instead of turning to my usual brownie recipe, the Baked Brownie, I decided to attempt to incorporate one of Earth’s best chocolaty spreads into one of Earth’s best square shaped treats. I knew that the combination of the Baked Brownie, which is very intense and rich, with any sort of nutella would just be chocolate overload (yes, that is possible). So I decided to use a brownie recipe that I’ve made before from my Williams Sonoma: Dessert cookbook. Its simple, easy, less expensive, and smaller than the Baked Brownie recipe, but still tastes delicious and homemade.
Then came the nutella part. How would I incorporate nutella into these brownies? I did some research via Tastespotting and other food blogs and found that when nutella is mixed into the brownie batter, it loses it’s oh so yummy and distinguishable nutella taste. Not good. Then I went on the hunt for a nutella frosting recipe. I found a few that looked delicious, but didn’t have heavy cream in my fridge and I wanted these brownies now. After a few more minutes of searching for an idea, I came across Sugar Punk’s post on nutella brownies that didn’t involve mixing nutella into the batter or making a frosting. Yay!
Here was her idea: “One pan of brownies (jazzed up with hazelnuts and Frangelico); use the back end of a wooden spoon to poke holes in the warm brownies; fill the holes with Nutella; spread chocolate chips (or callets) on top and heat to melt; sprinkle chopped hazelnuts on top.”
Now, I didn’t have Frangelico or hazlenuts but I liked the idea of creating nutella filled holes in the already baked brownies. So that is what I did. I also used chocolate chips to spread on top to cover the nutella holes.
The verdict? These brownies were good, but fell a little short of my expectations. I used semi-sweet chocolate chips to create the sort of icing on top but I found that it was just too much chocolate. The icing ended up being much too sweet for my liking. When I poked holes in my baked brownies with a wooden spoon, I imagined the nutella melting and oozing inside the brownies. Unforunately, it did not do much oozing but rather stayed in its little hole so each brownie square had a nutella drop right in the middle. Maybe I should have taken the brownies out after 20 minutes, injected the nutella, then put them back in the oven for 10 minutes. Don’t get me wrong though, it was nice to bite into a dollop of nutella but I would have preferred to taste nutella in every bite!
Makes 9 large brownies
Brownie Recipe from Williams Sonoma: Dessert
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, plus extra for greasing
- 3 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup cake (soft-wheat) flour, sifted
- 3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, semisweet chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, or white chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking dish, preferably glass.
In a saucepan over low heat, combine the butter and chopped unsweetened chocolate. Heat, stirring often, until melted, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar and salt. Add the eggs and vanilla and stir until well blended. Sprinkle the sifted flour over the mixture and stir until just blended. Stir in the chips, if using.
Pour the batter into the prepared dish and spread evenly. Bake the brownies until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost completely clean, about 30 minutes, or longer if using a metal pan. While the brownies are baking, fill a pastry bag or a freezer strength zip-lock bag with a hole cut in the bottom corner with nutella. When the brownies are done, use the back of a wooden spoon to poke 9 evenly spaced holes and use the pastry bag to squeeze out nutella into the holes. After each hole is filled, sprinkle the brownies with chocolate chips and put the baking dish back into the oven to let the chips melt.
After a few minutes, take brownies out of oven and using a spatula, spread the chocolate chips so they become a smooth icing. Sprinkle chopped hazelnuts on top of brownies, if desired.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool until the chocolate icing is still tender, like a ganache, before cutting into 2 1/2 inch squares.