05 February 2012

Nutella Bullseyes for World Nutella Day 2012

Here we are again on February 5th, at what has come to be known as World Nutella Day according to 2 bloggers, Sara and Michelle that I have come to know through their blogs and other various cyber space adventures. In their own words, "Sara from Ms. Adventures in Italy and Michelle from Bleeding Espresso solemnly declare Sunday, February 5th “World Nutella Day 2012″ – a day to celebrate, to get creative with, and most importantly, to EAT Nutella." You can find them on Facebook, Twitter (hashtag #nutelladayand over at the WND site all day sharing what's going on today.
This is the 6th year they have hosted this event, exhorting  one and all to indulge in what is one of Italy's most beloved treats, Nutella, in any way you see fit, but most of all enjoying it. This is my 5th year to participate. You'll find some links to my other recipes through the years at the bottom of the post. 
Nutella is a fairly sacred household staple in most Italian homes, especially if there are children still at home. It's a staple in our house and we're the only children indulging. It is quite beloved through out Europe as well with Germany being the number one consumer of Nutella. The formula varies from locations and tends to be a stiffer version as you go north and even in America as well, but here in Italy, it is a super creamy chocolate hazelnut spread suitable for spreading on all sorts of things. This year I chose to spread it between two layers of semi crispy cookie layers with the top having a heart cut out of it for a peek a boo effect that would be perfect for using for Valentine's day also. I can't imagine anyone turning away from one of these.  
Nutella has a special place in our hearts here in Piedmont as it was born here in nearby Alba. The combination of milk chocolate and hazelnut was born in Turin due to necessity. Napoleon's blockade made  chocolate supplies difficult and necessitated a  way to stretch the chocolate that the Torinese so loved. Hazelnuts were a natural addition as our region especially from the Langhe territory grew ample supplies of them. It wasn't long before this combination came to be a symbol of Torino. Nutella was born in Alba as a creamier version of the original Gianduja. It was due to shortages due to WWII and the desire to stretch  the favored treat that Nutella was born into the Ferrero family in Alba. There are many claims to the various origins of both Gianduja and Nutella but that is the general story line from my understanding. I found Wikipedia a bit lacking and not really authenticated in its various descriptions. 
Our home here in Chisone valley is a part of the vast  province of Torino and part of Piedmont,  so chocolate hazelnut combinations are an important part of our identity and traditions. That is one of the reasons I enjoy participating in  world Nutella day. I think you will enjoy my recipe for Occhie di Bui con Nutella cookies and if you want to know more about Nutella and have a few more recipes, Sara and Michelle have also put together an inexpensive and fun "Unofficial Guide to Nutella" ebook available at Amazon and you don't need a kindle to read it, just a computer. Check it out.
My recipe for my Nutella Sandwich Cookies was born out of a local cookie specialty called Occhie di Bui or Bull's Eyes. The original cookie consists of two small cookie disks, one that has a disk cut out of the center and the are sandwiched together with jam, usually apricot or cherry, with the tops dusted with powdered sugar. They  seem to give the appearance of an eye or a bullseye. I ran with that theme, making my cookie dough, which here is called a pasta frolla, a combination of ricotta and butter base and used some buckwheat flour for a more unique and wintery flavor. This recipe will work just fine using all butter and all white flour if you prefer, but I think you'll find the buckwheat is a welcome addition. The cookies are not extremely sweet if you forego the powdered sugar and I think you will find them tasty either way with a steaming strong cup of coffee or tea. Oh yes, I used a small heart cutter to cut out the center for a heartfelt treat. The cookies store well in a tin and retained their gently snap over night,  although I think over time they will soften up. 

Nutella Bullseyes or Occhio di Bue con Nutella
Makes 24 - 2 inch/ 4cm sandwiched cookies and several small hearts

1/2c (100g)butter, room temperature
2/3c (125g) sugar, I like organic raw cane sugar, but granulated is fine
1/2c (100g) ricotta
1 t vanilla
1 whole egg
1 yolk
3/4c (115g) buckwheat flour
1 1/2c (220g) white flour
2 t baking powder
pinch salt
**Nutella, enough to sandwich the layers together
I used almost half of a 400g jar of Nutella
Powdered sugar, optional if you prefer a less sweet cookie

Cream your butter together with the sugar till smooth. I mix mine with a flat whisk by hand. If using an electric mixer, don’t whip too much just till it is light and mixed well.
Add the ricotta and and vanilla. Mix well.
Add the whole egg and yolk and mix till completely incorporated.
Blend the 2 flours, baking powder and salt till all is distributed.
Combine the dry ingredients with the egg butter mixture thoroughly mixing, being careful not to handle too much.
Divide the  dough into 2 equal portions, flatten, place back into to your blow, cover and refrigerate the dough for about ½ hour. It will be easier to roll out.
Remove one disk of dough from the cold and keep the other in the fridge while you roll out the disk between sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper, being careful to work as quickly as you can so the dough doesn’t become too warm and sticky. Return dough to the cold if too soft to handle.
You can also roll it out on a floured surface being careful not to pick up and add much flour into to your dough.
You want the dough to be about ¼”/1cm thick.

Too thick and they won’t be so crispy and a big mouthful.
Cut out round disks with a 2 ½ inch (6cm) scalloped cookie or biscuit cutter and lay disks out on greased or paper baking sheets. My trays held about 20 cookies each.
Continue with the second disk till you have used up your dough. I also gathered up my dough scraps and rerolled them to use up all the dough. Keep at least half of the cookies as cold as you can while you roll the others out as it will make it easier when cutting the centers out.
Once you have all the dough cut out and on trays, Take half of your cookies and cut the center out with a small heart or round cutter about 1inch (3 1/2cm). You want to have enough border to keep the cookie together and yet have enough removed to see your Nutella inside.
I kept the heart cut outs intact and baked them as they were.
Bake at 325*F (180*) till lightly brown, about 10 minutes. I am not entirely sure of the time as I have a convection oven that bakes quickly so I tend to bake them on a lower temperature for a shorter time. A regular oven temperature and time may vary. You might need a 350* oven.
Cool so they are manageable and won’t break, but while they are still slightly warm spread your Nutella over the bottoms of the whole disks. The top will sit flat if you use the bottom of your cookies to cover with Nutella.** I use Nutella straight out of my jar as it is super creamy. If your variety isn’t you could soften it up with a little honey or a few drop of vegetable oil.
If you want to dust the tops of your cookies with powdered sugar, do so with a sieve or small strainer before you top the cookies that have the Nutella spread over them.
Other wise top all of your cookies with the cut outs.
I also spread Nutella over half of the heart cookies and sandwiched them together.
Serve with espresso or your favorite hot beverage. 

Prepping the cookies
My previous Nutella day recipe links


Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Happy Nutella Day!!!!

No Win No Fee Lawyers said...

Is is me or Nutella is becoming sweeter and sweeter?

Bella Baita Marla said...

Thanks Bellini. My comments seemed to have disappeared, but thanks for stopping by and commenting.
No Win Lawyers, seems to me you are here for self promotion ,but then I guess we all are.

resep kue kering said...

It seems like to make it not so difficult, i will test at home right after work.Thanks a lot for the recipe

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