Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tuscany and a Quick Recipe

We're getting ready for our next BIG adventure. We're going to Tuscany for 10 days at the end of April. So far, we've booked our flights, booked a B&B in Tuscany where the owners are formerly from CA and are a cookbook author and and artist. They have an organic olive grove and press their own oil (for sale, of course). Then we will go north to Lucca, Florence and Siena.

Plans are still coming together for that part of the trip - stay tuned! Meanwhile, here is one of our favorite "Guilty Pleasures"... very Italian!

From an Italian Foodie Blog........

I don’t think Nutella needs any introduction, but what you might not know is that this famous worldwide chocolate spread passed through a series of transformations before becoming the nutella you know now. Originally it had a loaf shape and had to be sliced to be placed on bread. It then transformed to a spread and was named “pasta gianduja”. Pasta meaning paste, in this case, and gianduja was referring to the famous carnival mask from the Piedmont region. Its origins date back to 1940, just at the beginning of War World II. At that time chocolate was hard to find, so Mr. Pietro Ferrero added hazelnuts which were, and still are, abundant in Piedmont and created an affordable snack for everyone. In 1964 Nutella® became the creamy chocolate hazelnut flavor we all know. I’m amazed that after so many products disappeared over the years that nutella has remained and has become part of our Italian culture.
I have a special affection to nutella because it reminds me of my childhood. I used to eat it spread on a soft slice of white bread just like in the picture on the label, but my favorite way was, and still is, to eat it directly from the jar. I know I Know I shouldn’t but it’s such a delight. I’m not able to resist nutella, when I see a jar of nutella my hand reaches out for the spoon and there’s nothing that can stop it from dipping into the chocolate. That’s exactly what happened when I prepared these mini croissants. I finished the rest of the jar slowly a little bit at the time and at the end of the day, to my surprise, it was magically gone as well as all the croissants.
These croissants are fast to prepare and can be an energetic breakfast or a mid afternoon snack for your kids. They’re easily ready in 20 minutes and they can also be eaten at room temperature if you’re able to resist. Mine were gone before they could cool off.

Mini croissants with Nutella®
1 round or rectangular puff pastry sheet or 1 can crescent roll dough
Powdered sugar (optional)

Yields: 12 croissants

Heat up the oven to 350°Cut the puff pastry sheet in 12 wedges if round. Or cut crescent rolls in half, making 16 triangles from a can. Place a heaping teaspoon of nutella on the wider end of the wedge and roll it until you form a croissant. Pinch the ends of it and give it a crescent shape.Place all the croissants on a baking sheet covered by parchment paper and bake for 10-15 minutes.Let them cool for 5 minutes, if you’re able to wait. Before serving them you can sprinkle them with powdered sugar, too.

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