My first memories of Nutella are from way back when, during my first semester at Columbia. That’s when I first tasted this hazelnut and chocolate blend of European origin. I’ve loved it ever since. Somehow, it brings back memories of my time at alma mater. For a lot of people, Nutella is the taste of childhood memories. For me, the taste reminds me of truly feeling like adult. On my own, in a strange city, thousands of miles from family, and being fine. Happy even.
It also reminds me of one the only phases in my life during which my fridge wasn’t packed. A bit of context: I’ve never truly been That Girl with a sparsely packed fridge. (What a blessing, to have this problem). Anyways, if anything, I’m That Other Girl with both a fridge and freezer that are packed. Packed, I say. To the point that my current freezer appeared to not be working some months back. So I called my super. And he called a repairman. My landlord paid the guy to come out and tell me (wait for it). . .
. . .that my freezer was too packed, and it’d start working again swimmingly if I just got rid of some stuff, already.
Oh dear. I’m sure my psychologist friend and I could have a field day with analyzing why I do this to my appliances.
Turns out the repairman was right. But I consoled myself by telling myself that my lack of common sense had kept this guy working, at least for part of one day. My own personal contribution to the economy, and during a recession, no less!
Anyways, the point here being that my time at Columbia was about the only time that I had a fridge that wasn’t jammed to the max. I’m not sure exactly why (again, my shrink friend could probably be of help here. . .)
The edibles I did have on hand, were of the highest quality (for a student). In no particular order, most all of it purchased from Westside Supermarket:
- Nutella (yes, I kept it in the fridge. No I am not THAT dumb. I just wanted to prevent myself from gobbling tons of it at room temp, because, admit it, it tastes better at room temp).
- Smoked gouda cheese (HAD to be smoked!)
- Almonds (usually smoked)
- Bagged spinach
- Alcohol (wine and vodka, mostly)
- Lindor truffles by Lindt (this was back before they were available at a Wal-Mart near you)
- A roasted chicken (sometimes)
- Bread (kept in the fridge to prevent it from molding)
- And yes, I had a tendency to “fridge” things that really shouldn’t be “fridged.” I’ve learned. I think.
But mostly I lived off of cheese, almonds, and spoonfuls of Nutella. And I drank quite a few meals, I must say. Ahem.
I certainly wasn’t ambitious enough to throw together mini-nutella cakes back during my Columbia Daze, which is too bad, because they’re so simple. The cakes, not the Columbia Daze. Gluten-free wasn’t a buzzword back in those days, either, but hey, we’ve all moved on, haven’t we? I know I have…I’ve evolved enough that the meal I drink most nowadays is a green smoothie for breakfast. And I now realize one can eat Nutella in ways that don’t involve licking it off the spoon. At least sometimes. Ahem…
Nutella Cakes (Gluten Free, Kinda High in Protein)
Yield: 3 to 4 small cakes. Depends on the size of your ramekins or whatever small, oven-safe bowl you bake them in. Recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, etc.
- 1/2 cup coconut flour (could use gluten free flour of choice, or if GF isn’t a concern, regular flour should work here, too. I like coconut flour because it’s rich, and has a lot of protein and fiber)
- 1/2 cup Nutella (Thank you Costco, for keeping my Nutella costs in line; if vegan is a concern, find a vegan chocolate hazelnut or almond butter)
- Splash of milk of choice (amount can vary…start out with a Tablespoon)
- 1/3 cup chocolate chips plus a Tablespoon or two extra
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. As oven heats, in a mixing bowl, combine the flour and milk. Mix lightly until pasty, but still pliable. If too dry, add in a bit more milk.
2. Add in Nutella and stir until combined.
3. Fold in chocolate chips.
4. Spoon mixture into small ramekins (fill them 2/3 to 3/4 full). Top each cake with a few reserved chocolate chips. Bake for 15 minutes. (Check for doneness after 10-12 minutes, by poking a knife or a fork into center of cakes). Personally, I like my cakes a bit undercooked and gooey, and hey, it’s safe to do that here, because there are no eggs in this recipe.
BRIA’S NOTE: If vegan and/or gluten free are of concern, be sure to double check all your ingredients’ labels. Can bake one at a time. Keep the remaining dough, covered, in the fridge. Load up a ramekin and bake when desired/as needed. Because we all need chocolate sometimes, yes? Plus, the one little dessert at time is a very college-like thing, isn’t it?