Bananas for Nutella

A few weeks ago, I received back to back notifications on Instagram. For a second I thought the app was malfunctioning and had tagged me in the same item twice. I then realized that two of my best friends had tagged me in the same @ChocolateCoveredKatie post: Homemade Nutella Banana Bread Muffins.

Guess I’m predictable, huh?

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I have a dangerous relationship with Nutella. You could cover just about anything in the spread and I would eat it up in two seconds flat. This winter, I had to ultimately ban myself from buying jars of it at the grocery store, because they would just “disappear.” It was like I had a little Nutella-addicted elf raiding my pantry. Turns out it was just me.

It doesn’t take a nutritionist to figure out that Nutella isn’t exactly the healthiest thing on the market. Let’s just say that it’s a good thing you have to walk a lot in Europe – otherwise I would’ve gained 50 Nutella-induced pounds in my four months abroad.

So when I saw Chocolate Covered Katie’s post for a healthy, homemade version of the infamous spread, I could’ve cried with relief. And then to stuff it inside of a muffin? Genius.

IMG_9883I encountered an unexpected challenge, though. I couldn’t track down any hazelnuts! Well, more like my mom and brother couldn’t during their respective grocery store trips. Hey, I can’t do it all. Since the third time is a charm, I got myself to the local Whole Foods. They have everything under the sun, so I figured it would be a no brainer. But even that trip took me a while. There are three nut sections, and I only found one hazelnut option buried in the last section. I thought hazelnuts were pretty mainstream…but I guess they’re all chillin’ in the Nutella factory.

The small, two-cup container of nuts cost me $8. I debated putting them back and putting that money towards my mani/pedi fund, but I’d been dreaming about this recipe for so long that I had to make the sacrifice.I think they call that perfection.

Once I got home and reread the Healthy Nutella recipe, I realized I had to roast the hazelnuts and then take the skin off of them. What had I gotten myself into? The roasting was straightforward, but the skin removal felt like it took me years. By the time that was finished and the muffin batter was made, I was ready to retire to my room to read my new Cosmo.

I continued anyway, and began the process of mixing the spread in the food processor. It takes a while to turn nuts into a buttery substance, and I thought my Dad may kill me if I interrupted the ESPYs one more time with the obnoxiously loud processor. Sweets over sports, as they say. Alright, maybe they don’t say that.

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Chocolate Covered Katie hadn’t posted a cohesive recipe – she posted one for the muffin portion and one for the Nutella portion, but I wasn’t sure about the stuffing step. I googled “how to stuff muffins with Nutella” and surprisingly got a lot of hits. I placed one layer of muffin batter into the liners, then placed a dollop of Nutella, and topped it off with another layer of batter. It looked like a significant amount of Nutella, but spoiler alert, it wasn’t. When the muffins eventually came out of the oven, I was disappointed to cut into them and see the tiny trace of Nutella inside. So use my Nutella-deprived sacrifice to your advantage, bakers, and lay that stuff on thick.

This is probably obvious, but I used the full-sized muffin option in CCK’s recipe and I omitted the chocolate chips. I’m all about chocolate, but I didn’t want to take away from my hard earned hazelnut spread. I doubled the batter because CCK noted that omitting the chips would significantly decrease the amount of muffins you could get out of it.

I reduced the baking time from a suggested amount of 19-21 minutes to 14 minutes, and the muffins came out perfectly.

I had a ton of homemade Nutella left over even after doubling the muffin batter, so luckily I was able to make up for the small amount of stuffing by slathering it on the muffins. Full disclosure: I added some Nutella to the middle of my muffin before taking these photographs!

Clearly wasn't kidding about the mani fund.

Clearly wasn’t kidding about the mani fund.

I’m a huge proponent of microwaving any and all baked goods before consuming, so I put some extra spread on my muffin this morning and zapped it for 12 seconds. Perfection.

Despite my initial disappointment with the muffin-t0-Nutella ratio and the tedious stripping of the hazelnuts, this recipe was DEFINITELY a winner in my book. My mom thought so, too. These are right up my alley and I will totally make them again. They’d be a perfect addition to brunch and are just as decadent when eaten as a dessert! The best of both worlds.

Go bananas, you nuts.

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