Southern Gal vs. Crepes

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You ever get that itch that you just can’t scratch? That urge to do something that you can’t stop focusing on? The bug up your….well, you get the point by now. I had this crazy urge to attempt to make Crepes for my first time. With a little help from step-by-step instructions provided by my trusty friends at Williams-Sonoma, I stumbled through it rather well I must say.

I knew I had Nutella in the pantry, I had just bought some Strawberries, and I had some Powdered Sugar. Hello people! We were in business at that point! Three of the most important food groups right before your eyes. Yum!

It all began with a morning email from Williams-Sonoma. Now mind you, I get up around 5:30 to 6:00 a.m. every morning. So, when I say this was a morning email, I mean it. Reading it with sleepy dust in my eyes, mid-stretch, feet haven’t even hit the carpet yet kind of morning email. Maybe this is why I set my mind to doing Crepes, because it was too early to make a sound decision. *smiles*

Honestly though, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. The special feeling that goes through your body and mind as you pour the batter in just the right way, you rotate your pan in the right direction, you stand diligently over the pan waiting on that first one to flip (wondering what in the world am I doing!)…you really feel like you are stepping out on a limb and branching out, so to speak, in your own little culinary world. Next, I will be attempting to make Savory Crepes instead of the Sweet Crepes I made this time.

This could get very interesting!

This is the first one. Never get discouraged in the kitchen. If that was the case, I should have stopped with this one. *smiles*

Below you will find the link to Williams-Sonoma’s recipe on their own blog, The Blender, with instructional pictures. I’m not going to include their pictures, as they are theirs, but I will encourage you to go to their site and look at them for a guide. I wasn’t brave enough to show you the debacle of myself attempting to make them. They may have turned out well, but it was funny. *big smiles*

Please get adventurous! Put whatever fillings you want to in yours. It’s your kitchen! They suggest leaving out the sugar if you decide to fill them with savory items.

Below is their recipe…

Williams-Sonoma Sweet Crepes (my comments are in parenthesis)

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • Melted unsalted butter for greasing pan (this is really important, folks!)

Directions:

Prepare crepes according to the directions below. Serves 4.

Add ingredients to the blender

To make the crepe batter, in a blender, combine water, milk, flour, sugar and vanilla. Crack the eggs into a small bowl. Check for shells and then add the eggs to the blender.

Blend until smooth

Blend the mixture until very smooth and free of lumps. Pour the batter into a large liquid measuring cup or a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day. (Mine was in the fridge for 3 hours.)

Grease the pan

Using a pastry brush dipped in melted butter, lightly grease the entire surface of a 9-inch crepe pan or nonstick fry pan and place over medium heat. (I did it the only way I could. I opened a stick of butter, wrapped the wrapper around one end, held the butter on the wrapped end, and smeared the butter in the pan after each one. You know you do this too. *wink wink*)

Swirl the batter in the pan

Fill a 1/4-cup ladle with batter to just below the lip. Holding the pan at an angle above the burner, pour the batter into the pan close to one edge. Quickly whirl the pan so the batter covers the entire bottom of the pan. This should happen very fast since the batter will start to cook upon contact with the hot pan. (This was much easier than they make it look on Hell’s Kitchen.)

Cook the crepe

Cook, shaking the pan from time to time, until the crepe begins to bubble, the bottom is lightly browned and the batter looks set, about 1 minute.

Flip the crepe

Use a small offset spatula to lift the edge of the crepe, then carefully grasp the edge and quickly flip the crepe over in the pan. Cook until the second side is slightly browned and set, about 10 seconds more.

Stack the crepes.

Transfer the finished crepe to a plate. Repeat to cook the remaining batter, greasing the pan with more butter each time. Stack the cooked crepes on the plate between squares of wax paper. (I personally didn’t have time to stack mine. My parents were over, and as soon as I got one out of the pan, I was slathering Nutella on it and placing slices of fresh Strawberries on it, sprinkling it with Powdered Sugar and wrapping it up to serve. They were so good!)

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***Nutella Recipe: Nutella Love Cups

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I can’t believe I did that!  I forgot the most requested, most yummy recipe from the World Nutella Day party…that’s horrible! 

This recipe is what happens when Cream Cheese and Nutella get together and make a baby…These little guys were soooooooooo amazing.  I suggest you make these for your next appetizer party, or if you need a fun mini-dessert, or heck, if you just want to indulge in some Nutella. 

I can’t begin to tell you how much I loved these!  Honestly, I just love preparing items with the little mini-filo cups.  Just like my dear croissants, they are very versatile.  This recipe, I snagged from Nicisme with Cherrapeno.com.  Nicisme had a beautiful recipe all outlined and photographed beautifully (everything is beautifully photographed on this site, must see!).  Needless to say, I altered it slightly, and made it easier on myself.  Nicisme made the filo cups, and I bought them pre-made out of the freezer section.  By all means folks, if you have the talent to make them homemade, please do!  Otherwise, if you aren’t as talented as Nicisme, and you are more like me, you can find them in your local grocer’s freezer section near the cool-whip and frozen fruit.

You can find Nicisme’s recipe by clicking here.  My recipe is below…

Nutella Love Cups

  • 1/2 block of cream cheese  (4 ounces)
  • 1 cup Nutella
  • white chocolate chips
  • 60 mini-filo pastry cups (4 boxes, 15 in each box)
  • chopped hazelnuts or pecans (I normally find it hard to locate hazelnuts around these parts, so I opt for local-grown pecans.)

Directions

  1. Follow the instructions on the package for thawing the cups and lay out together on wax paper on the counter.
  2. Blend the cream cheese and Nutella together until smooth and creamy.  Set aside.
  3. Empty the white chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl and nuke in 30-second increments, stirring after each time, until the chips are melted and smooth.  This might take about 3 times, be careful not to burn them.
  4. Take a spoonful of the melted chocolate and being slowly tilting it above the cups to allow a string to start falling.  Then, move back and forth to create zig-zags over all of the cups and to give them a nice pretty coating to your liking.
  5. After the chocolate is done, put a dollop of the Nutella mixture in each one.  It won’t take much, as these are small capacity cups.
  6. Next, sprinkle the chopped pecans or hazelnuts over the batch sparingly.  You don’t want the nuts to overcome the pretty designs you just made…..*smile*
  7. Refrigerate for an hour to set the chocolate and serve. 

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A delicious, simple, homemade “pop-tart”…

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If you saw the Nutella Fortune Cookie recipe, you may remember I mentioned something about making my own strawberry pop-tarts by altering the dough to non-chocolate.  I finally tried it!

Four ingredients make up the dough.  I altered it to where I believed it would make it lower calories, but it seems, after the actual addition, the are each around 400 calories.  Now, I will say I divided the dough and made four tarts.  You could easily roll the dough out thinner, and yield more, thus lowering the calories per tart. 

With that out of the way…let’s get on to the tarts!  You can see the original recipe for the Nutella Fortune Cookies by clicking here.  When I altered the recipe, I subbed the cream cheese for one 4 ounce container of my secret ingredient…Activia Vanilla Bean Yogurt.  Yes, I said yogurt.  It ended up adding just the right amount of vanilla to where I didn’t add the extract originally called for. 

In place of the Nutella on the inside, I used Smuckers Seedless Strawberry Jam.  This was an amazingly delicious addition.  I can only imagine how it will taste with homemade strawberry jam in it when strawberries come into season. 

I hope you will try this simple recipe.  You could mix all of this in a stand mixer, but I used a bowl and a spoon.  Sometimes, doing things by hand makes things exciting.  Sometimes, doing things by hand makes things more difficult.  Completely up to you of course.  The one thing to please remember, that oddball shapes make homemade/from scratch more unique.  Your tarts don’t have to be perfectly square or rectangle.  *smiles*

Homemade Strawberry Pop-Tarts

  • 1 stick margarine (softened)
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of Splenda (granulated for baking)
  • 1 – 4 ounce Activia Vanilla Bean Yogurt container

Directions

  1. Mix the margarine, Splenda and yogurt together until all margarine lumps are well blended.
  2. Add the flour to the mix and mix until a dough ball forms. 
  3. You can place the dough ball into the refrigerator if you want to for 30 minutes to 1 hour to make it easier to work with.  I went straight into rolling it out after making it. 
  4. Roll out the dough and divide into the shapes you want to make your tarts, allowing enough dough to fold over and seal.
  5. Place a dollop of Strawberry Jam on each section.
  6. Fold over and press edges to seal.  I pressed, and then took a fork and pressed around the edges to create a little design.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until when pressing on the dough it feels like the texture of a done pie crust.
  8. Cool on a wire rack until you can’t stand the temptation anymore, and you have to dig in.

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Things to lick off your fingers…

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**Let’s face it folks, this post could go many different ways.  I only ask that you stay focused on food for this post.  **smiles**

With all of these sanitizers, wipes, soaps, etc. out there, one can’t help but resist the urge to lick their own fingers.  You know as well as I know that if you lick your fingers shortly after putting on lotions or sanitizers, you are bound to taste the yuckiness of something that isn’t meant to be licked.  Therefore, before I eat, I never put on lotions or sanitize.  I invite you to rebel with me!  The most I do is wash my hands with a non-scented soap thoroughly.

Licking your fingers is half the fun of eating some dishes, and heaven forbid you get a bitter aftertaste while licking brownie batter off your finger.  It might make you think something’s wrong with the brownies…

There are two things I feel very strongly about and don’t heed warnings with.  I don’t hold back from eating raw cookie, brownie, or cake batter because there are raw eggs in it (our ancestors did this for years and lived long, happy lives), and I don’t hesitate to lick my fingers when they look appetizing (we all could use a little taste).

As a result of eating hot wings tonight, I was thinking what were some other items that I enjoy licking off my fingers.  It could be a dab of this, a dribble of that, a sploch of this or drip of that.  If something looks good, and it’s on my fingers, they are going in my mouth.  Anyone grossed out yet?  Great, I’m not either!

Let’s think about it….A few things that are appetizing to lick off one’s fingers…

  • Nutella!!!  (duh!)
  • The chocolate covered cherry you held too long in your hand to where it is leaving melted chocolate spots all over.
  • Hot Wing Sauce
  • Corn on the Cob!
  • Fresh Salsa fallen off the chip
  • Fresh chopped and pitted cherries
  • That little drip of sweet tea running down the side of the glass rim from where you just had your lips pressed to drink.
  • The little dab of Heinz 57 Steak Sauce on the rim of the bottle that you need to clean off before closing the bottle so it doesn’t get “messy”.
  • A dribble of grape jelly that has fallen out of the already slam-packed PB and J sandwich from which you are holding delicately in your hands so as not to squeeze out any more of the goodies.
  • RIBS
  • The remnants of Lawry’s or Sea Salt off of fresh french fries.
  • Fried Chicken is always Finger Licking Good – KFC says so!
  • The sploch of brownie batter that didn’t quite make it in to the pan, but it fell on your clean kitchen counter, so you take your pinky finger and slop it up to lick off.
  • The drip of honey as it creeps off the edge of your hot buttery Southern Buttermilk Biscuit before you can get it in your mouth and it falls right on your hand.

There are so many yummy things, it’s hard to name them.  Don’t think just because you got something on your fingers that you have to immediately wash them off.  Lick them, then wash them……that could be the best bite you just let go!

What are your favorite food items to lick off of your fingers???

Happy finger-licking good times everyone!

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***Nutella Party: Non-Nutella Dishes

nutella day salad

A little break is always needed with all of the richness that comes along with Nutella dishes.  With all of the abundance of Nutella dishes, I had to have something meaty, something light, something crispy, and something cheesy (of course!). 

The items that were non-Nutella were a 7-Layer Salad courtesy of a very loving Maw-Maw, cocktail Shrimp, cheese cubes and crackers, celery, grape tomatoes, carrots, ranch dip, Bavarian Meatballs and jalapeno pretzel bites.

Everything was basic, except for the 7-Layer Salad that Maw-Maw made me for the party.  A lot of guests were wanting the recipe.  So, here it is…Enjoy!

She served it in a trifle dish, and made it kind of a 14-Layer Salad.  This way there was dressing half-way down as well, and you could get a bit of everything.  I have a very clever Maw-Maw!

7-Layer Salad courtesy of Maw-Maw

  • 1 head of lettuce (She used Romaine)
  • 1 Green Pepper, chopped
  • 1 Red Pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • Spring onions to taste
  • Grated or thin sliced carrots
  • 3 cucumbers, sliced
  • 1 can of Little Green Peas, drained (can use  10 oz. frozen,uncooked,thawed,drained)
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Little milk (about 2 tbsp.)
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Bacon bits

Directions

  1. Prepare salad in a large bowl.
  2. Add ingredients, one at a time as listed above each in a separate layer
  3. Do not toss!
  4. Combine mayonnaise, sugar, and milk
  5. Spread on top, then sprinkle cheeses and bacon bits on top
  6. Cover tightly and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
  7. Can substitute any different vegetables if you would like.
  8. 

Bavarian Meatballs

  • 1 bottle of beer (We have grown to enjoy using Yuengling with these.)
  • 1 pack of Meatballs
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup brown sugar

Simmer together in a crock pot on high for 2 hours.  Enjoy!

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**Nutella Party Recipe: Nutella Fortune Cookies

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I can’t begin to tell you how intriguing these little guys were.  From the beginning of reading the recipe from Jessica at MyBakingHeart.com, she informs us that these are not going to be the normal fortune cookie, but rather more of a cake texture.  By the way, check her site out.  Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous site!  Great recipes and beautiful photographs to match.  My pictures of these wonders don’t do them justice like her pictures did.  You can check her site out by clicking here.

Find the full write-up and recipe from Jessica with MyBakingHeart.com by clicking here.  Hers definitely looked more like fortune cookies.  Mine, turned out looking a bit like mini ravioli…lol.

These little guys inspired me a bit as well.  So, you may see an altered version of this recipe pop up later once strawberries come in season here in the South.  They had the texture of pop-tart pastries.  Sooooo, I am picturing a non-chocolate version, square pocket shape, stuffed with homemade strawberry jam!  Homemade Strawberry Pop-Tarts!!!  I’m so excited about this potentially being amazing, and maybe…just maybe (since these fortune cookies are made with Splenda…yes, I said Splenda) a healthy treat for breakfast.  On to the recipe….

Nutella Fortune Cookies courtesy of Jessica with MyBakingHeart.com

(with additions or comments from me in parenthesis beside the ingredients, the rest our Jessica’s comments)

  • 1/2 c butter, softened (I used margarine, either would work)
  • 1/2 package (4 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 c + 2 tbsp Splenda for Baking
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp skim milk
  • 3/4 c Nutella

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and cocoa powder; set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and cinnamon and mix well until combined. Add the flour and cocoa powder to the butter mixture and mix well. Add milk when the dough becomes too hard to mix (this will soften it up and incorporate all of the dry ingredients). Divide the dough into two portions; wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough is chilled and firm (approximately 1-2 hours).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and remove one portion of the dough from the refrigerator. On a floured surface, roll out the dough until it is about 1/4″ thick. Using a round cookie cutter or biscuit cutter, cut circles out of the dough and place them on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Place approximately 3/4 teaspoons of Nutella on each circle, slightly off-center, then fold each circle in half so that the edges meet. Lightly press the edges to seal. Then slowly bring the two points together, (around one of your fingers to make a small indentation in the center) until they’re touching and you’ve got the look of a fortune cookie. Repeat for each portion of dough.

Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes or until the cookies look dull. Remove from the oven, but leave the cookies on the cookie sheet for 2-3 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool.

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**Nutella Party Recipe: Creamy Nutella Cheesecake

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One word to describe this recipe…Wow!  This recipe turned out exactly as it says in the title…CREAMY!  The exact title…Creamy Nutella Cheesecake with Chocolate Ganache and Toasted Hazelnuts.  Unfortunately, I had to leave the toasted hazelnuts off because I was unable to locate them.  Instead, I opted for local-grown Southern Pecans for an added layer of flavor and a touch of the South.  This was a great combination. 

This is a recipe courtesy of Cara with ThePickyApple.com.  You can view her full write-up and recipe by clicking here

This was such a delicious and easy cheesecake.  Another ingredient I couldn’t locate, was chocolate cookie crumbs.  Instead, I opted for Chocolate Teddy Grahams.  There was something so wrong about chopping their cute little smiley bodies up.  But, they made the most amazing crust for the cheesecake!  I ended up making this cheesecake in a 12″ springform pan, so in turn I had to use the whole box of Teddy Grahams to make the crust, basically doubling the crust recipe below.  I think this is a great crust for any cheesecake frankly, and I will probably use it again if I venture into the baking world again soon.  Right now, I’m slightly baked out from all of the party goodies…Enjoy the below recipe and check out Cara’s website!

Creamy Nutella Cheesecake with Chocolate Ganache and Southern Pecans courtesy of Cara with ThePickyApple.com

(with additions from me in parenthesis)

Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (I used the Chocolate Teddy Grahams, 1 box for my 12″ springform pan)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter (I used margarine, either would work)

Filling:

  • 24 ounces cream cheese, softened (3 blocks)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 (13 ounce) jar Nutella (this is the smaller jar)

Topping:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups toasted hazelnuts (or pecans in my case)

Directions for Crust: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small mixing bowl, combine crust ingredients. Pat into the bottom of springform pan and bake for 10 minutes.

Directions for Filling: In the bowl of a mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar, flour and vanilla extract until just combined. Add egg yolks and egg, beat on low until just combined. Add milk and Nutella and mix completely. Pour filling into springform pan. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F. Place springform pan on a cookie sheet and then place in oven. (The addition of the extra margarine in my pan, may have caused some of the margarine to melt out the bottom.  So, the pan sitting on a cookie sheet worked out great for me.  Although, it serves a different purpose for even baking and not burning the crust.)  Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until center appears set when shaken lightly. Remove and cool on a wire rack.

Directions for Topping: Bring cream to a (gentle) boil. Pour over chocolate chips. Stir until smooth. Spread evenly over top of cheesecake. Sprinkle toasted hazelnuts (or pecans) over chocolate. Refrigerate cheesecake for at least 4 hours to set. (Mine set for 24 hours in the fridge.)

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**Nutella Party Recipe: Banana Nutella Brownies

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The very first item I made for our Nutella Party was one courtesy of a co-host of World Nutella Day.  Michelle with BleedingEspresso.com had this wonderful recipe posted for World Nutella Day 2010.  You can find her full write-up and recipe, with her beautiful pictures by clicking here

A personal thank you to Michelle with BleedingEspresso.com and Sara with MsAdventuresInItaly.com for bringing us such a wonderful reason to celebrate!  Oh yeah, and the creators of this delicacy…the folks at Ferrero!

On to the Banana Nutella Brownies!  They were amazing!  Who would have thought that a Banana Brownie would be so delicious?  These were super easy to make, and I always love making items that are from scratch.  You feel like you truly accomplished something at the end.  In fact I had my first “flour-explosion” with my new mixer when I dumped in the flour for the recipe…fun stuff.  Although, I will be the first to admit…with some of the recipes you see from our party on here, you will see I did take quite a few easy short-cuts.  Wait, would we call them short-cuts?  Or, would we call them smart-cuts???  Yeah, I agree…smart-cuts…

I do recommend this recipe.  They come out more cakey than gooey, which is just fine with me.  A lot of guests loved this recipe as well.  A must try!

Don’t forget…keep following, more recipes to come this week and next!

Banana Nutella Brownies from Michelle with Bleeding Espresso

(with my comments in parenthesis)

  • 3/4 cup butter (melted)  (I used margarine.  Either would be fine.)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed (This is always my favorite part of recipes with bananas…the mashing!)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour  (I used all-purpose)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • Nutella to taste (To taste, Michelle?  This was dangerous to say.  I could have used a whole jar! I had to practice restraint for sure on this part.)

1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter into sugars.

2. Add vanilla, egg, and bananas.

3. Add flour and baking powder.

4. Spread mixture into a greased 13 x 9 inch pan.

5. Swirl Nutella into top of mixture. I didn’t use any particular technique other than swirling it around with a knife. Martha Stewart would’ve been appalled, I’m sure.  (I used the knife technique as well.)

6. Bake at 350°F for 35 minutes or until center springs back to the touch and edges are just turning golden.

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**Nutella Party Sneak Peak…**

nutella stand

10 hours of baking yesterday, 6 hours of prep this morning, 2 hours of guests and partying, one VERY successful World Nutella Day Party!

I believe 85% of the guests had not tried Nutella before.  So, of course I was thrilled to be their first experience.  Every single one of them loved it! 

You can find the party menu here

Needless to say, I am completely whooped.  I promise that I will have recipes coming up throughout this next week.  Also, I will be honest when I put them up, and let you know what I would change, what I wouldn’t, and what was a favorite of everyone.  I can say this…everything, and every recipe I made from others was absolutely amazing! So not much will be changed when I post them.  To tide you over until I have the oomph to put the recipes up…I present to you a few of my favorite pictures from the party goodies…YUM!  Enjoy!

The stand I used for a few of the goodies…was borrowed from Mom.  It’s a special made stand that you can interchange the inner dividers to  match your occasion, and you can put different ribbons around the edge of each level.  It worked out great for World Nutella Day labels!  Love it!

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