Nutella-Stuffed Cinnamon Sugar Muffins

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There is a burst of chocolate in every bite of these tall, domed muffins with beautiful crackled tops. The batter is laced with cinnamon and nutmeg and stuffed with Nutella. Fresh-out of the oven, the muffins are dunked into butter so that every crevice is coated with a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar. The finished product has the fluffiness of a donut but the soul of a muffin.

Nutella was invented during the 1940s when cocoa was in short supply. An Italian pastry baker used hazelnuts to enhance the chocolate he had in his bakery. Mixed with hazelnut, a family could use a jar of spreadable chocolate for many weeks. Nutella owner, Michele Ferrero, sometimes referred to as a real-life Willy Wonka, died last Saturday (yes, Valentine’s Day) at the age of 89.

This recipe is a keeper not only because it’s scrumptious, but also because its ingredients are mixed in a single bowl. So get out your (one) bowl and start baking.

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Nutella-Stuffed Cinnamon Muffins (makes 8)

6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk (cow, almond, soy)
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour
1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
8 tsp Nutella

Cinnamon-Sugar Topping

1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp unsalted butter

1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl mix together the butter and sugar. Mix in the egg, vanilla extract, and milk.
3. Gently stir in flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. (Do not overmix – stir until just combined).
4. Into each muffin cup, spoon 1 heaping Tablespoon of batter. Then, add 1 teaspoon of Nutella in the center, and spoon another heaping Tablespoon of batter on top. (If the muffin tins are completely full, that is ok. They will not overflow.)
5. Fill the empty muffin tins halfway with water for even baking.
6. Bake at 425 F for 5 minutes. Keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce temperature to 350 F and bake for an additional 12-15 minutes until batter is set.
7. Allow muffins to cool for about 5 minutes.
8. While the muffins are cooling, make the cinnamon-sugar topping: Melt the butter for about 30-60 seconds in the microwave. In a separate small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon.
9. Dip the top of each muffin into the melted butter and then dip into the cinnamon-sugar mixture (swirl them around to ensure they are thickly coated). Set muffins upright on a wire cooling rack.

*Notes:

-Muffins stay fresh for up to one week in an airtight container.
-Muffins freeze well, up to 3 months.
-Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring them to room temperature before serving in the morning. Or, zap frozen muffins in the microwave (10-15 seconds).

 

 

Strawberry, Banana & Nutella Muffins

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If you like Nutella, here’s a delicious fusion of the chocolate-hazelnut spread with strawberries and banana.

The spread was invented during the 1940s when cocoa was in short supply. An Italian pastry baker used hazelnuts to enhance the chocolate he had in his bakery. Mixed with hazelnut, a family could use a jar of spreadable chocolate for many weeks. Nutella owner, Michele Ferrero, sometimes referred to as a real-life Willy Wonka, died last Saturday (yes, Valentine’s Day) at the age of 89.

These crumbly muffins are a muffinized™ version of the crepe filled with chocolate, sliced banana, and fresh-cut strawberries.

The bananas and strawberries add vitamins and fiber to the classic Nutella sandwich on white bread, which kids in Holland and Israel love to eat for lunch.

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Strawberry, Banana & Nutella Muffins (makes 18-20)

3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
½ cup canola oil
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk (If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, pour 1 Tbsp of vinegar into a measuring cup, add 1 cup of milk and let sit for 5 minutes.)
1½ cups fresh strawberries, chopped/diced
2 ripe (but not mushy) bananas, sliced thin
½ cup (more or less) Nutella

Topping:
1 Tbsp turbinado sugar
1 Tbsp Nutella

1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, eggs and vanilla.
4. Gently fold in the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk. NOTE: DO NOT overmix! Mix only until all the flour has been incorporated and the majority of lumps are gone.
5. Gently fold in the strawberries.
6. Spoon some batter into each cup, about 2 tablespoons.
7. Place two banana slices at the bottom of each liner.
8. Spoon or pipe ½ Tbsp or so of Nutella over the banana slices. NOTE: You may put Nutella in a ziploc sandwich bag, cut the tip and squeeze it over the banana (much easier than spooning).
9. Fill each muffin cup with the remaining batter to ⅔ full, making sure to get strawberries in each cup.
10. Top each muffin with a generous sprinkling of sugar and drizzle some Nutella on top.
11. Bake muffins for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
12. Let cool in pan for 4-5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

NOTE: If you want to eat these warm, you can, but I suggest letting the muffins cool for at least 30 minutes so the Nutella has time to set.