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Nutella Recipe for Realz (aka – chocolate hazelnut spread)

There are few guilty pleasures I enjoy more than a flaky piece of baguette lacquered with a thick layer of hazelnut chocolate spread. While the commercial Nutella recipe is certainly delectable, when you try this home crafted version you’ll get a whole new appreciation for this treat! For one, you actually taste the rich hazelnuts (my favorite nut!) and if you use a quality cocoa powder, you’ll get a whole different chocolate profile that with the commercial versions.

The basic recipe I came across on the sugoodsweets blog was simple and delicious. And I even found a short, cute litte video that showed how to do it all in a food processor:

The chocolate hazelnut spread ingredients:

    2 cups whole, warm roasted hazelnuts
    1 cup powdered sugar
    1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    up to 1/4 cup vegetable or nut oil
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract

You really don’t need to add that much oil, if any, and I reduced the amount of sugar on my second batch a little bit, just to get more of the nut flavor I love. But you can experiment to your heart’s delight. Sugoodsweets has a second more elaborate recipe, but I opted for the simple version. I can’t make enough of this stuff to keep Kendra happy, and the guys down at the book shop have been eating it up during our afternoon snack break. Once you make this yourself, you likely won’t want to go back to that famous commercial spread!


Rice Krispie Treats Recipe, with Poet!

With his sister Hero (star of the snack cake episode), Poet is the other half of my dynamic local lemonade stand duo that serves up some of the most reliably delicious street treats you will find. Poet is largely responsible for ringing the “lemonade gong” which announces when their stand is open for business. Luckily, he agreed to stop ringing it one recent weekend morning after I invited him and his sister to share their recipes on video, which worked out really well for all of us!

Poet says the secret to crafting really good rice krispie treats is to make sure you get your marshmallows nice and completely melty, but to be careful not to burn them. I also learned that if you coat your spatula in a little bit of vegetable oil, it makes all the difference when you’re pressing the finished gooey puffed rice ball into your greased pan. No sticking bits! But I have to say that eating these fresh out of the pan reminded me how wonderfully simple a great dessert treat can be.

Poet’s Rice Krispie treats:

Rice Krispie Treats Recipe:

    3 Tbs. butter
    4 Cups mini marshmallows (or 1 package of regular marshmallows)
    6 Cups Rice Krispies
    buttered 9×13 pan

Spicy Nuts Recipe!

Who can resist a tantalizing bowl of spicy nuts? Barring any severe nut allergies, I’d wager the answer is that nobody can resist spicy nuts! Especially these magical nuts spiced by my men’s group friend, Alex. Alex has been doing all kinds of nut spicing over the years, and I think he’s come up with a winning recipe. It’s simple, not too fussy, and goes great with a little bit of bourbon or other evening beverage. My wife Kendra can’t get enough of these nuts.

The secret to this recipe, I think, is to get your nuts nice and toasted in the oven before anything else. When your house starts to smell like nuts, you know you’re on the right track. Don’t burn them though! That would be the wrong track. Once the nuts emerge from the oven, Alex tosses them in a pan with spices and bourbon mixed with sugar and vanilla which helps give the whole mixture a delicious sweet & spicy combo. You’re going to love Alex’s nuts!

Here’s Alex showing how it’s done:

Spicy Nuts Recipe:

    1.5 Cups raw pecans
    2 Tbs. Macadamia nut oil. (or peanut or vegetable will do in a pinch)
    Splash of sesame oil
    1/4 Cup Bourbon
    2 Tbs Sugar
    1 tsp. vanilla extract
    Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

One thing about serving nuts is that you really need the right dish. Kendra and I got this monkey nut dish as a gift once, and we just love the way the monkeys lord over the nuts in the bowl below.

A lovely nut dish, with monkeys.

A lovely nut dish, with monkeys.

You can also use the bowl for fruit if you’d like, but really, it’s about spicy nuts!


Jon’s Lacy Oatmeal Cookie Recipe

One of my favorite things to do on the weekend is to head to the swap meet in the parking lot of my local High School. Under the watchful stare of the Foothill Falcon, people sell all sorts of wares and treasures displayed in cases, boxes, and plastic tarps. While browsing a box of rare Betty Crocker cookbooks, I was offered a delicious cookie by the stand’s proprietor, Jon. We got to talking and it turns out Jon is quite the baker! So, I purchased that box of cookbooks for my shop, and then arranged with Jon to share the secrets of his lacy oatmeal cookie recipe.

And these really are delicious. Flat, crispy, rich with butter and oats — they’re perfect for snacking or even indulging as part of an outstanding ice creamed sandwich! Jon is a big fan of his Kitchenaid Mixer, but you can do this by hand with a spoon if you want. Just don’t forget to use the proper “drop” technique!

Here’s Jon’s cookie wizardry in action:

The Lacy Oatmeal Cookie Recipe:

    1 Cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
    1 Cup brown sugar
    1 Cup white sugar
    2 eggs
    1 tsp. vanilla extract
    1 Cup all purpose flour
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp. baking soda
    4 Cups rolled oats
    1.5 Cups dark and white chocolate chips
    1 Cup Rasins & crazins