Gianduja, or Nutella as we know it today, has a very long history, dating as far back as 1806 in the Alba, Piedmont region of Italy, during the times of Napoleon Bonaparte’s Continental Blockade in Europe. The Piedmont region of Italy was known for having the world’s best chocolate at that time, and chocolate was very difficult to obtain and was also very expensive even when it was attainable because of the blockade. So with a shortage of chocolate, another plan was conceived that would still satisfy the world’s ever increasing sweet tooth and its desire for chocolate. Piedmont had an abundance of hazelnuts and the ingredients for cocoa were very difficult and expensive to obtain. The original gianduja was created by an Italian pastry chef by mixing hazelnuts, that were very prevalent in the Piedmont region, with just a hint of chocolate. Once Napoleon’s Continental Blockade ended and chocolate once again became easily obtainable, gianduja lost it’s popularity. It became popular throughout Italy and the rest of Europe once again after World War II, when once more, chocolate and the ingredients necessary for making chocolate, were in short supply. The gianduja was mixed with cream to make a creamy, more chocolatety texture and was called Supercrema Gianduja, by an Italian pastry chef named Pietro Ferrero; yes, the same Ferrero from the world famous chocolate hazelnut concoction known and loved by the world as Ferrero Rochere. But this was a mouthful. and in 1964, the name was changed from Supercrema Gianduja to Nutella. Nutella has been an Italian and European staple ever since. It has only recently started gaining a lot of popularity in the United States, but I think it is a staple here too, and is now here to stay. Today, Nutella is used in many different and delicious recipes worldwide.
I paid tribute to my love of Nutella by making Nutella banana brownies. Yum! Brownies are a beloved tradition here in the United States, and by making them with Nutella, they took on a little more of an international and European flair. Adding bananas just made them even more exotic. They are full of flavor and full of personality. You are going to love them; I promise.
These ooey-gooey brownies just melt in your mouth and are like a little bit of Heaven with every bite. Make sure you have plenty of napkins, because they are very messy.
When you have bananas that look like this, don’t throw them away. They are just perfect for baking.
Mash the bananas into chunky pieces and mix with the Nutella and chocolate chips.
Layer the brownie mixture and the Nutella-banana mixture, ending with the Nutella-banana mixture on top and bake.
Once the brownie mixture is set and no longer wiggles and jiggles, the brownies are done. Remove from them the oven and let cool completely before cutting. They will be very soft and very ooey and gooey. This is exactly the texture you are looking for.
Chocolate Nutella Banana Brownies
3/4 cups butter, melted
3/4 cups brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cups cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup Nutella
1/2-3/4 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350* F
Spray cooking spray into a 9×9 baking pan
Mash the bananas and mix with the Nutella and chocolate chips and set aside. Mix together all the dry ingredients and set aside. Then mix the melted butter, eggs, vanilla and sugar. Add the egg and butter mixture to the brownie mixture. Pour 1/2 the batter into the prepared baking pan. Add about 1/2 of the Nutella mixture and repeat. Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until the mixture sets and the brownies do not jiggle. Do not over cook. You want the brownies to be soft, ooey and gooey. Cool completely before cutting. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.