Banana Nutella Cheesecake

Banana Nutella Cheesecake
Do you ever wonder what life would be like if {fill in the blank}? For instance, what if I had gone to culinary school at SAIT here in Calgary rather than the CIC in PEI? Would I still be cooking? What if I had gone into psychology first? Would I have switched to culinary instead?
Those are some pretty deep life questions and totally hypothetical. I don’t regret any of my decisions, it’s just interesting to consider the alternatives, had I gone down a different path.
Here is another life-altering “what if”; what if I had never discovered Nutella? What would my life look like then?  I probably wouldn’t have an addiction to the chocolate hazelnut spread, for one thing. Can you believe that my first time trying it was at the breakfast buffet of an all-inclusive resort in Mexico? Weird right? I came back home and the first thing on the grocery list was Nutella. I’ve tried to cut back a bit. I figure it’s not the healthiest thing to have on my toast for breakfast every morning but every now and then you’ve got to splurge. The best days are when the jar is almost empty and I get to sit there with a spoon, scraping out every last morsel. More accurately, I think I stand there with a knife, chocolate smeared across my face – there’s no finesse when it comes to cleaning out the Nutella jar.
Nutella in dessert? Make that, a cheesecake with banana oat crust? Mmhmm, we are doing it; banana Nutella cheesecake. Made with light cream cheese, no added sugar in the crust and only 1/4 cup of brown sugar in the filling (along with the Nutella), my Nutella slathered toast is probably worse in terms of nutritional value. But let’s face it, when eating Nutella do we really care about nutrition? Probably not.
I don’t know what my life would have been like without Nutella (pretty sad and pathetic really) but I sure don’t want to imagine living without it now! Maybe that’s a bit extreme, I probably would have survived. I would not have had this banana Nutella cheesecake, but I would have survived. You don’t know what you don’t know so if I had never been exposed to it, I wouldn’t have a clue what I was missing. Perhaps it would have been better that way…
Banana Nutella Cheesecake
Banana Nutella Cheesecake
Banana Nutella Cheesecake

Banana Nutella Cheesecake
Serves 4

Ingredients

Crust
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/2 cup rolled oats

Filling
1 package (1/2 lb.) light cream cheese
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2-3 tbsp. Nutella (or as much as you need/want)

Instructions

1. Heat your oven to 325F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and set it aside.
2. To make the crust, mix together the mashed banana and oats. Press this into your prepared loaf pan.
3. Make the filling by beating the cream cheese until smooth (either an electric hand or stand mixer works best). Once there are no lumps, add the brown sugar and beat again until smooth.
4. Add the egg, beating on low speed until it is fully incorporated.
5. Scrape this mixture into your loaf pan, right on top of the crust.
6. Distribute about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. dollops of Nutella equally around the cheesecake batter. Then use a knife to swirl it in.
7. Bake at 325F for about 25 minutes. The cheesecake should be fully set around the edges but still remain slightly jiggly in the centre.
8. Cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Let it chill for at least 2 hours before slicing and serving the banana Nutella cheesecake.

Banana Nutella Cheesecake
Banana Nutella Cheesecake
Banana Nutella Cheesecake

Nutella Pull Apart Bread

Nutella Pull Apart Bread
I know, I am a cruel person. On the weekend I taunted you with pictures and tweets of this amazing Nutella pull apart bread but waited until now to share the recipe. Let’s embrace Wordless Wednesday and let the Nutella pull apart bread speak for itself, shall we?
Nutella Pull Apart Bread
Nutella Pull Apart Bread
Nutella Pull Apart Bread
Nutella Pull Apart Bread
Nutella Pull Apart Bread

Nutella Pull Apart Bread
Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

3 cups bread flour (or all purpose flour if that is all you have)
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tbsp. instant yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
2 tbsp. neutral flavoured oil
1/2-3/4 cup water

about 1 cup Nutella (more or less, depending on how Nutella-y you want the bread to me)

Instructions

1. Put all of the ingredients (except the Nutella) in the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the dough hook attachment (start with 1/2 cup water).
2. Turn it on to low and mix until everything is incorporated. If the dough looks or feels dry, add more water. Then turn it up to medium and let it go for about 3-5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Feel free to knead it by hand if you do not have a mixer. You are looking for the same smooth final product, it might just take a bit longer.
3. Place the kneaded dough in a well-oiled bowl, cover and allow it to rise for 1-2 hours or until double in bulk. I give that wide time range because depending on how cold or hot your kitchen is, it really varies.
4. Punch down the risen dough and stretch it out onto the counter. Use some flour as necessary to prevent it from sticking. You could use a rolling pin but I find it easier to simply stretch it until it is about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
5. Time to smear the works with Nutella. Go to town, really use as much or as little as you want. You could even switch out the Nutella for peanut butter, sweetened cream cheese, or if you want something savoury, cheese.
6. Slice the Nutella smothered dough into 3 inch wide strips. Stack these on top of each other and then further slice the dough into 2 inch chunks (give or take). Grease a loaf tin and put the pieces of dough into it so that the layers are visible, like an accordion.
7. Cover and allow to rise for about 30-45 minutes, or until doubled again.
8. Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes. Cool slightly and proceed to devour immediately!!! Any leftovers of this Nutella pull apart bread should be cooled before wrapping tightly with plastic wrap and then placing in an airtight container.

Nutella Pull Apart Bread
Nutella Pull Apart Bread