Friday, February 17, 2012

Salted Nutella Cookies

I'm a big fan of the chocolate+salt combination (think Ina Garten's Outrageous Brownies). I am an even bigger fan of Nutella (one of the best inventions ever). In these perfect little cookies, the beloved chocolatey, creamy, hazelnut spread is balanced with the savory, coarse sea salt -- a match made in heaven. 
With Love, Erica

Ingredients:
1 1/2  cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup Nutella
1/3 cup milk
Coarse Salt

  1. Sift together the flour, cocoa and baking powder.
  2. In a separate bowl or a standing mixer, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. 
  3. Add the vanilla and Nutella to the sugar-butter mixture.
  4. In 2 additions (beginning and ending with the dry ingredients) add the milk and dry ingredients. 
  5. Chill the dough in the fridge for about 30 min. 
  6. Take the dough out of the fridge, and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. 
  7. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slightly press down each of the balls and sprinkle with sea salt. 
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes
  9. Cool on a wire rack, and enjoy with a tall glass of cold milk. :)

ratatouille and rosemary breadsticks

Hi there!
Welcome to my new blog, Cannella Vita. Instead of boring you all with a bunch of info about this blog (which I will probably do in a post soon to come!), or an "about me" post (which is also on its way!). I thought it would be nice to jump right in and inspire you all with one of my favorite comfort recipes -- a colorful ratatouille with delicious, homemade, chewy breadsticks brushed with EVOO, sea salt, and fragrant rosemary. I don't really like all of the heavy cream and cheese that goes into some versions of ratatouille -- so I created this recipe that has no cheese, and tons of flavor! Hopefully you all can warm up in this chilly month with this nice ratatouille. As delicious as it is on its own, I also love to use the leftover ratatouille in sandwiches -- a great lunch to pack for school or work! Enjoy! 
With love, Erica
Look at all the vivid colors -- simple vegetables baked together and enhanced with delicious, fragrant herbs and olive oil











Ratatouille
as envisioned by Erica


1 onion, finely chopped
2 squirts amore garlic paste concentrate (I highly recommend this, I HATE chopping garlic cause it makes your hands smell all garlicky -- I get mine at the local Balduccis)
1 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small eggplant
1 smallish zucchini
1 smallish yellow squash
1 longish red bell pepper
Dried Basil
Dried Rosemary
Dried Oregano
Few sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Pour tomato sauce into bottom of an oval baking dish. Squirt the garlic paste into the bottom of the dish add the chopped onion into the sauce, stir in one tablespoon of the olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
On a mandoline, adjustable-blade slicer or with a very sharp knife, cut the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and red pepper into very thin slices.
On top of the tomato sauce, arrange slices of your vegetables from the outer edge to the inside of the baking dish, alternating vegetables and making a pretty pattern :)
Drizzle the remaining tablespoon olive oil over the vegetables and season them generously with salt pepper, and the Italian herbs. Add the sprigs of fresh thyme on top.
Bake for approximately 45 to 55 minutes, until vegetables have released their liquid and are clearly cooked, but with some structure left so they are not completely limp.
Enjoy with some rice, on a sandwich, with my homemade breadsticks. (recipe follows)


Erica's Homemade Breadsticks

For the dough:
3 cups bread flour
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. instant yeast
1¼ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup milk
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. lukewarm water
For the glaze:
2 squirts amore garlic paste concentrate
3 tbsp. melted butter
½ tsp. rosemary
Sea Salt

To make the dough, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine the dry ingredients.  Add the olive oil, milk and water.  Mix until ingredients have formed a dough.  Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.  Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.
Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces.  Roll each piece into a 10-inch long rope. Put ropes on a  baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for 45 minutes, until puffy.
To make the glaze, squirt the garlic paste into a bowl.  Mix with the melted butter and rosemary.
Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Brush the glaze onto the shaped rolls. Sprinkle with sea salt.  Bake until set and lightly browned, about 15-18 minutes.  Let cool slightly before serving. Enjoy freshly baked, breadsticks :)