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Welcome to Miss Strawberry's Cafe: Nutella Nostalgia

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Nutella Nostalgia

This was my kitchen cabinet five years ago. Hello, my name is Jasmine, and I'm a nutellaholic.

I first fell in love with the chocolatey hazelnut spread when I traveled to Europe after graduating from high school. It was in Paris where we first met to be exact; such an appropriately romantic setting for a love story to begin, isn't it? Just like we have single-serving jam and jelly spreads served at various diners here in the States for your toast, Paris had single-serving nutella packets that you could spread on your croissant or baguette if you so delectably chose to indulge. I don't know why America hasn't caught on yet considering our love for sweet breakfasts - waffles, pancakes, hotcakes, crepes, french toast, the list goes on...

Five years ago, inspired by the way Europe taught me how to spread chocolate on my toast for breakfast instead of jelly, I experimented by baking a jelly roll but substituting the jelly with nutella. Thus, my famous nutella rolls were born. Famous among my small group of friends at least.

In 2005, the University of Pittsburgh chapter of an organization I heavily supported called Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) held a benefit concert to raise money. I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to put my baking love to use for a higher purpose and volunteered to host a bake sale to help out the fundraiser.

Watch for more information on LiNK and life in North Korea.

I took a little over a week to plan out all the different desserts I would bake for an estimate of over 200 people. I wish I could remember the exact counts, but I think I had made somewhere around:

- 80 LiNK cupcakes (pictured above)
- 50 langue de chat cookies
- 40 korova cookies
- 30 chocolate chunk cookies
- 10 nutella rolls
- 1 tray of cheesecake topped brownies
- 1 tray of pineapple coconut squares
- 1 strawberry marshmallow tart
- 1 opera cake
- 1 chocolate mousse cake

Clockwise from top left: cheesecake topped brownies, chocolate mousse cake, nutella rolls, strawberry marshmallow tart, korova cookies and langue de chats, opera cake

Wow, after recounting all of that, I'm pretty surprised at myself for baking that much! The night ended up being a huge success, and I learned that my bake sale helped to pull in most of the funds raised for LiNK! After hardly any sleep and staying up in a hot kitchen, the victory was truly sweet. The highlights of the evening were by far all the marriage proposals I received from many of my lady friends who asked me to be their personal baker, and the several strangers I met who asked if the baked goods were from a professional caterer :)

At the bake sale table with two friends who were my official assistants for the night

Five years have since flown by all too quickly, and I've never baked on a scale as large as the 2005 LiNK Bake Sale. The organization itself has gone through many changes, just like I have; I had left Pittsburgh by the end of that year to Hawaii, and teaching and practicing Tae Kwon Do replaced any time I spent in the kitchen.

But...I'm back!! And so is a newly organized chapter of LiNK at the University of Pittsburgh!

So, if you're around, swing by for a bite! Who ever thought eating delicious sweets could be so meaningful?

Pitt-LiNK Bake Sale
Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2010
@ William Pitt Union Cafeteria
12pm - 4pm

Hope to see you there!

Every bite you take will go toward supporting a refugee from North Korea, like Mi Sun:


Recipe for Nutella Roll (yields 8-10 servings)
Adapted from Old South Jelly Roll recipe by Paula Deen

4 eggs, separated
3/4 cups of sugar
1 Tbs. vanilla
3/4 cups cake flour, sifted
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 jar of nutella

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

Beat egg whites in a small bowl until stiff; set aside.

In another bowl, beat egg yolks until light and frothy. Gradually add the sugar and vanilla. Once mixed well, add the sifted flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture.

Fold in the egg whites, then pour batter into the pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden.

Dust a towel or a large sheet of parchment paper with powdered sugar. Invert the cake onto this while still hot; peel off the wax paper from the cake. Trim the hard crusts along each side of the cake, then roll the cake with the towel or parchment paper. (I like to use a large sheet of parchment paper, where I can hold onto the edges of the sheet to roll the cake tightly). Cool the cake on a rack with the seam side down for 10-15 min. Rolling the cake while it's still hot helps set the shape.

Once the cake has cooled down, unroll and slather on the nutella to your heart's content. Reroll and slice into half-inch thick slices.

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