Nutella Brownies with Chocolate Candy Hearts

Nutella Brownies with Chocolate Hearts

White, milk, or dark chocolate? I know dark chocolate is the healthiest, but I just can’t get down with it. Sometimes if I eat dark chocolate with peanut butter or almonds it becomes almost enjoyable. But plain dark chocolate, no thank you! Whether you use dark chocolate or white, it doesn’t really matter because these candy hearts are mostly about looks, not health.

Chocolate hearts

I feel pretty strongly that brownies should not be frosted. Brownies tastes pretty darn good on their own and topping them with more sugar just seems excessive; since they are already moist and chewy. I didn’t even want to eat them after I put frosting on them. The problem is that they don’t really look good in pictures without frosting. This creates a serious nutritionist versus food blogger dilemma for me. Although I don’t like frosted brownies the answer is to always do what makes your picture look good. If that means frosting, I will frost. But you my friend, you don’t have to. No pressure.

Nutella brownies

I used Nutella in this frosting but I want to be clear that I’m in no way promoting Nutella as a healthy food. The first ingredients in Nutella are sugar and palm oil. I don’t even know how they can call it hazelnut spread since hazelnuts are not at the top of the ingredient list. Do you remember that commercial with the Mom serving her kids Nutella on whole grain toast for a “nutritious breakfast.” Oh that commercial was so infuriating!! Anyway, my point is that its fine to eat Nutella if you enjoy it, but don’t eat it just because the advertisers tell you it’s a healthy food. Nutritionally, Nutella is not comparable to the other nut butters like peanut butter or almond butter.

Do you have any fun non-food Valentine’s Day traditions? When we were little my mom always took us to decorate my Dad’s car at work. We would load it up with pink balloons, hearts, ugly paper doilies. It was a great time. Every year my Dad would act so surprised, even though I’m pretty sure that was just an act because he had to have known it was coming. Anyway, I hope you have a great Valentine’s full of love, pink hearts, and chocolate Nutella brownies! nutella brownies with candy hearts

 

nutella brownies with candy hearts

I stole the recipe for the candy hearts from a Huff Post article which I can’t find anymore. So I will direct you to this article for step by step directions since I’m too lazy to write them all out.

Nutella Brownies with Chocolate Candy Hearts
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 18-20
Ingredients
Candy Hearts
  • 1 bag white or dark chocolate
  • pink food coloring (optional)
  • wax paper
Nutella Frosting
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ⅓ cup of butter
  • ½ cup nutella
  • 1-2 tbsp of milk as needed to thin
Brownies
  • Boxed brownie mix
  • eggs
  • oil
  • water
Instructions
Candy Hearts
  1. Melt chocolate in the microwave or stove under low heat, stirring constantly. Add 2-3 drops food dye and stir if you want pink hearts.
  2. Once completely melted and slightly cooled poor into a piping bag with tip or plastic bag.
  3. Cut the tip of the plastic bag and pipe onto waxed paper into the shape of the heart. It's okay if it's not perfect, once cooled you can break off pieces to make them look better. See link for more detailed instructions.
  4. Cool in the fridge for at least one hour or until solid.
Frosting
  1. In medium bowl, mix powdered sugar and butter with spoon or electric mixer on low speed. Stir in Nutella and 1 tablespoon of the milk.
  2. Gradually beat in just enough remaining milk to make frosting smooth and spreadable. If frosting is too thick, beat in more milk, a few drops at a time. If frosting becomes too thin, beat in a small amount of powdered sugar
  3. Make the brownies according to package directions.
 

 

 

Let’s Get Nutty. What Type of Nut Butter is Best?

What Type of Nut Butter is Best?

Peanut butter has been a lunch time staple for children and adults for years. Until recently there was not much competition on the nut butter front. But in 2012, almonds officially surpassed peanuts as America’s favorite nut, and almond butter began to give peanut butter a run for it’s money. Almond butter is marketed as being the more health conscious choice, but is it? And what about that beloved hazelnut spread, known as Nutella. Is Nutella a healthy addition to your whole grain toast as the commercial suggests?  With the nut butter section jam-packed with options, it’s hard to make the right choice. Let’s take a look at the facts.

Nut butter confusion

Almond butter and peanut butter are very similar in terms of macronutrients (carbohydrate, fat, and protein) and calories. They both have approximately 190 calories for a two tablespoon serving. Making them both a high calorie, but nutrient dense food. Peanut butter has a slight nutritional edge over almond butter in terms of protein, with eight grams of protein per serving versus seven. When it comes to fat, almond butter has the advantage because it is slightly lower in saturated fat and higher in monounsaturated fat (the good kind).

The real difference in these two nut butters is in the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Almond butter is an excellent source of vitamin E. One serving of almond butter has four milligrams (mg) of vitamin E, compared to only one mg in peanut butter. Vitamin E helps promote a healthy immune system and acts as an antioxidant which protects against cellular damage. Almond butter is also higher in magnesium and calcium which are important for bone health. However, this does not mean that peanut butter is a nutritional loser. Peanut butter has higher levels of some B vitamins, including niacin, folate, and B6. B vitamins are important cofactors in metabolism and help our body create energy.

Sorry Nutella lovers, but when it comes to nutrition, Nutella can not compete. Nutella should really be sold with the pudding or ice cream, because it is more of a “dessert food” than anything else. Just take a look at the ingredients. First ingredient sugar, second ingredient palm oil. Hazelnut spread you say? More like a sugary fatty spread with a hint of hazelnut and cocoa. No doubt, Nutella is delicious, but it is not in the same realm as actual nut butters.

When buying your nut butter some quick things to look for:

  • Nuts should always be the first ingredient
  • Little to no added sugar
  • No hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated fats
  • The shorter the ingredient list the better

Almond Butter

If I had to choose a nutritional winner, I would give it to almond butter. Although peanut butter is a close second. If you’ve never tried almond butter before it’s definitely worth a go. Here are some delicious recipes to try using almond butter: Almond Joy Cups, homemade almond butter, and pineapple macadamia granola bars.  Although I admit, I do love peanut butter and it is often times half the price of almond butter. Yesterday I made this peanut butter and banana grilled sandwich and it was to die for.

The final score card on nut butters:

Almond Butter : A+

Peanut Butter: A

Nutella (hazelnut spread): D

What is your favorite way to eat nut butter? On a sandwich, from the jar, in a smoothie?