I discovered it, as I do most things, out of desperation and in a limited closet. And now that every day looks like “Desperation and Limited Cupboard Day”, I find myself coming back to it time and time again.
It was a winter day about a year and a half ago. My roommate, his wife and their daughter had decided to have an impromptu weekend in New York. Jill called me from the car to tell me that they were going to town for sightseeing and that they would like to see us when they were finished. I set the dinner table down and told them to come when they were ready.
Then I panicked. I remembered that Michelle was gluten intolerant. I seemed to remember that at least one of my dinner guests hadn’t eaten red meat. And I knew that traveling with a young child to a different city meant that it would be almost impossible to estimate an arrival time.
Fortunately, I spent eight years in Catholic school, which means that the more restrictions you throw on me, the more creative I will be. I took the ground turkey out of the refrigerator and made meatballs without breadcrumbs and simmered them in tomato sauce in the slow cooker. I made cornbread – real cornbread – in a flourless pan.
Now I just had to find a dessert. I was playing around making the biggest and easiest peanut butter cookies in the world, but I couldn’t be sure where everyone was on the peanuts. I knew Jill was passionate about chocolate, and their house was never without a stock of frequently soaked Nutella.
Here is the point in history where I will assume that you are also a hazelnut spreader. I currently have three pots in my kitchen, plus a small pot that I call “individual size”, which is just right for me. And it was a BackRub – I mean Google – search for Nutella recipes that led me to a magic formula for brownies made only from Nutella and eggs. Seriously.
Two-ingredient recipes are often a cruel joke, something that comes close to something else just enough to make you sad about chewing a bad imitation. Have you eaten banana pancakes? Of course you have – you know what I’m talking about. I was skeptical, but I was on the clock, and I didn’t have ice cream in the freezer, so I fell for it.
After crossing the recipe on a few sites, I learned that the key here is not the list of ingredients but the technique. Some recipes can be thought of as a set of loose suggestions. There are others – like Gramercy gingerbread – who command you to follow orders precisely. It’s the latter.
If you want to make these brownies, you’d better be ready to whip the daylight out of some eggs. You don’t scramble the eggs here. You create the entire structure of the dish. Eggs are magic and can do anything if you treat them with respect. The first time I made these brownies, I threw the eggs in the blender, I left for several minutes and poured myself a glass of wine. This remains my suggested method.
Likewise, pay attention to the imperative to measure the Nutella and not just stick your jar – with the remains of its metallic inner lid until it clings to its mouth – directly in the microwave. A kitchen fire is never a good idea, but it would be particularly unfortunate to destroy your microwave and have to call the fire department now, right? Take the extra 15 seconds. Dirty another cup. Keep your fire extinguished unused another day.
Although the formula is the same no matter where you look for the two-ingredient Nutella recipe, the name varies. It seems like a mini phenomenon from 2013. I found it described for the first time as a “flourless Nutella cake” in an article by Kirbie’s Cravings from March of the same year. As someone whose stallion is the enemy of River Cafe chocolate, I was naturally intrigued.
But it was the word “brownie” from an article in Tasty Kitchen a few days later that caught my eye. Brownies are for friends who are going through a snowy evening. Brownies are what you eat with children. The brownies are the following meatballs.
If I had started and finished my research when I found the expression “chocolate omelet”, my guests would have left without dessert that evening. To be fair, YouTube’s still entertaining personality, Barry Lewis, covers all of his basics by calling it a “Nutella Brownie Cake” in his December 2013 video. He warns he’s going to “pimp it” with a few toppings , because he refuses “to show you how to make a chocolate omelet”.
But here’s the important thing: well done, it’s not a chocolate omelet, a tragic wrestling brownie. It is not a brownie that you stumble drunk in the kitchen and make because you have gone beyond your ease in choosing the ingredients. It’s a very good brownie. It’s a brownie that my friend most obsessed with Nutella inhaled, and then made no effort to refuse me when I offered him the leftovers. It’s a crackling crunchy treat that would be good enough for guests if you had any right now. Instead, let it be an entirely luxurious, almost effortless dessert, just for you. Right now, you deserve it.
Recipe: Nutella brownies
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup Nutella
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch round or square pan with parchment if you have it, but don’t worry too much if you don’t have it. In both cases, generously grease the pan.
- Break the eggs in a larger bowl than you think.
- Whisk them for several minutes, until they are tripled in size and pale yellow. You can do this in a blender, blender or whisk. Do not stop until the eggs are really processed.
- During this time, measure the Nutella and the microwave for 20 seconds. Stir, then microwave another 20 seconds. It should be easy to stir.
- Gently fold 1/3 of the Nutella into the eggs, then repeat the process with the remaining thirds. You want to incorporate Nutella without losing the lightness of the eggs.
- Pour the dough into the pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
- Let cool and remove from the mold. Garnish with a dusting of powdered sugar or enjoy plain.