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Happy World Nutella Day!

Today is an epic day.  Two extremely important holidays fall on February 5th.  First, it’s World Nutella Day.  To the few people out there who have never tried nutella: get your butt to a grocery store STAT.  A spoonful of this stuff and your life will never be the same.  Second, it’s National Weatherperson’s Day.  This is an important day in our household, seeing as Ben is a pretty rockin’ meteorologist.

So, I’ve decided to bake something to celebrate these momentous occasions.  I’m going to apologize in advance for these blondies.  They’re not very polite.  They demand that you make them, then they demand that you eat them (at least half the pan), then they laugh at you when you have little nutella-peanut butter-marshmallow crumbs all over you.  They might also take your milk money.

Despite all of that, you need these suckers.  Seriously.  Would I lie to you?

I adapted a recipe from Cookie Madness for Peanut Butter Nutella brownies by adding one key ingredient: marshmallows.  In college, my roommates and I took the classic Fluffernutter sandwich (peanut butter and marshmallow) to the next level by subbing in Nutella for the peanut butter.  A star was born.

I’m also thinking about saving these for the Super Bowl tomorrow.  Boys watching football will never say no to a baked good.  So bottom line, let’s celebrate nutella, weatherpeople, and football with one crazy awesome, super yummy blondie!

Marshmallow, Peanut Butter, & Nutella Swirl Blondies

Makes 1 8-inch square pan; about 16 blondies

Ingredients:
For blondies
6 TBS unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy, but don’t use old-fashioned/natural)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt

For Nutella swirl
1 1/2 oz dark chocolate or chocolate with hazelnuts, chopped (I like Ritter Sport bars)
1/2 TBS butter
1/4 cup Nutella

2 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup milk chocolate chips
pinch of kosher salt

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350ºF with a rack in the center position.  Line an 8″ square baking pan with non-stick foil, leaving a slight overhang of foil on the sides of the pan.  (If, like me, you’re unsure whether or not your foil is non-stick, give it a quick spray with cooking spray.)
2. For blondies: If using a mixer, beat the butter and sugars in a large bowl on medium-high speed until soft and combined.  It’s just as easy to combine thoroughly with a rubber spatula in a large bowl.  Add the peanut butter and vanilla and mix until combined (on medium speed with mixer).  Add eggs and mix or beat until just combined.
3. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.  Add the baking powder and salt and mix until combined.  Add flour and mix just until incorporated – don’t over mix!  Transfer the batter into the prepared pan.  Spread evenly with a rubber or offset spatula. 
4.  For swirl: Combine the butter and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave in 45-second intervals at 50% power, stirring between intervals, until melted.  Add the Nutella and stir to combine.
5.  Drop Nutella mixture by spoonfuls over the batter in the pan.  Drag a sharp knife through the Nutella mixture and the batter to create a marbled effect.  (Really, it doesn’t matter what it looks like on top because we’re going to cover it up.  You just want the Nutella mixture to be distributed through the blondie.)
6.  Bake for 25-28 minutes until a tester inserted into the blondie comes out mostly clean.  You don’t want it to be completely dry!  Overcooked blondies are no fun.
7.  Take pan out of the oven and immediately sprinkle marshmallows over the top.  Turn the oven down to 325ºF and put the pan back in the oven for 3 minutes.  Cool blondies in the pan on a cooling rack for about 20 minutes.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes to finish setting the marshmallows.
8.  Melt chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl for 1 minute at 70% power.  Stir.  If necessary, continue to microwave in 30-second intervals at 70% power until smooth.  Stir in pinch of salt.
9.  Pour melted chocolate over blondies and spread evenly with an offset spatula.  Refrigerate blondies (still in the pan!) until chocolate is set, about an hour.  If the chocolate isn’t totally set and firm, don’t even think about cutting them yet.  Be patient!.
10.  To cut blondies, lift them out of the pan with the foil lining.  The blondies should slide off of the foil onto a cutting board, which will make cutting easier.  Slice and enjoy!  Sharing optional.

Recipe adapted from Cookie Madness

How are YOU celebrating Nutella and weathermen/women?  Eating Nutella with a spoon and watching your local weather is an acceptable answer.   A big thank you to the co-hosts for Nutella Day 2011 at Ms Adventures in Italy and Bleeding Espresso.  To learn about the celebration vsiti World Nutella Day.  A round-up of Nutella recipes will be available on Monday, so be sure to check back for some yummy ideas!

Thanks for reading, happy baking!

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