Braided nutella bread

Braided nutella bread

Like most humans, I love chocolate – and something I love even more than plain ol’ chocolate is nutella. I mean it’s like chocolate but better, right?! I love finding any excuse to buy some and cook with it and honestly, this bread is the best vehicle for it. It’s sweet but not too sweet – and really satisfying.

If you’re looking for a sweet treat that’s warm and comforting but not too indulgent, look no further! This nutella bread is what dreams are made of – specially when it’s fresh and warm right out of the oven! It’s not the kind of treat that is sickly sweet or feels so heavy that you only feel you can have a bit – it’s the more dangerous kind that tricks you into believing you can have more and more and more!!

I like to use the same dough from my cinnamon rolls because “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” right? It’s a wonderfully enriched dough that is not too sweet but it’s really flavourful and fluffy and delicious and when paired with ooey gooey nutella… it’s a match made in food heaven! 

Nutella bread

Of course, if you don’t like (who doesn’t though?!) or can’t have nutella you can substitute it for a different chocolate spread or a different spread altogether! Also you can customise it as much as you like by adding nuts or little pretzels or even – god forbid – raisins. 

So if you want to learn how to make this beautiful and impressive – yet crazy easy to make – braided bread, keep on reading! Let me show you how.

 

 

Ingredients:

Cinnamon rolls
  • 1 pack dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cup warm milk
    • Make sure it’s warm but not hot – a good way to tell is if when you put a finger in there it doesn’t burn but also doesn’t feel cold. Should feel like “blood temperature”. For me it takes about 30-45 sec in the microwave.
  • 1tbsp sugar
  • 110g butter – you’ll need it melted and cooled down slightly
Cinnamon rolls
  • 5 cups plain flour (may need a bit extra for rolling etc)
  • 1 cup strong bread flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)

Nutella bread

  • 350g of nutella (or spread of your choice)
  • Optional: Any fillings of your choice – nuts, pretzels, raisins, dried strawberries… 

 

*** NOTE: These measurements will give you two generous-sized breads so you can either cut the recipe in half, make two braids or use one half of the dough for something else (like perhaps my glorious cinnamon rolls?). If not you can also wrap up half of your dough tightly and freeze it so you can use it at some other point. It’s an easy-going dough!

 

 

How to make it:

The dough:

  • First of all, we need to activate the yeast. In order to do this, mix your melted butter with a tbsp of sugar and the warmed milk and sprinkle the pack of dry yeast over the top. Let it sit for about 5 min in a warm, draft-free spot – until it starts to get foamy and smells like a bakery.
Cinnamon rolls
Cinnamon rolls
Cinnamon rolls
  • In a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer) add all the other ingredients for your dough
Cinnamon rolls
  • Once the yeast mixture has foamed up, add it to the rest of your ingredients and mix them all together until a dough starts to form.
    • Sometimes you may need to add a bit more flour if it’s sticking to the sides, just let it all combine and give it some time to see if it comes together but if it looks really wet, just add a bit more flour – 1tbsp or so at a time

Cinnamon rolls

  • Once it’s looking like dough, knead it for a couple more minutes – until it no longer sticks to your fingers and it looks smooth. It should still feel tacky but it shouldn’t stick.
Cinnamon rolls
Your bowl should look relatively clean and your dough should be a bit tacky but not sticky
  • Place your beautiful dough baby in an oiled bowl (oil the sides and bottom of the bowl, roll the dough around to coat with the oil and cover the bowl with plastic wrap) and pop it in a warm spot that’s away from any drafts. I tend to use my oven (with the oven turned off).
Cinnamon rolls
  • Let it rise for about 1.5 – 2 hours, until it’s grown significantly (usually doubles in size).

 

The braid:

  • Once the dough is ready, gently deflate it and plop it onto a floured surface
Cinnamon rolls
Cinnamon rolls
  • Cut your dough in half so you work with one half at a time. Wrap the dough that you’re not using with some plastic wrap in the meantime so it doesn’t develop a skin.
  • Roll one half of your dough on your floured surface to form a rectangle and try to make it relatively even. You want the dough to be about half a cm thick.

Nutella bread

  • Spread half of the nutella all over the dough – make sure to get as close to the edges as you possibly can! 
    • Again, because this recipe makes 2 braids, I use the whole 350g jar for both so I just divide it between the two. If you’re only making one you may want to get a smaller jar (or maybe not!).
    • If your nutella is a bit too stiff I’d recommend putting it in the microwave for about 30-45 sec so it warms up a bit and loosens up. It definitely makes a big difference when spreading it!
    • If you wanted to add any crunchy stuff to your rolls this is the time to do so! Just scatter them all over your nutella-covered rectangle.

Nutella bread

  • Roll your dough lengthwise, to make a long sausage. Keep it seam-side down.

Nutella bread Nutella bread

  • Cut your nutella sausage in half lengthwise but leave a little bit still together on one end. These will be your two braid strands.

Nutella bread

  • To make the “magic braid” just put one strand over the other one, then the other strand over the first one and keep going until you reach the end – don’t worry if you get nutella everywhere, this is a messy job!

Nutella bread Nutella bread

  • Once you get to the end pinch both sides together to make sure that your braid is “closed” at the top and the bottom.
    Nutella bread
  • Plop your beautifully braided bread onto a parchment paper-lined baking tray, cover it with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and leave it somewhere warm again to rise one more time. This usually takes about another hour or so.

Nutella bread

 

The baking:

  • While your bread is resting, turn on your oven to 180C
  • Optional: you can warm up some heavy cream in the microwave and brush it over your bread before baking. It’s not necessary but I’d definitely recommend it!

    Nutella bread

  • Once your bread is nice and plump and ready to be baked, put it in the oven for 20-25 min until it looks beautifully golden and smells unbelievable!Nutella bread
Nutella bread
Look at those ripples of gooey nutella! You know it’s going to be good.
  • When it comes out of the oven let it cool down just slightly – about 5-10 min should be enough. Then slice it however you like, devour and leave no crumbs behind!

Nutella bread Nutella bread

 

 

This recipe is a total winner in our household – you know it’s a good one when the hubby keeps asking for it! It’s actually super easy to make but looks really impressive and apart from letting the dough rise it doesn’t take very long either. It’s always a crowd-pleaser and honestly you should definitely make both braids because they won’t last long! They are deceptively easy to eat and before you know it it’ll be gone. 

 

Nutella bread

 

If you’re having some friends over or you’re celebrating mother’s day / father’s day (or any other day!) or if you’re just having a bit of a sweet tooth and want to treat yourself – I really hope you give this recipe a try and let me know how you get on with it! I’d love to know your thoughts on it – if you liked it or not, if you struggled or if it was smooth sailing!

As always, thank you for stopping by and supporting me and I’ll see you again soon with another yummy recipe! 

Nutella bread

Carrot cake

Carrot cake

Ahh carrot cake… What is there to say about it? It’s just amazing.

I always like to give you some background story about my relationship with the food I’m sharing – is that weird?

Anyways – I think I first had carrot cake towards the end of my medschool years. I know right?! I’ve never seen this sort of cake in Spain. And honestly, when I first heard the words “carrot cake” I definitely made a face – and not a good one! It just sounded so freaking weird! Carrots in something sweet?! Are you crazy?!?!

Then I tried it. Ahh carrot cake. It’s just amazing.

 

Carrot cake

 

So as you’ve probably noticed, I looove cinnamony sweets (I honestly think that every single sweet treat I’ve shared so far has cinnamon in it!) and I think that’s one of the beautiful things that this cake has to offer. If you’ve never tried, try it. It’s so weird – does not taste like carrots at all! It’s like the carrots are just there to make it uber moist and give it some texture but it doesn’t actually taste like carrots. Honestly I think it’s magic!

After trying it the first time I made it a bunch more times and tried different things, added my own twists to it and since I first made it I feel like I’ve perfected it to how I like it best. This cake isn’t too sweet but it is full of flavor and it’s moist and delicious. The frosting is very sweet so I like to dial back the sweetness on the cake so it’s not too much but if you’re using less frosting or no frosting at all, you may want to add in a touch more sugar. Up to you!

 

 

First things first:

  • Grate your carrots and apple

Carrot cake

  • Toast and chop up your walnuts (or pecans)

Carrot cake

  • Preheat your oven to 175C
  • Grease and line your baking trays – I use two 9-inch / 23cm pans

Carrot cake

 

 

Dry ingredients:

Carrot cake

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans

 

Wet ingredients:

Carrot cake

  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
  • 3-4 grated carrots (you should have at least about 350g when grated)
  • 1 grated apple
  • Vanilla extract

 

Frosting:

Carrot cake

  • 120g butter
  • 200g cream cheese
  • 700g icing sugar – sifted
  • Vanilla extract

 

Makes two 23cm / 9-inch  cakes

 

How-to:

You don’t need any special equipment to make this cake!

  • Mix all your dry ingredients in a bowl until even in color (this includes your pecans / walnuts!)

Carrot cake

  • In a large bowl, beat your eggs and sugar until they look paler and increase slightly in volume – you can do this by hand or with an electric hand whisk if you like. It doesn’t need to be super fluffy just slightly aerated.

Carrot cake

Carrot cake

  • Once your egg mixture looks a bit bubbly, slowly add-in the oil while beating. Then add the vanilla extract as well. At this point your mixture should be a bit thicker and bubblier but again, not expecting it to be super fluffy.

Carrot cake

  • Incorporate the carrots and apple with a spatula until it’s all well mixed through

Carrot cake Carrot cake

  • Fold in the dry ingredients just until it’s all mixed – do not overmix!

Carrot cake Carrot cake

  • Divide your batter evenly onto your prepared baking pans and bake at 175C for 25-30min – you’ll know it’s done when they spring back to the touch or when you insert a skewer or knife and you don’t get any wet batter on it. You should also see the sides of the cake starting to pull away from the pan.

Carrot cake Carrot cake

  • Let the cakes cool completely – this is a good time to take out your butter and cream cheese from the fridge so they come to room temperature

Carrot cake
You can see how the cake is starting to pull away from the sides – this is a good indicator that the cake is done. If the pan is well greased you should see this and it should also mean that they’ll come out really easily!

 

 

Frosting:

  • To make your frosting, start by sifting your icing sugar so it’s completely lump-free

Carrot cake

  • Cream the butter and cream cheese until they’re fluffy and pale in color

Carrot cake Carrot cake

  • Add the icing sugar (in a couple of batches) and mix slowly until incorporated – so you don’t get a big cloud of sugar! – and once it’s fully incorporated beat on high speed for a few minutes until it looks light and airy

Carrot cake Carrot cake

  • When it’s pretty much there in terms of consistency, add a splash of vanilla extract and mix for another few seconds

Carrot cake Carrot cake

  • Frost the cake however you like! You can keep it rustic, you can level out the cakes and try to make them more perfect, you can do whatever you like – have fun with this!
    • For this cake, I levelled off the bottom layer just to make sure it sat straight (and to have a little cook’s treat!) and used a cake board to transport itCarrot cake Carrot cake
    • I used the frosting in between the two layers and then decorated the top with a piping bag fitted with a star tip Carrot cake Carrot cake
    • I then used my caramelised pecans on top and that’s it! Simple but beautiful I think!Carrot cake

 

 

Top tips:

  • For an extra little delicious treat, I’d suggest making my maple syrup caramelised pecans and using them to top up your cake. They’re so easy to make and so delicious! As a non-pecan-lover I can tell you I could eat an entire bowl of these! You can also use them inside instead of plain pecans or walnuts.
  • Once you’re done decorating it, I strongly suggest that you put this cake in the fridge for an hour or two to set. Particularly if it’s a warm day (like it was when I made this one), your frosting will probably get a bit sloppy so putting it in the fridge just helps set it nicely and hold its shape.
  • If you’re a raisin lover – you’ll probably know I’m definitely not if you’ve seen my oatmeal cookie recipe – you can also add raisins at the same time as the pecans. Just mix them with your dry ingredients.

 

Carrot cake

 

And that’s it! It’s one of the simplest cakes to make that – aside from grating the carrots and sifting the sugar for the frosting – takes little to no effort to make and it’s always a crowd pleaser! Using oil instead of butter gives you a really moist and light cake, and not only using fresh carrots but also the addition of apple in this recipe gives you amazing flavor and yet, more moisture to the cake! I think it’s a killer recipe – super easy, don’t need any fancy equipment and everyone loves it!

I hope you give this recipe a try and really love it – and if you choose to make it for a special occasion I’m sure it won’t disappoint! As always, thanks for reading me and see you back here again soon!

 

Carrot cake

Arroz con leche (rice pudding)

Arroz con leche (rice pudding)

As you probably know, I grew up in Spain and if there is one thing that everyone can agree on is that Spanish people know how to eat! We’ve got the best food, freshest ingredients and I mean, to me there’s nothing like it. Spanish cuisine isn’t super elaborate and I actually really like that – they just use super good-quality ingredients and let them shine through.

This is one of those irreplaceable nostalgic comfort-food recipes that doesn’t look pretty, it’s not fancy at all but it just can’t be beat. It’s sweet, it’s cinnamony, it’s creamy and delicious and you can have it either warm or cold but either way it always hits the spot. Even though rice pudding is made in lots of different cuisines, the recipes can vary significantly. This is how I’ve grown up eating it, its a family favorite and I hope you love it as much as I do.

 

Arroz con leche

 

 

Ingredients:

Arroz con leche

  • 1L of milk – ideally whole milk
  • 100g of rice – short-grain works best here, something like arborio, risotto or bomba rice
  • Orange peel (1/4 to 1/2 orange)
  • Lemon peel (1/2 – 1 lemon)
  • 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks
  • A vanilla pod – cut it in half lengthwise and use both the pod and the seeds inside (you can also use extract or vanilla bean paste)
  • 70g sugar or a small can of condensed milk (370g)

Arroz con leche

  • Optional: knob of butter (about 10g)
  • Powdered cinnamon for dusting

 

How to make it:

  • In a large pot, combine your milk, rice, citrus peels, cinnamon stick and vanilla

Arroz con lecheArroz con leche

  • Turn the stove on a very low heat and bring it up to a gentle bubble (do not boil!). Simmer it slowly for about 30-45 min, stirring every few minutes – if you don’t stir it frequently it’ll form a skin over the top really quickly

Arroz con leche

  • After this time your mixture should be starting to thicken up and look creamy but your rice probably won’t be cooked all the way through yet. It’ll still be a bit runny which is exactly what we want

Arroz con leche

  • At this point add the sugar and keep simmering it for another 5-10min, until your pudding is thick and creamy and your rice is fully cooked through

Arroz con lecheArroz con leche

  • Turn the heat off and carefully remove your citrus peels, cinnamon sticks and vanilla pod. Make sure to mix through while you’re doing this so that it doesn’t form a skin.
    • Optional: add your knob of butter once you’ve removed all your flavorings and mix through

Arroz con leche

Arroz con leche

  • Cover your pot and let it rest for about 10-15min, then serve or put it in the fridge to cool down (see below).

 

Top tips:

  • If you want to eat it warm you can serve it at this point, just sprinkle some cinnamon on top and enjoy! (I love it with tons of cinnamon)
  • If you prefer to eat it cold, transfer your warm mixture to an airtight container, sprinkle with cinnamon and make sure that no air is getting in there (again, trying to prevent a skin from forming!). Pop it in the fridge to cool down and let it sit there for a few hours, then serve!
  • If you want to make it even creamier and more decadent, try substituting the sugar for a small can of condensed milk and thank me later! This is how my grandma prefers her arroz con leche. Just keep in mind that you’re adding liquid so you may need to cook it down a bit longer than with just sugar.
  • If you want to make this the day before (I used to do that in medschool) just keep in mind that the rice will keep absorbing the liquid for a while after it’s off the heat. If you don’t like it too dry you can either reduce your cooking time a bit so it’s looser, or you can just add a bit of extra milk when you go eat it. Just mix it through really well and it should incorporate easily.

 

Arroz con leche

 

Let me tell you, there are few desserts that warm my heart as much as this one. This is probably where my love for cinnamon comes from actually – I just cannot get enough of it! When I was young my parents had to take it away from me because if not I’d eat it all and I wouldn’t leave any for the rest of the family. Just couldn’t get enough! Like I said, it’s super simple and doesn’t require lots of ingredients or effort so it’s really a great treat to have on hand.

Even if you’ve had rice pudding before I’m sure it won’t be quite like this one. When my mom and grandma made it at home I think they only put a tiny amount of lemon peel in there and as far as I remember there was no vanilla so this is not quite exactly like the one I used to have but in my opinion it’s even better! It may be a touch too sweet so if you try it and feel like it’s too much, just cut down on the amount of sugar a bit and it should do the trick.

I hope you give this recipe a try and love it as much as I do – it tastes like my childhood! Also let me know if you like simple traditional Spanish recipes like this one and if you’d like me to share more? I’d love to know what you like to see over here! Thanks for reading me and I hope to see you again soon!

 

Arroz con leche
If your bowl doesn’t end up looking like this then something’s gone wrong – I’d suggest you try again!!