We only have a couple of days left here at the Circle B Kitchen West. It’s been a lovely sojourn of sunshine, warmth and color. But as we prepare to return to the Midwest, we’re trying not to freak out as we watch a rather large winter storm heading towards home which looks to dump a good foot of snow on our place before it’s done. I love that the Weather Channel has taken to naming these storms now. This one is called “Q”. Nice. Remember Q on Star Trek? This one could be nasty. We have no idea what we are going home to, and the fact that we won’t be getting in until well after midnight only adds to the fun. The last storm like this knocked out power all over the state for a couple of days, so everyone at home is bracing for the worst.
So let’s say you knew you only had a couple of hours to prepare for a storm of this magnitude. How would you spend those 2 hours?
A. Get to the store and stock up on candles and flashlight batteries
B. Haul in enough wood to keep the fireplace/wood stove going
C. Make Nutella Fudge Crumble Bars
D. Make sure the cell phones and laptops are charged
E. All of the above
If you chose E, you’ll probably make it through the storm just fine. If you chose F, I just really want to come hang out with you.
Survival must be fun, people. And oh my ever lovin’ goodness are these crumble bars ever fun and oh so very good. But what’s not to love here? A fudgy layer of Nutella goodness sandwiched between a buttery oatmeal crust and crumbly top. And all four of my favorite dessert elements are nicely represented... sweet, salty, fudgy, and crunchy. The salty part is ever so subtle, but it totally seals the deal for me.
You really don’t need to be in survival mode to whip up a batch of these crumble bars, but it’s as good a time as any. Here’s the recipe…
NUTELLA FUDGE CRUMBLE BARS
I tweaked the original recipe just a bit to make the crumble a little easier to work with. Instead of adding the butter cold to the oat/flour mixture, I found it much easier to soften the butter first, mix it all together and then refrigerate the topping until you're ready for it. The photo on the blog post was actually taken on one of my attempts to reduce the butter content. I think I used between 1 cup and 1 1/4 cups and they came out really good, although the crumble didn't crisp up the way it will if you use the entire 1 1/2 cups of butter. With subsequent batches I've stuck to using the full amount of butter and I would recommend you do the same if you like the top a little crispy. Oh, and I would highly recommend lining your baking pan with parchment paper and leave enough overhang so that after it cools completely, you can just pull the whole shebang out of the pan before slicing. Easy-peasy.
2 cups rolled oats (old fashioned)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 ½ cups butter, softened (not unsalted butter)
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup whipping cream (or evaporated milk)
1 cup Nutella
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a large bowl toss together the flour, oats, baking powder and brown sugar. Using your hands, rub the butter thoroughly through the dry ingredients until it forms a crumbly texture. This mixture should hold together when squeezed in your fist. Divide the crumble mixture in half and place half of it in the refrigerator.
Press the remaining half of the crumble into the bottom of a 9x13 inch greased or parchment lined baking pan. In a double boiler melt together the chocolate chips, whipping cream and Nutella until smooth. Don't let this mixture get too hot. As soon as the chocolate is melted, take it off the heat and continue to stir until smooth.
Spread fudge filling mixture over the crumb base. Remove the other half of the crumble from the refrigerator and place on top, breaking it into small pieces with your fingers. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool before cutting into squares.