When I was in Portland, I visited the sensational bakery - BakeShop - and had something that nearly brought tears of joy to my eyes. It was called a Nutella Puff, and it was perfection. In my fantasy world, I eat one (read: three) for breakfast every morning.
After taking that final, rapturous bite, I knew that through some form of kitchen magic, I would have to recreate what was truly one of the best pastries my lips had ever met.
My fiance claims that he cannot strictly articulate the precise moment when he first realized he loved me, but I firmly believe that it was the first time he tasted one of my cinnamon rolls.
The man loves cinnamon rolls, and I love baking for such a handsome and grateful patron, but the frequency of his requests often exceeds even my enthusiasm.
That is when I have to change things up a bit, in order to feed my restless creativity and his insatiable sweet tooth.
With those Oregonian Nutella puffs on my mind, and an unrelenting man at my side, our cravings materialized.
Sweet, chewy dough, lightly spiced, generously buttered, studded with nuts, cut and twisted, and filled with a lavish spoonful of that ever-beguiling substance known as Nutella.
These rolls-turned-chocolate-nests are nestled into a buttered muffin tin and brushed with melted butter.
Then they get a facelift, by way of a warm oven. This final proofing period will make them extra airy.
After proofing, the puffs bake for a rapid twelve minutes, giving you just enough time to make a piping pot of strong coffee.
After the puffs have baked to golden brown, they are brushed with - you guessed it, another coat of melted butter.
These puffs are not overly sweet. They are airy and light, soft and buttery - the perfect breakfast.
It's almost as good as being back in Portland again.
I think everything should have Nutella-filled centers.
Cinnamon Sugar Nutella Puffs
makes 9 puffs / dough recipe adapted slightly from Alton Brown
for the dough
- 8 ounces warm milk
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 15 ounces all-purpose flour (plus extra for dusting)
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 ounces unsalted butter (room temperature)
for the filling
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (divided use)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup finely chopped hazelnuts (divided use)
- 9 tablespoons Nutella
- confectioner’s sugar, optional
In the bowl of your stand mixer combine milk, sugar, yeast, egg yolks, flour, and salt. Use the paddle attachment and combine on low speed for 1 minute. Allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes.
Fit your stand mixer with the dough hook attachment and add butter. Mix on medium speed for 8 minutes, until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and form a large, taught ball. Place in an oiled bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
While the dough is rising, combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Grease a muffin tin with melted butter.
After the dough has doubled in size, remove from bowl and roll out onto a floured surface into a 15x12 inch rectangle. Brush with a thin layer of softened butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and 2 tablespoons of chopped hazelnuts. Pat the spices gently to press them into the dough.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Roll the dough towards you, tucking so that the roll is tight. Cut the roll into 9 equal slices. Roll each roll into a 6-inch rope and twist. Pinch the two ends of the twisted rope to form a nest. Place each nest into a greased muffin cup and place a spoonful of Nutella into the centers. Sprinkle with the remaining chopped hazelnuts. Place the muffin tin in the oven and turn off the heat. Leave the door half-way ajar. Allow to dough to proof for 40 minutes.
Remove the muffin tin from the warm oven and set the oven to 400 degrees.
Bake the puffs for 12 minutes, or until deep golden brown. Allow to cool for 8-10 minutes before dusting with confectioner’s sugar and serving. Enjoy!