15 Delicious Ways to Utilize Nutella

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iStock

In 1964, the Beatles kicked off the British Invasion by making their first American performance on The Ed Sullivan Show, Roald Dahl published "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," and a tiny jar of hazelnut-flavored chocolate spread changed the dessert world forever.

Nutella, a sweetened hazelnut cocoa spread from Ferrero, debuted on April 20, 1964. Since then, it's evolved into a global phenomenon with a passionate fan base (as recently illustrated by the "Nutella riots" in France). The brand even has its very own holiday—World Nutella Day is celebrated February 5.

While many opt for the spoon-to-mouth Nutella experience (it's the most efficient method, after all), fans have uncovered dozens of unique ways to use the spread in the kitchen and beyond. In celebration of World Nutella Day, here are 15 of our favorites.

1. NUTELLA PIZZA

A Nutella pizza.
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It's not delivery, it's your new favorite dessert pizza. To make, just spread Nutella on top of baked pizza dough and add any toppings of your choice—strawberries, bananas, marshmallows, nuts, various drizzles. Bake for 5-10 minutes and top with powdered sugar.

2. NUTELLA COFFEE SWEETENER

Nutetlla toast with a cup of coffee.
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If the idea of caffeinated Nutella helps get you out of bed in the morning, this homemade creamer is easy to whip up in advance. Or, simply replace your regular sugar or sweetener with a small teaspoon of Nutella to stir into a fresh cup of coffee.

3. NUTELLA-COVERED BACON

Nutella-covered bacon.
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You've heard of chocolate-covered bacon, but adding the nutty kick of Nutella takes this treat up a notch. This salty-yet-sweet concoction is great for breakfast. Or dessert. Or appetizers.

4. NUTELLA ART

Nutella art on a plate.
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Can you find Nutella in the arts and crafts aisle? Not yet, but a quick look through the #NutellaArt hashtag on Instagram has us thinking someday that'll change. Fans are creating beautiful works of Nutella art—from the Mona Lisa to Pikachu—and we can't decide what's more impressive: the intricacy of the artwork or the self-control to leave Nutella on the plate.

5. NUTELLA SOAP

Wooden spoon full of Nutella.
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Nothing screams "clean" like soap made out of a sugary hazelnut spread, right? Apparently true fans don't care, and they've come up with their own recipes for "Nutella soap." But, spoiler alert—it's really just soap in a Nutella jar. Either way, we'll take it!

6. NUTELLA QUESADILLAS

Nutella and banana quesadillas.
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Since stuffed crepes are difficult to make at home, Nutella quesadillas are the next best thing. With a little Nutella, a tortilla, and your favorite toppings (sprinkles, bananas, whipped cream, the works) you can make a less authentic but just as delicious portable dessert.

7. NUTELLA S'MORES

Pile of s'mores.
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Step up your s'mores game with an alternative to chocolate bars—Nutella! The recipe is about as simple as you can get—spread Nutella on a graham cracker, toast a marshmallow, combine—but the unexpected flavor will win over any campfire crew.

8. NUTELLA HOT CHOCOLATE

Mug of hot chocolate.
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Give your hot chocolate a hazelnut makeover by swapping out those old powder packs. Instead, warm 3 tablespoons of Nutella and 1 1/3 cup of milk in a saucepan (or in the microwave). And if you want to spike it? A shot of peppermint schnapps or Bailey's will spice it right up.

9. NUTELLA CANDLES

While we don't condone setting your Nutella on fire, many fans have crafted ways to clean out the jars and make their own DIY, Nutella-branded candles. Don't trust yourself with DIY? You can buy ready-made Nutella candles on Etsy.

10. NUTELLA SNOW GLOBES

A snowglobe.
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If you want to show your brand loyalty while decorating for some seasonal cheer, Nutella snow globes allow you to create any wintry, glittery, chocolatey scene you'd like. This DIY guide can walk you through it.

11. NUTELLA JAR ICE CREAM DISH

Bowl of ice cream with hazelnuts.
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It can be so hard to get those last bits of Nutella out of the jar. But once you're down to the last serving, scoop some ice cream directly into the jar. The "topping" may be on the bottom of the jar, but by the time you've finished your dessert, the last remnants of Nutella will be cleared out.

12. NUTELLA RAVIOLI

Nutella ravioli.
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Your Italian nonna may cringe, but Nutella fans have gotten uber creative, whipping up their own "Nutella Ravioli." You can either stuff wonton wrappers with the hazelnut spread and top them with mint leaves and powdered sugar, or use crescent roll dough for the pastry pockets.

13. NUTELLA MARTINI

Nutella martini.
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A basic chocolate martini will no longer do once you've tried adding Nutella. This recipe calls for double the chocolate and hazelnut flavors, courtesy of Frangelico and Godiva Chocolate Liqueur in addition to a tablespoon of Nutella.

14. BOOZY NUTELLA MILKSHAKES

Nutella milkshake.
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Few things beat a boozy milkshake, especially when Nutella is the core ingredient. This Nutella milkshake recipe calls for vodka, milk, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and a healthy scoop of Nutella.

15. NUTELLA PIGGY BANK

Need a cute place to store your laundry quarters or stash those pennies that you never spend? Wash out an empty Nutella jar, use an X-Acto knife to slice a small rectangular slot in the lid, and enjoy saving up for another jar of your favorite hazelnut spread.

The Fascinating History Behind Why Jewish Families Eat Chinese Food on Christmas

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iStock

For Jewish New Yorkers, scoring a seat at one of veteran restaurateur Ed Schoenfeld’s Chinese eateries on Christmas Day could be compared to a holiday miracle. “I think on that day we do more business than many restaurants do in three months,” Schoenfeld tells Mental Floss. “We serve all day long, we stay open all day long.”

Schoenfeld is the Jewish owner-operator of RedFarm, an Asian-fusion dim sum restaurant with two locations in New York (plus one in London), and Decoy, a West Village shrine to traditional Peking duck. While his expertise lies in Far Eastern cuisine, Schoenfeld grew up in Brooklyn and learned to cook from his Eastern European grandmother. And just like his customers, Schoenfeld and his family sometimes craved Chinese food on Christmas, eschewing homemade fare for heaping plates of chow mein and egg foo yung. The future restaurateur's grandmother kept a kosher kitchen, but outside the home all dietary laws flew out the window with the single spin of a Lazy Susan. Suddenly, egg rolls with pork were fair game, transfigured into permissible delicacies through hunger and willful ignorance.

As Gentiles feast on turkey and roast beef during the Yuletide season, why do many Jews opt for chop suey? For starters, it's convenient: Chinese restaurants are open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. But as historians and culinary experts tell Mental Floss, other ingredients play a part in this delicious story.

Jews developed their love for all things steamed, stir-fried, and soy-sauced after leaving the Old Country. Between the mid-1800s and the 1930s, waves of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, Germany, and Greece began settling in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, a gritty, inexpensive neighborhood teeming with tenements, docks, and factories—and filled with synagogues and kosher butcher shops. “You started here, and then moved on," Sarah Lohman, author of Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine, says.

While Jewish immigrants found community on the Lower East Side, "there was a lot of discrimination against Jews at the turn of the century,” Lohman adds. "They were often criticized not only for not dressing like Americans and not speaking the language, but also for not converting to an 'American' religion."

Right next door to the burgeoning Jewish community on the Lower East Side was the city's nascent Chinatown. Many Chinese immigrants had initially come to the U.S. to work on the Transcontinental Railroad. After its completion in 1869, these laborers faced violence and discrimination in the western states. They came to New York City seeking new business opportunities, and some opened restaurants.

By and large, Chinese restaurateurs didn’t discriminate against Jewish customers. Joshua Eli Plaut writes in his book A Kosher Christmas: 'Tis the Season to be Jewish that the Chinese, as non-Christians, didn't perceive any difference between Anglo-Saxon New Yorkers and Jewish immigrants; they accepted all non-Chinese customers with open arms.

Jewish customers embraced Chinese food in return. The restaurants were conveniently located and inexpensive, yet were also urbane in their eyes. Jews saw dining out as an American custom that they wanted to try, largely because they sought upward mobility among other Americans. According to Yong Chen, a history professor and author of Chop Suey, USA: The Story of Chinese Food in America, "[Diners] were attracted to Chinese food because, in their mind, it represented American cosmopolitanism and middle class status." And they weren't deterred by the fact that food in Chinese restaurants wasn't kosher. But they could easily pretend it was.

Dairy wasn’t a big part of Chinese meals, so Jewish diners didn’t have to worry about mixing meat and milk (a no-no in kosher diets). And non-kosher ingredients like pork or seafood were often finely chopped, drowned in sauces, or mixed with other ingredients, like rice. These elements were well disguised enough that they could pass for more permissible forms of meat. “You could kind of willfully ignore that there might be pork in there," Lohman says. "It’s like a vegetarian eating a soup that has chicken stock. If you’re a little flexible about your Judaism, you would just ‘not notice’ the pork in your fried rice.”

Chinese food was exotic and new, filled with surprising flavors, ingredients, and textures [PDF]. But for some Eastern European Jews, it also had familiar elements. Both Eastern European and Chinese cuisines shared an affinity for sweet and sour flavors and egg-based dishes. "[Chinese restaurants] had these pancakes, which were like blintzes,” says Joan Nathan, author of King Solomon's Table: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World, and the wontons resembled kreplach (both are meat-filled soup dumplings).

The fact that the Chinese and Jews were America’s two largest non-Christian immigrant populations brought them together, Jennifer 8. Lee, author of The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food, tells Mental Floss. Unlike, say, Italian restaurants, Chinese restaurants were open on Sundays and on Christian holidays. They also lacked religious imagery, which may have made them appear more welcoming for Jews.

Combined, these factors caused the number of Chinese restaurants in urban East Coast cities to skyrocket during the early 20th century. Jews soon accounted for 60 percent of the white clientele in New York City's and Philadelphia’s Chinese restaurants, Chen writes, and Chinese restaurants would often go out of their way to cater to these clients. The eateries delivered their food to Jewish neighborhoods and to individual customers.

Yet an unwavering affection for Chinese food wasn't shared by all Jews. In an example cited by Chen and Lee, a reporter for Der Tog (The Day), a Yiddish daily newspaper in New York City, noted in 1928 that Jewish diners were in danger of drowning their culinary roots in soy sauce. To take back their taste buds, Jewish-Americans should hoist protest signs reading “Down with chop suey! Long live gefilte fish!” the journalist joked.

But Jewish cookbooks had already begun including Americanized dishes like chop suey and egg foo yung, which Chinese chefs had specially created to appeal to homegrown appetites. And as Lower East Side Jews moved to different neighborhoods, boroughs, and suburbs, Chinese restaurants followed them.

By the mid-20th century, Nathan says, Chinese restaurants had become de facto social clubs in Jewish communities. Familiar faces were always present, children were always welcome, and eating with your hands wasn’t just encouraged—it was required. Everyone left filled with food and gossip, whether it was Christmas or an ordinary Sunday evening.

Thanks to immigration patterns, nostalgia, and convenient hours of operation, this culinary custom has stuck around. “Jewish guests want to go out and eat Chinese food on Christmas,” Schoenfeld, the Manhattan restaurateur, says. “It’s become a tradition, and it’s extraordinary how it’s really grown.”

This story originally ran in 2017.

Harry & David Just Released a Cats-Inspired Gourmet Gift Collection

Harry & David
Harry & David

Year after year, Harry & David proves itself to be the undefeated champion of helping people gain the favor of tough-to-please recipients on their holiday gift lists. From baskets of cheese to buckets of popcorn, there’s a gourmet food—or collection of foods—for pretty much everyone.

This Christmas, the company has partnered with Universal Pictures to release a line of deluxe gifts that all evoke the enchanting, sophisticated style of the upcoming film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's classic musical Cats.

The products don’t come with cat ears, furry bodysuits, or pint-sized action figures of Taylor Swift, Jason Derulo, and the rest of the star-studded cast. Instead, in true Harry & David fashion, the gifts are decorated with tasteful Cats ribbons and subtle touches of black and gold.

The simplest option for anyone with a sweet tooth is the $30 Classic Sweets Box, which includes dark chocolate-covered pretzels, raspberry galettes, dark chocolate truffles, and Harry & David’s signature Moose Munch popcorn. For healthy eaters or fans of fruit in general, there’s a box of Royal Riviera pears, hand-wrapped in gold foil, which you can purchase with (for $70) or without (for $50) a bottle of Pinot Gris. There are also a few larger dessert baskets with a broad assortment of truffles, caramels, popcorn, chocolate-covered cherries, and more mouthwatering confectioneries.

Though you’d be ill-advised to share most of those desserts with your actual cat, they might be able to enjoy the savory meats from the other boxes and baskets—after all, cats can have a little salami. Items include sausage, salami, smoked salmon, pepper jack cheese, sharp white cheddar cheese, garlic-stuffed olives, water crackers, and roasted almonds, among other things.

In summary, the Cats collection is ideal for these demographics: people who like Cats the musical, people who like Cats the movie, people who like gift baskets, people who like gifts, and people who eat food.

You can shop all the options here, and find out everything you need to know about Cats the movie here.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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