Growing up, I moved around every three to five years. My Roman-born father, Silverio, worked for the Italian government and the second we started settling into our new hometown, it was time to pack up our suitcases again. The one constant besides family, was Nutella. My mom, Penny, would spread the luscious chocolate-hazelnut spread on Italian bread as sandwiches for lunch and she’d swirl it into cakes. My brother, Bernardo, and I would also eat it by the spoonfuls
Turns out the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. My son, Isaiah, craves the stuff so much so that when he was diagnosed with dairy intolerance (along with his more severe gluten intolerance), we had to say our goodbyes. But, in my constant determination to spoil my kids, I made my own dairy-free Nutella knockoff. Suddenly, there was no turning back to the store-bought kind. Whether you make your own or use the jarred stuff, you’ll love this chocolate-hazelnut twist on classic crumb cake.
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For ingredient substitutions, please see the detailed chart at Gluten-Free 101.
Preheat the oven to 350º; grease an 8-inch square baking pan. In a large bowl, whisk together 1 cup of the flour, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 2 teaspoons flour, ½ cup brown sugar, chocolate chips and hazelnuts, if using.
In another small bowl, whisk together the eggs,granulated sugar and remaining ¼ cup brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in the oil and vanilla. Whisk into the flour mixture until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Using a teaspoon, evenly dollop the chocolate hazelnut spread over the batter and using a knife, swirl gently. Top evenly with the crumb mixture and bake until golden, 28 to 30 minutes.
This recipe gives an American classic an elegant Italian flair. Not that into Nutella? Use dulce de leche, lemon curd or a nut or seed butter instead.