It's hard to believe it's been nearly two years since I moved to California. Uprooting a perfectly sane, sensible life including a great job, amazing colleagues, and a house renovated by the sheer will and Irish tenacity of my mother and I seems like a leap. It's been called many things by many people.. a big change, a roll of the dice, a transition, a new chapter, all of the colloquialisms that reflect a major life event. The move was precipitated by one large piece of my life and heart being located precisely 2577 miles away.
I've been fortunate that the leap has been wonderful, challenging, life expanding, fulfilling, and eye opening all at the same time. Aside from the daily fun of cohabitating with Mr. SoCal, I've also had the joy of getting to know and spend many weekends with his two adorable nephews in San Diego. For the longest time I felt that kids and I were a match made in the depths of Dante's inferno, sheerly out of lack of little kid knowledge and experience. Having now earned a few more kid credibility notches in my Bob the Builder tool belt, we might just have a future together, kiddos and I.
The things I've learned from these two little munchkins never ceases to amaze me. If you told me three years ago that I would soon learn life lessons from a couple of toddlers, I likely would've inquired about what particular brand of crazy pills you were on. Now, I get it. Appreciating the simple joys of chasing bubbles for hours and never tiring of popping them or their infinite sticky, slippery qualities. The exuberance of a new toy, petting a puppy or mastering a new word. The power of the words please and thank you, and kindness learned between brothers.
Of all the things I've learned from these two mini men, one thing will stick me from this day forward. The true love, the excitement and the pure delight of one thing.
Wait for it.
Shocked? I KNOW! Now, I not only have love for tiny humans who often wear more food than they eat, are revered for going poopy on the potty and can watch Toy Story repeatedly like their lives depended on it, but I love this stuff as well. But in a distinctly different way. And never had I ever experienced this creamy, chocolate spoonful of heaven before before sharing it with these aforementioned wonderful little ankle biters. So I suppose I owe them a few thank yous for not only sharing the joy of kids with me, but also the mesmerizing power of Nutella.
Chocolate Nutella Pop Tarts
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp salt
8 oz unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg
2 Tbsp milk
1 small jar Nutella
Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Work in the butter with your fingers or food processor until the mixture looks like wet sand, and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it.
In another small bowl, whisk the egg and milk together. Add egg and milk to flour mixture and stir with a paddle or electric mixer, until just incorporated.
Divide the dough in half and roll into flattened circles. Place in refrigerator (in zip top bag or plastic wrap) for one hour before rolling.
Remove dough from the refrigerator and allow it to soften for 10 to 15 minutes. Place one piece on a lightly floured surface, and roll it into a thin square (roughly 1/8" thick). Cut dough into 3" by 4" pieces. Reroll scraps (chill again if required) and roll and cut other half of dough as well.
Place 1/2 of cut pieces on a greased cookie sheet. Add a generous tablespoon of Nutella in the middle, smoothing evenly and leaving the outside 1/2" of each bare. Place the top piece on the filled bottom, using fingertips to firmly seal the pop tart on all sides.
Press the tines of a fork around the edge of all pop tarts. Poke the top of each tart multiple times allowing tarts to rise (I used a meat thermometer). Refrigerate the tarts uncovered for 30 minutes, while oven preheats to 350°F.
Remove tarts from fridge and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool thoroughly, then enjoy.
Makes 8-10 tarts.