The first time one experiences Nutella, it's an epiphany — not unlike the first encounter with wasabi or Sriracha, or perhaps what Dijon mustard was like to someone who was used to the canary-yellow stuff that came out of an equally yellow plastic bottle.
Yes, Nutella may just be America's newest favorite condiment. It's next to the jam, butter, and yes, peanut butter on the breakfast table, ready to be slathered on toast; it's in pancakes, waffles, French toast, and crepes; it's in cookies, brownies, ice creams, and cupcakes — and it's even on pizza.
This chocolate-hazelnut spread was created by Pietro Ferrero in the 1940s as a way to deal with chocolate rationing during World War II. But it wasn't called Nutella until 1964, after Ferrero had reworked the original formula, which was thick enough to be sliced (imagine that — sliceable Nutella), to one that was spreadable. Initially, cost was the main reason that people chose Nutella over chocolate; even by 1964, with the war long over, chocolate still cost six times what Nutella did. Nowadays, of course, it's a different story. People are nuts about Nutella, and that's because it's just plain delicious.
Besides eating it straight from the jar, though (and there's nothing wrong with that), or spreading it on plain toast, Nutella is also useful for more constructive purposes. "Like what?" you may ask. Well, what about a Coconut-Nutella Pudding Cake — that you can make in a slow cooker? Yes, it's totally doable and a piece of — pardon the pun — cake. Or these Nutella Brownies that are worth every sinful calorie. Better yet, though, if you're ready to really graduate, make your own Nutella at home.
So get ready to make a trip to Costco — you're going to need the economy-size if you want to make all of these recipes.
Will Budiaman is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman.