Category: Are You Hungry?

Monte Cristo Grilled Cheese Sandwich {recipe}

Monte Cristo Grilled Cheese Sandwich

April is National Grilled Cheese Month, so we’re celebrating by posting a grilled cheese sandwich every day. This is No.

The most obvious grilled cheese sandwich for a weekend brunch was some sort of French toast, so we turned to a named classic, the Monte Cristo…

If you’re familiar with the Croque Monsieur/Croque Madame, the Monte Cristo is a cousin, with similar ham and cheese ingredients of both, and the addition of egg like the Croque Madame. But unlike the Croque Madame, which is served with a fried or poached egg ontop of the sandwich, the Monte Cristo is essentially a savory French toast-wich, bread dipped in egg then fried.

There are all sorts of variations from there, including serving it open faced on two slices of French toast (rather than dipping one entire sandwich in the egg batter) and dusting the Monte Cristo with powdered sugar (this is what we always thought was the distinguishing characteristic of the Monte Cristo).

We kept ours simple, though, so we could get in front of the TV and watch the Masters.
Monte Cristo Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Monte Cristo Grilled Cheese Sandwich

makes 2 sandwiches


4 slices day old bread, preferably thick-sliced brioche (day old, slightly dried out bread will soak up the egg better)
4 slices Swiss cheese
2-4 thin slices ham
2-4 slices of roast chicken breast
2 eggs lightly beaten
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons softened butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


For each sandwich, place a slice of Swiss cheese on each piece of bread. Add 1-2 slices of ham and 1-2 slices of chicken breast, then close the sandwich.

(We were tempted to pile more ham and chicken breast onto the sandwich, but thought that a heavy meat-to-cheese-ratio would tip the sandwich away from “grilled cheese” and toward just “ham and cheese sandwich.”)

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over medium low heat. Add the butter. When it melts, swirl the pan to combine.

Dip the entire sandwich in a mixture of the beaten eggs and milk in a wide, shallow bowl or plate with high sides. Let the sandwich “soak” the egg mixture for about a minute, then flip the sandwich over to coat the other side with egg. Repeat with the second sandwich.

Cook the sandwiches slowly in a skillet or on a griddle on one side until egg is golden brown and set and cheese has started to melt, about five minutes. Turn and cook the other side.

Remove the grilled sandwiches from the pan. Cut into halves and serve. Some people dust the sandwich with powdered sugar and serve with jelly. This does not sound the least bit appetizing to us at all, but hey it’s your sandwich.



Rompibollo Chocolate :)







‘ Allow me to introduce you to the most revolutionary way of making coffee….directly from a stick! The Cappuccino Coffee Stick is a spoon laden with your favorite coffee-fix that dissolves deliciously into a steaming cup of water. Tear away the plastic wrap, dip the instant spoon and a few good swirls later; a piping hot cup of coffee is ready for your consideration. The need for “your type of coffee” can only be understood by an addict, I’m one and for me this design wins full brownie points. Now only if Nescafe Select were available on this spoon!






‘ The awarded sushi chief Ken Kawasumi from Tokyo Sushi Academy won the recent championship in Chiba with Obama-themed sushi rolls plate.Obama’s skin was made from amis (small shrimp), hair made from black sesame, fish paste – teeth. Creating the American flag Chief Ken used red tuna with raw squid for white color.Well, maybe it is really tasty but will it share the fate of recent cartoon?


I love a cake that has something hidden in it!  An ingredient that you might not have been expecting, or a layer of flavour hidden amongst sponge or icing.  Well, this is my version of a cake with a little surprise!

Bite through the soft sponge and creamy icing, and you’ll discover a tasty little puddle of custard!  Nobody was expecting this when my tasters ate the cakes, and there were a few chin dribbles, so a bit of forewarning or a piece of paper towel might not go amiss 😉
To a bowl, add 120g of butter, 120g of caster sugar, 120g of self-raising flour, 25g of cocoa powder, 1/2 a teaspoon of baking powder, 2 eggs, the finely grated peel of one orange and 1 teaspoon of orange extract.  Beat together until creamy and well combined.
I have used a special tin here, that leaves a hollow for the filling, but this really isn’t necessary, as I’ll explain later.  If you do have one of these tins, great, go ahead and grease the holes.  If not, just use a standard mini muffin tin.  Spoon the mixture into the holes equally, then bake in a preheated 180c oven for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the tin size used.  Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes after baking, then remove to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
To make the custard, add 1 tablespoon of custard powder and 2 tablespoons of caster sugar to a pan.  Place over a high heat and gradually whisk in 125ml of milk.  Continue stirring until the custard thickens, then remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.  Placing a piece of cling film directly onto the surface of the custard will stop a skin forming.
When the custard is cool, use it to fill the hollow of the cakes, level with the surface.  If you used a mini muffin tin, your favourite friend here is an apple corer!  Just press it down gently into the top of the cake to remove a piece large enough to fill with the custard.  You get to eat the leftover piece too…bonus 😉  No apple corer, then just use a sharp knife to make a hole.
For the icing, beat together 100g of butter, 100g of melted, cooled plain chocolate, 125g of icing sugar and 1/2 a teaspoon of orange extract until creamy and smooth.  Pipe gently onto each cake to cover the custard, and top with some grated orange zest or decoration of your choice.  I had some jellied orange slices in the baking cupboard, so used those.
We planted our first garden this summer and have excitedly watched and waited for each tiny bud to form into an actual vegetable. Now we are reaping the fruits of our labor. In a very plentiful way.
I didn’t realize just how many tomatoes eight plants would produce. I’ve harvested about four million of them in the last week. And another three or four million will be ready tomorrow. Rookie mistake? I thought so at first. But now, after making pounds of this most awesome salsa, I think not.
This roasted salsa is too easy to make. A few chops of the knife. A toss in olive oil, salt and pepper. Hot oven. A blender or food processor. Done.
And if you want to feel like a total super star, make your own tortilla chips. While that oven is roasting those home grown veggies, slip in another cookie sheet with simply prepped tortillas.
‘Tis time for some chip and salsa love my friends. While the tomatoes are fresh and readily available at the farmer’s market or your own backyard – get this salsa on your table!!!


Here’s the recipe:
Easy Roasted Salsa with Homemade Tortilla Chips
(serves 6-8)

Easy Roasted Salsa

5 tomatoes, quartered and seeded
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
2 jalapeno peppers, halved and seeded
4 cloves garlic
1/4 C olive oil
juice of 1/2 to 1 lime
1/3-1/2 C chopped cilantro
Preheat oven to 400℉.
Prepare your tomatoes, onion, garlic and jalapeno peppers and place on a rimmed cookie sheet. Pour olive oil over the vegetables and gently toss to coat. Sprinkle on salt and pepper and into the oven to roast for 20-30 minutes or until vegetables are caramelized.
Allow vegetables to cool for 15 minutes then spoon them into a blender or food processor. Squeeze on juice the juice of half or one full lime (depending on your taste) and toss in your chopped cilantro. Blend or process to your desired consistency. Do a taste test and add more salt, pepper, lime or cilantro if needed. Enjoy with some homemade tortilla chips – delish!
Homemade Tortilla Chips
1 package small, flour or corn, tortillas
1/3 C olive oil
2 cookie sheets

Preheat oven to 400℉.

Lightly brush olive oil onto both sides of your tortillas, stacking them on top of each other as you go. Once tortillas are coated, slice tortilla stack with a very sharp knife. Make three cuts, forming six triangle stacks.

Using two cookie sheets, lay your tortilla triangles in a single layer onto the sheets and place into the oven. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and sprinkle with salt. Allow chips to cool and then serve them with our Easy Roasted Salsa. Enjoy!

I love desserts that are unabashedly beautiful. Dishes that just beg to be looked at, admired, and praised…

…they’re gorgeous on their own, and little effort is put into their appearance, but when compared to other, more structured desserts, they stand apart.

Case in point: this Raspberry Pavlova, with its cloud-like base and seemingly sinful sauce. The whipped cream topping of course takes away a bit of its innocence (nobody’s perfect…), but the fresh raspberries that dot the top quickly help the dessert redeem itself, and the cream immediately gets set aside as a dirty little secret.

Each layer has something different to offer: the meringue’s crust, while crunchy, immediately melts in your mouth, and the rest of the ingredients quickly follow suit. The whipped cream – wait! What whipped cream? I thought we forgot about that! Moving on… the sauce, which is made in mere seconds, is smooth and satisfying, with light hints of vanilla and wine that give depth to an otherwise simple dessert.

Beautiful, isn’t it?

Raspberry Pavlova

Serves 8

1 ½ teaspoons white vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons corn starch
Pinch of sea salt
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 egg whites, at room temperature*
¾ cup granulated sugar

1 cup whipping cream
3 cups fresh raspberries
¼ cup red wine
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a small bowl, combine vinegar, corn starch, salt, and vanilla; set aside.

3. In a large bowl fit with an electric mixer, beat egg whites until foamy and somewhat stiff; with the mixer on, add sugar in increments of one tablespoon every five seconds. Beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, and then blend in the mixture from step 2.

4. Tranfer the egg-white mixture to the parchment-lined baking sheet and spread it out into a 10-inch circle with slightly raised edges, like a nest. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes, and then reduce heat to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake until light golden in colour, about 1 hour, and then turn off the oven. Let cool in the oven with the door closed, about 2-3 hours.

5. Remove meringue from the parchment and transfer to a serving dish. Whip cream until soft peaks form, and then distribute over top of the pavlova, leaving the outer 2 inches uncovered.

6. In a blender, combine 1 cup raspberries, wine, sugar, and vanilla; blend until smooth, and pour over cream. Top with remaining raspberries, slice, and serve.

Strawberry Basil Daiquiris

Post image for Strawberry Basil Daiquiris
As summer leaves us, I thought it was only fitting to go out with one of the most summery cocktails I could possibly think of: the daiquiri. I made these last week when it was gloomy and rainy in New York City, so I figured that these Strawberry Basil Daiquiris would help cheer Kramer and me right up. I switched things up from a typical daiquiri by adding, of course, the basil, but I also used one of my favorite liqours, St. Germain, in addition to rum, for a mellow sweetness that paired perfectly with the fresh strawberries. There’s nothing quite like sipping on a frozen daiquiri in the dead of summer – it cools you off and makes you care a little less about the sweltering heat. Fall is just around the corner, so I hope that everyone gets a chance to enjoy these last couple weeks of sunshine! It’s a beautiful day in the city, and I certainly plan to make the most of it! On a side note, I want to wish a Happy Birthday to my friend Lindsey over at Little Seed, Big Apple!
ingredients Strawberry Basil Daiquiris
Your ingredients, although I didn’t end up using any club soda.

juice Strawberry Basil Daiquiris
Juice your lime and lemon.

blender1 Strawberry Basil Daiquiris
Add your chopped strawberries, basil, lime and lemon juice, sugar, rum, St. Germain, and ice to your blender and pulse until the ice is mostly blended through.

blender2 Strawberry Basil Daiquiris

daiquiri11 Strawberry Basil Daiquiris
Pour into a glass (you can strain it if you like…but I’m lazy and didn’t) and garnish with a fresh strawberry.

daiquiri44 Strawberry Basil Daiquiris
10 large fresh strawberries, washed, tops removed, and quartered
6 large basil leaves
juice of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lime
5 ounces white rum
3 ounces St. Germain
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2-3 cups of ice
4 strawberries, for garnish

1. Add your quartered strawberries, basil leaves, lemon juice, lime juice, rum, St. Germain, sugar, and ice to your blender. Pulse until everything is well blended, taste, and add more sugar, ice, or whatever else you think is needed. Strain, if you like (I didn’t) into 4 glasses and garnish with a fresh strawberry.

Pate de Fruit


Pates de fruit are also known as fruit jellies. They are chewy candies with an intense fruit taste made from purees of fresh fruit. They look elegant, just like precious edible gems.

It is not difficult to make pates de fruit at home. The process is similar to jam making. You will need a candy thermometer and a bit of patience, but the result is extremely rewarding. Once you have made it once, you can’t stop wanting to experiment with other fruits to make an array of rainbow color fruit jellies.

I have decided to make some red heart pates de fruit, simply because I have these silicon ice cube molds from Ikea. These fruit jellies are usually set in a lined and oiled tray and cut into the desired shapes. If you plan to mold them in similar kind of silicon molds, make sure you spray the molds with a layer of oil so the jellies can be taken out easily.

I chose to use a mix of strawberries and peaches as using pure strawberry will result in a very dark shade of red. You will need to mix in some yellow fruit purée to obtain the bright red color. Peaches or mango are both suitable.

These pates de fruit are a great party idea to be served as petites fours and they are also great to make for the holidays.

It is a good recipe to make with kids. They love rolling the set jellies in the sugar and popping some in their mouths along the way.


Pate de Fruit


Strawberry and Peach Paté de Fruits Recipe
Makes about 40 hearts depending on size cutINGREDIENTS:

9 oz. strawberries fresh or defrosted from frozen
7 oz. peaches, fresh or canned
1 tablespoon lemon juice, fresh
2 cups sugar
5 teaspoons powdered pectin


1. Prepare an 8”x8” pan by lining it with parchment paper and spraying it with non-stick cooking spray (I use heart-shaped silicon molds sprayed with non-stick cooking spray).
2. Place the strawberries and peaches in a blender or food processor and process until well pureed.
3. Pour them through a mesh strainer into a medium saucepan, discarding any remaining fruit chunks. Stir in the lemon juice, 1/2 cup of the sugar and the powdered pectin, place the pan over medium-high heat, and insert a candy thermometer.
4. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until it is hot, around 140°F. Add the remaining 1.5 cups of sugar, and lower the heat to medium.
5. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture registers 200°F. At this point, turn the heat to low and hold it at 200°F for 2-3 minutes. After this, return the heat to medium and bring it up to 225°F. This process will take some time, especially with the heat on medium, so be patient and stir continuously so the bottom doesn’t burn.
6. Once the fruit paste reaches 225°F, turn the heat to low and keep it at that temperature for an additional 2 minutes.
7. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the strawberry and peach pate de fruit mixture into the prepared pan, smoothing it into an even layer.
8. Allow the pate de fruit mixture to set at room temperature for several hours, until completely cooled and become firm. Use a sharp knife to cut it into the desired shapes, and roll the individual pieces with granulated sugar.
9. The strawberry and peach pate de fruits can be served immediately, or refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week. If refrigerated, the pieces may need to be re-rolled in granulated sugar before serving.

Stormy Morning

I first encountered the Stormy Morning on my birthday last year in New Orleans at my favorite restaurant, The Bayona on Dauphine St. in the French Quarter.  We arrived early for our reservation and I ordered a Stormy Morning from the drink menu while waiting for our table, intrigued by the mention of Créme de Violette.  This drink gets its dramatic presence from the floral scented and violet colored liquor swirling and tumbling to the bottom as the champagne fizzles to the top.  After getting back home from the trip I began acquiring its uncommonly used ingredients, and we’ve recreated this lovely beverage several times over.  (Recipe below)

Stormy Morning CocktailStormy Morning Cocktail

1.5 oz Rathman Créme de Violette
1.5 oz St. Germain elderflower liqueur
1 oz fresh lime juice
4 oz Champagne
Lime wedges to garnish

Pour the creme de violette over ice.  Add St. Germain and lime juice and top off with Champagne.

How to make a heart shaped egg

Strawberry Goat Cheese Tart {No Bake}

I love goat cheese. I’d like it to be my Valentine.
I love it in crepes, on pizza, on quesadillas, and now in a tart.

I was impatient about this already easy-breezy-speedy tart. It came together in about 30 minutes and then I only chilled it for 20 minutes before slicing (instead of the recommended 2 hours).

… the crust was a bit crumbly.

It didn’t ruin anything though. Jake didn’t judge it. (I maybe judged it a little.) But the truth is, sometimes you just need to eat dessert sooner than the recipe suggests. You see, that’s what’s fun about making this stuff yourself. You make your own rules. You do what you want.

This tart is so tasty though! It tastes like the best parts of summer. It keeps it real without requiring any baking. It’s my current BFF.

P.S. I ate this piece before I ate lunch today. I made a real mess of it.

Strawberry Goat Cheese Tart
crust –

  • 12 double graham crackers*
  • 6 T unsalted butter, melted
  • pinch of salt
 * the ones that are about 5 x 2 1/2-inches
filling –
  • 5-6 oz. goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup strawberry jam
  • zest from 1/2 of a small orange, optional
berries + glaze –
  • strawberries
  • 2 T strawberry jam
  • 1 T honey


  1. Make crust. Crush the graham crackers in a food processor or in a plastic bag using a rolling pin. Make sure they are crumbs, for real, and no large chunks remain. Add the salt, and melted butter stirring thoroughly. Pour the graham cracker mixture into a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Press the mixture along the sides and bottom until evenly coated. Carefully place the tart pan in the freezer while you prepare the filling.
  2. Make filling. Using an electric mixer, beat the goat cheese with the strawberry jam and orange zest, if using. Spread evenly over the chilled crust.
  3. Slice the berries. Trim the ends of the strawberries and arrange them, pointed side up around the perimeter of the tart. Slice the remaining strawberries and pile them in the center; covering the entire surface of the tart.
  4. Make the glaze by stirring together the honey and strawberry jam. Brush over the berries. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours, but overnight is best, to let the crust set completely and for the flavors to meld. Remove from tart pan, slice, and serve!

Italian Steak Sandwich

The snow has finally melted and probably stayed away for good (seven months), so it was high time to bring the grill out of hibernation and fire it up.  One of the first things to make was this little beauty.  Utilizing the Roasted Red Pepper and Gorgonzola Dip and the Caramelized Onions, you too can make this incredible sandwich!  Synergy–it’s a real life buzzword!
This is the Italian Steak Sandwich– a Tuscan-style sandwich with a base of lean steak grilled to pinkish medium rare perfection, sliced, and tossed with a seasoned oil.  Then it is layered with greens, onions, and the Roasted Red Pepper and Gorgonzola Dip.  It is all sandwiched between grilled Ciabatta rolls.
The original recipe called for watercress, but I thought the peppery flavor of arugula would pair nicely with the meaty steak flavor.  The original recipe did not call for onions, but I added caramelized red onions to add a note of sweetness to round out all the strong and savory flavors.  These changes made for one delicious sandwich that I can’t wait to make again.


Italian Steak Sandwich
makes 4 sandwiches
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 Tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 boneless sirloin steak, about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds
4 Ciabatta rolls, sliced in half and brushed with extra-virgin olive oil
Baby arugula, washed and dried
Caramelized red onions, add as much or as little as you like
1 cup of the Roasted Red Bell Pepper and Gorgonzola Dip
Preheat a charcoal or gas grill to medium-high heat.  In a medium bowl, combine the oil, parsley, thyme, and rosemary, and pepper flakes if using.  Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Brush grill with some of the oil.  Season both sides of the steak with salt and pepper.  Place the steak on the grill, cover, and cook for 5 minutes on each side for medium rare.  Remove the steak from the grill and let rest for 5 minutes.
While the steak rests, toast the rolls on the grill, cut side down, for 1-2 minutes.  Thinly slice the steak across the grain and toss with the remaining seasoned oil.  Place a handful of arugula on the bottom of the roll, top with the caramelized onions, steak, the Roasted Red Bell Pepper and Gorgonzola Dip, and the tops of the rolls.  Cut in half and serve.  Enjoy!
Here it is– my last installment for our Irish themed menu, Parslied Potatoes.  I’ll save the Cabbage Gratin for another time.   While these potatoes dress the Whiskey Glazed Corned Beef wellthey are a staple in our household, complimenting several other main dishes. With just a few ingredients and a small amount of time, you are rewarded with tender and buttery potatoes that have a golden crust.  You can use any herb of your choice.  Chives, rosemary, thyme, and tarragon all work well.  However, if you are making them with corned beef, I would stick with the parsley.  It lends a nice and clean herbal note.  Just remember, make it for you, make it your own.
The only trick to this recipe is regulating the heat on your burner.  You do not want the heat too high after the initial sauté.  That will cause the butter to brown too much and the potatoes will burn.
Even if you are not making these with corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day, they are a perfect side to any roast meat or fish at any time of the year.


Parslied Potatoes
serves 4-6
2 pounds small Yukon Gold potatoes, size B or smaller, washed and dried
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
3 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
Peel the potatoes smoothly and pat dry on a paper towel; do not wash again.  Heat the oil and butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  When the butter foam subsides, add the potatoes and allow them to cook undisturbed for 2 minutes.  Turn the potatoes over and cook for another 2 minutes.  Shake the skillet back and forth and sauté for another 4-5 minutes.  The potatoes should have a pale golden color with a seared crust that will prevent them from sticking to the pan.
Sprinkle the potatoes with salt and shake the skillet again.  Lower the heat to medium to medium-low, cover with a tight fitting lid, and cook for 15 minutes, shaking the skillet every 3-4 minutes to prevent sticking and to ensure an even color.  (If you don’t have a lid, you can use a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil tightly wrapped over the edges, being careful not to burn your fingers.)  The potatoes will be done when they are easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife.  Depending on the size of your potatoes, they may need another 5-10 minutes.
Once the potatoes are cooked through, drain the fat from the skillet, reserving the potatoes.  Off heat, add the softened butter, parsley, and black pepper to taste.  Roll the potatoes to coat.  Transfer the potatoes to a serving platter.  Enjoy!
This Sunday marks the last day of summer vacation and the first school night of the school year– a bittersweet feeling for all.   My children played a role in helping me create this back to school menu.  It is mostly good comfort food, but with a knock-out dessert.
It has been quite some time since I made this cake.  In fact, the last time I made it was for my mother’s birthday over three years ago.  The recipe may seem daunting, but really all it takes is a little patience.   A jammed packed summer with three kids will teach one patience, won’t it?  It was a good summer and I couldn’t be happier to make this cake for them.  This cake consists of layers (upon layers) of chocolate crêpes.  In between these layers is a swiss meringue buttercream that is flavored with Nutella and lightened with a little whipped cream.  It is then finished with a rich chocolate glaze.

When I make the crêpes, I seem to come out with more than originally called for (thirty-nine to be exact).  However, I am unable to get all the way to the thirty-two layers for the final cake.  I come in between twenty-eight and thirty.  That leaves a few extra crêpes for snacking and that’s o.k. by me.  I also add a bit of espresso powder to bump up the chocolate flavor in the crêpes.  The recipe calls for hazelnut cream, but I use Nutella and reduce the amount of sugar.  A bit of Frangelico in the filling is optional, but good.

Good Sunday comfort food with a decadent dessert and nothing but crêpe expectations for the coming school year!  Ooof!

Darkest Chocolate Crêpe Cake
serves 14-16

For the Crêpes
makes about 30-40 crepes (I get 39)

1/4 cup water
3/4 cup (6 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon espresso powder
2 1/2 cups whole milk at room temperature
6 extra large eggs
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract

For the Filling
makes about 8 cups
2/3 cup heavy cream
6 extra large egg whites
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups (14 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces and softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Frangelico (optional)
1/3 cup Nutella
Pinch of kosher salt

For the Glaze (makes about 2 cups)
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
Pinch of kosher salt
10 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Candied Hazelnuts
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 ounces hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped

For the Crêpes
In a medium sauce pan, bring the water to a rolling boil over medium-high heat.  Add the butter one piece at a time, whisking to combine after each addition.  Remove from the heat and add the chocolate.  Stir until completely smooth; set aside.

In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and espresso powder.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and vanilla.  Gradually add the milk mixture to the flour mixture, whisking until smooth.  Gradually add the chocolate mixture, whisking until smooth.  Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight.  Once rested, pour and press through a fine-mesh sieve; discard any lumps.

Lightly coat an 8-inch crepe pan or 10-inch non-stick skillet with melted butter and heat over medium heat; wipe out excess.  Pour about 3 tablespoons of batter into the pan, swirling to coat bottom.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the crêpe, flipping once until edges are golden and center is set, about 30-45 seconds per side.  Transfer crepe (I invert the pan with a whack on the counter) to a sheet of waxed paper.  Continue with remaining batter (no butter needed for non-stick skillet), placing a sheet of waxed paper between each crepe.  Crêpes can be made and refrigerated for up to one day.

For the Filling
In a medium bowl using a wire whisk or a hand held mixer, beat the cream until soft peaks form, about 3-5 minutes.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Whisk egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer set over a pan of simmering water.  Stir until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture registers 160º F on a candy thermometer, about 3 minutes.  Remove from the heat and place the bowl on the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on high until slightly cooled and stiff (not dry) peaks form, about 5 minutes.  Switch the whisk attachment for the paddle attachment. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter, a few pieces at a time, mixing well after each addition (meringue will deflate slightly as butter is added).  Add vanilla, Frangelico, Nutella, and salt; beat until the mixture comes together, about 5-7 minutes.  (Mixture will separate at first.  If the mixture looks grainy, place in the refrigerator to cool. Then beat again until smooth and fluffy).  Using a rubber spatuala, fold in the refrigerated whipped cream; use immediately.

To Assemble
Place an 8-inch round of parchment paper over a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet .  Place a crêpe on top of the parchment.  Evenly spread about 3 tablespoons of filling on top of the crêpe.  Top with another crêpe.  Continue layering with filling and crepes, using about 32 crêpes and ending with a crêpe on top.  Refrigerate until firm, at least one hour.

For the Hazelnuts
Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Cook until the sugar dissolves.  Bring the mixture to a boil.  Without stirring, continue to cook until the mixture turns a light amber color. Remove from the heat and add the hazelnuts, stirring to coat.  Pour the candied hazelnuts onto a piece of parchment paper and spread to an even layer.  Allow the mixture to cool completely.  Break or chop into smaller pieces.

Spoon 1/2 cup of the glaze on top of the cake, spreading to edges with off-set spatula.  Spread remaining glaze around the sides of the cake, coating completely.  Refrigerate until glaze is firm and set, about 30 minutes.  Cake can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Garnish with candied hazelnuts. Enjoy!