I’m laying here in bed, writing this post as I watch the rain fall outside my window. Fall is here. The long days of endless sunshine are getting broken up this week with bouts of clouds and showers. This change is welcomed. But while I sit here oozing with excitement for fall and the wonderful “mood” it brings, I can’t help but want to take a moment to remember summer. I’m guilty of rushing onto the next exciting thing in my life all too often, when I really want to savor precious moments that have just passed. Photography is a huge help in this area for me. Moments captured. Flipping through images on my phone or computer to bring back stories and emotions surrounding life’s past experiences. But too often do Scott and I find ourselves giving those photos a flip through or two, and then no more. That was until this year.
Last Christmas we ordered our first holiday cards. There was something about holding the printed image of us two that triggered something. It was beautiful paper, not shiny or distracting in any way, but sturdy and complimentary to its purpose. I knew our picture had been printed, but it felt handmade. Something I would have wanted to make myself. I was proud of them, and wanted to hold and stare at one every day leading up to mailing off the cards. We were so enamored with this printing that Scott and I decided to order books and sets of prints for our families for Christmas. They turned out so beautiful, and I again felt as if I had made them by hand. This quality came through with every product we ordered. And so our printing continued. Not as much as I would have liked, but still we found more and more square prints making it into our home. I love flipping through them each week, choosing which one in the stack I want to have displayed on our table to trigger sweet memories when I glance at it during the day. All of the prints I am mentioning here today were by one company, Artifact Uprising. This company has a special place in my heart. They consist of a stellar team right here in Denver, and truly care about helping people take their captured memories and transfer them to print. To hold and remember. To pass down in your family for others to remember. Your life is your legacy, and what is a more beautiful way to pass it on than through photographs. Before leaving for our end of summer camping trip I knew I wanted to do something to remember this incredible summer by, and that’s when I stumbled upon AU’s newest product – their Layflat books. I go into detail about this amazing book further down in my post (as well as give details on the GIVEAWAY), but before I do I want to take a moment in the midst of remembering summer to taste a bit of fall. What better way to spend a morning flipping through a gorgeously crafted book filled with summer memories, than to do so while sipping on a cup of coffee and nibbling on a slice of pumpkin bread swirled with homemade Nutella? I bring you not just one, but all of these things today.
Let’s talk about this homemade Nutella (pictured above). I tried a handful of versions before landing on the one I loved most. There are quite a few rambling around out there using everything from raw cacao, coconut oil, maple syrup, cane sugar, coconut sugar, butter, milk, etc. I came to find that using the simplest ingredients yielded (IMO) the best, richest chocolate hazelnut spread. I kept it simple. I used a high quality dark chocolate bar and almond milk to give the spread it’s creamy, smooth chocolate flavor. A little splash of vanilla and pinch of salt to bring out the flavors even more. And made my own toasted hazelnut butter which the aforementioned ingredients were blended with to create the spread you see above. At first it is thick but very creamy. Then once it cools and is stored in the refrigerator it settles into this rich, thick (but still spreadable) consistency. I’m in love. And if you give my version here a try, I hope you are too!
Now let’s talk about this monster of a pumpkin bread loaf. This is my recipe for life. On its own this bread can seriously hold its own, the extra Nutella swirl and chopped hazelnuts just give it bonus points. This loaf is made with only the best, whole food ingredients. Perfectly sweetened with maple syrup, and spiced to perfection with the mixture I have included here. I love the slight crunch of the top and how it contrasts with the fluffy, moist interior. Its bright hew made perfect by the pumpkin puree, and the fluffiness of the spelt and oat flour mixture. This bread is my new go-to from now till the foreseeable future. I could (and might) eat a slice every day this fall. Those chopped hazelnuts on top have a bit of a story, though. The ones you see here are the non-burnt pieces that were hiding under the top layer which burnt pretty badly during the extra long baking time. Despite tossing the chopped pieces in a teaspoon of high heat oil beforehand. However, after removing the top burnt later, the bottom layer was toasted just great. But be warned. I would recommend waiting until after the loaf has fully baked to top it with an extra layer of the hazelnut chocolate spread and then add a few handfuls of the beloved chopped hazelnuts. The latter option is more foolproof, and less wasteful.
Now onto this gorgeous book and the giveaway! I still cannot keep myself from flipping through the pages in awe of the quality of Artifact Uprising’s new Layflat books. From the woven cover, to the letterpress title, to the thick pages holding onto so many precious memories. This is the right way to make a book. Its flawless. The way the pages are woven allow for a seamless center (hence the name Layflat) allowing you to print full-page spreads without a break. I’ve never seen our photos printed so well. It gives the memories a just portrayal. The design is simplistic, allowing the images to be viewed without distraction. Plus their layout options allow you to really choose the best way to display the moments you have captured. I want to have a wall full of these books, so we can sit and remember all of the memories we have saved for life through our photographs. I cannot wait to build a few for family and friends this holiday season as well. What a gem of a piece to receive from someone. This is no ordinary book. It surpasses the quality and feel of any other I have ever had printed. Excuse me while I go flip through it again. And while I do, be sure to scroll down below the recipe here in this post to enter in the incredibly generous giveaway Artifact Uprising is allowing me to do here for you today! It will run through next Wednesday, October 7th, and the winner will receive a $100 credit to use on their site. Use it to build one of these stellar Layflat books, a block of square prints, framed wall art, holiday cards this season, etc. This is my most favorite giveaway yet, so be sure to enter! Happy printing.
Tid-bits: When choosing a dark chocolate bar for the Nutella, try not to go above 55% otherwise it will be too bitter. Also strive to find a dark chocolate bar that is organic and fairly traded, if possible, and always go by my rule of thumb when it comes to baking with chocolate – if you wouldn’t eat it on its own, don’t use it in a recipe. When it comes to the pumpkin, if you are not roasting and pureeing you own, look for it canned as long as it is organic and stored in a BPA free container. As for the flours, they are special and I do not recommend substitutions. However, if you are gluten free I would suppose a gluten free flour blend would do well in place of the spelt flours. Don’t like hazelnuts but want a chocolate spread? Replace the hazelnuts with almonds, just reduce the oven temperature to 300F when toasting and don’t worry about removing the skins. Just want plain old pumpkin bread? Make it on its own! It’s stellar and can hold its own without the frills.
HOMEMADE NUTELLA SWIRLED PUMPKIN BREAD W/ HAZELNUTS
Makes 1 GIANT loaf, or 8 hefty slices.
1 1/2 cups raw hazelnuts
a pinch of salt
3.2 ounces quality, good tasting dark chocolate (about 3/4 cup chopped)
3/4 cup plain, unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup whole spelt flour
1 cup light spelt flour (or more whole spelt)
1 1/2 cups oat flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup plain, unsweetened almond milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Begin with the Nutella. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and place the hazelnuts on top. Toast in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the skins are browned. Remove and let cool slightly, then transfer the nuts to a dish towel. Fold the towel over in half to cover the hazelnuts and rub vigorously to remove as much of the skins as you can (not all of the skins will come off, this is okay, just try to remove as much as possible). Add the hazelnuts to the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. While the hazelnuts are blending, chop the dark chocolate and place in a small bowl with the vanilla. Heat the almond milk on the stove on low until simmering, then pour it over the chocolate in the bowl. Let sit for a moment, then whisk until the chocolate is fully melted and smooth. Once the hazelnuts are done blending, add a pinch of salt and the chocolate mixture to the food processor. Process for an additional minute, then transfer the chocolate hazelnut spread to a glass jar to cool on the counter while you prepare the pumpkin bread. (Note: you can prepare the Nutella ahead of time and keep in the refrigerator in an airtight jar. It will thicken nicely into a spread once cooled and chilled. Store extra Nutella this way after adding to the bread as well.)
For the pumpkin bread, preheat the oven to 400F and combine the dry ingredients in an extra large mixing bowl. In a small saucepan on the stove, combine the coconut oil, maple syrup, and almond milk. Whisk until coconut oil is melted and the mixture fully warmed. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla an pumpkin puree. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet into the center. Mix thoroughly with a whisk. Transfer half of of batter to a parchment lined 9×5 loaf pan. Scoop a few tablespoons of the homemade Nutella on top of the batter and swirl with a knife (these steps are pictured above). Add the remaining pumpkin bread batter to the loaf pan. (If you want to risk whether the nuts will burn or not – as I discussed in the post above, mix a handful of chopped hazelnuts with a teaspoon or two of high heat neutral oil and then sprinkle on top before baking. Or wait until the loaf has fully baked and spread a nice layer of Nutella on top and then add your chopped hazelnuts. *I recommend the second option.*)
Place the loaf in the oven and bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean (about 1 hour and 15 to 20 minutes). I like my loaf to have a nice crunch to the top to contrast the fluffy moist texture inside, but if you wish for the loaf to stay soft you can place a sheet of foil over the top for the last 20 minutes of baking. When finished, remove the loaf from the oven and let cool in the pan on the counter. Remove the loaf from the pan using the parchment paper “wings”. Slice and serve immediately (preferably with a glass of almond milk), or store at room temperature in an airtight container once fully cooled. Best if eaten within 3 to 5 days. (The homemade Nutella should keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.)
This post was done in collaboration with Artifact Uprising. All thoughts and opinions are my own, and I truly love this company.
Now closed, thanks to everyone who participated! Enter to win a $100 credit to use on Artifact Uprising by filling out this form by next Wednesday, October 7th!