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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Nutty for Nutella

Last Friday, when I was doodling around in my kitchen, I realized that I had one jar of Nutella in use and two in reserve.  How did that happen?  Kate loves Nutella so we always have it on hand, but usually I have only one jar on deck.  Well, as I am aging I guess I am forgetting what I have and do not have in the house, and this turned out to be a very lucky break for Kate.

For years, Nutella was practically a food group for Kate.  When she was in middle school, the doctor told us that she had to gain weight.  So, I started bulking up everything she ate with things like peanut butter and Nutella.  We would make milk shakes and chocolate pudding with whole milk and a healthy dollop of Nutella.  And she would just eat the stuff straight, that's how much she loved it.

Thus began Kate's love affair with Nutella.  I really think it's her favorite food.  She sometimes carries a jar (and a spoon)  in her tennis bag for a quick pick-me-up after practice.  I like Nutella although I don't think I'd go for it right out of the jar.  To each her own.

The point of all this is that I had been, for a long time, thinking that I could make Nutella cookies.  I had never gotten around to actually trying to and had never even looked for a recipe.  But today was going to be Kate's lucky day.  I was feeling ambitious and I had the time.

I figured that Nutella was an ingredient like peanut butter so why not take a peanut butter cookie recipe and play around with it.  I pulled out my favorite chocolate peanut butter cookie recipe and initially thought I would go half and half peanut butter and Nutella but then I decided to be bold and go for straight Nutella.   I thought the whole mixture could use a little more interest so I added  some chocolate chips.

The end result was amazing.  The cookies were crunchy around the edges and chewy in the middle.  They were pretty too, all crackly on the top.  Not bad for a first attempt.  The next time I make these cookies I think I'll add hazelnuts instead of the walnuts.  (I didn't have hazelnuts in the house.)  And I still kind of like the idea of the peanut butter / Nutella combination.  I'll share my recipes as I test them.  I love a project.

Recipe:  Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies


1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup Nutella
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Preheat the oven to 350.

Cream the butter in the an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the brown sugar and the granulated sugar and mix well, scraping down the sides.  Add the Nutella and combine well.  Add the eggs, one at a time and then add the vanilla.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix on low speed until fully incorporated.  Fold in the chocolate chips and the nuts.  Refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes.

Using a scooper, drop the dough onto parchment lined baking sheets, making sure to leave at least 1 1/2 inches between the cookies.  Bake for 11 - 13 minutes, until the edges look crispy.  Allow to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

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