I first heard about Nutella 10 years ago when I working in a lab with two Swiss scientists. Both would tout the merits of something called Nutella and how it was superior to American peanut butter. Their comments never bothered me because everyone is entitled to their own opinion and they usually took the extreme view just for the sake of argument. Sure, they preferred Nutella to peanut butter, but everyone has preferences. Later, one scientist mentioned to me that peanut butter wasn’t entirely gross. Coming from him, "wasn't entirely gross" is pretty much the equivalent of a compliment. So I secretly declared victory for peanut butter.
I don’t know how a chocolate hazelnut spread like Nutella can even be compared to peanut butter. They are completely different. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. They both have their place in the kitchen. But it wasn’t until recently that they co-existed in my kitchen.
I bought my very first jar of Nutella a few months ago. A recipe for self-frosting Nutella cupcakes was floating around the food blogosphere so I had to try it. Fast forward 3 months later and I still had that same jar sitting around in my cupboard. So I was determined to finally use it up. Taking inspiration from various chocolate cookie recipes I’ve baked over the years, this Nutella cookie was born. I was so pleased with the results that I actually bought a Costco sized jar of Nutella yesterday.
(makes 30 cookies)
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
7 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp.
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2/3 cup Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup toasted & skinned hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350F.
Sift together flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside dry ingredients.
Cream together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in Nutella and vanilla extract. Mix in egg.
Add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Add chocolate chips and hazelnuts.
Drop tablespoons of dough 2 inches apart onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for about 11 minutes until the edges look set. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes then carefully remove to cooling racks.
I had some leftover dough from my peanut butter and jelly bars. I probably used too little of the dough for the bottom layer and therefore I was left with too much for the top layer. Instead of making my bars "top heavy", I saved the extra dough and made peanut butter cookies.
My tiny garden is bursting with dahlias right now. Did you know that the dahlia is the official flower of San Francisco?