Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I Heart Nutella

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The first time I made these hazelnut sandwich cookies was during the holidays for our extended family Christmas party. I used a fluted round cookie cutter and then made tiny cut-outs in the top cookie using very small cookie cutters in the shape of a Christmas tree, candy cane and star. The small cut-out (less than 1 cm) gave just a glimpse of the shiny raspberry jam sandwiched between the cookies. I made a mental note to definitely make these cookies once again in February for Valentine's Day.

My original plan was to make the classic heart shaped cookies with a heart shaped cut-out and fill them with raspberry jam and give them a light dusting of powdered sugar. But when I dug out my set of heart shaped cookie cutters I realized that I didn't have a heart shaped cookie cutter that would be small enough to make the cut-out for the top of the sandwich cookie. So I quickly switched gears and decided to keep both the bottom and tops uncut and fill the cookies with Nutella. That yummy chocolate hazelnut spread went perfectly with the hazelnuts in the cookie dough.

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And as I sit here writing this post my mind drifted back to the last time I made something using Nutella. I created the Nutella cheesecake brownies for last year's World Nutella Day (which was February 6th, 2007). Then I realized that this year's Nutella day could be happening any day. So I quickly Googled and I found out that tomorrow, February 5th, is 2008's World Nutella Day. I didn't even know until this moment. How's that for fate stepping in and making sure I didn't have the right cookie cutter size so that I would have to use Nutella instead jam? And then finding out about Nutella Day with minutes (hopefully) to the deadline?
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I don't know if I made the February 4th deadline to be included in Sara and Michelle's roundup. (Yikes! It's Feb. 4th 11:48 pm PST now!) If not, be sure to check out all the other great Nutella creations and most importantly, eat Nutella.

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Hazelnut Nutella Sandwich Cookies
(adapted from Kate Zuckerman's "The Sweet Life")
(makes 5 dozen sandwich cookies)


5 ounces hazelnuts
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
8 ounces (2 sticks/16 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened at room temp
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup Nutella (or any brand of chocolate hazelnut spread)

Combine hazelnuts, 1/2 cup flour and salt in the bowl of food processor. Pulse until nuts are ground to a fine powder. In a mixing bowl, combine the nut powder, remaining 2 cups of flour, cinnamon and baking powder. Set aside the dry ingredients.

In the bowl of stand mixer using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 6 to 8 minutes. Make sure to stop occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and mix until the batter looks smooth and glossy, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the dry ingredients all at once to the mixture. Drape a kitchen towel over the mixer and bowl to prevent the flour from spraying all over the place. Then, on low speed, mix until the dry ingredients are combined, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Scrape the dough onto a sheet of plastic food wrap and form a flat rectangle about 1-inch thick. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone sheets.

Roll the chilled dough out to 1/16-inch thick. Using a 1 1/2-inch cookie cutter, cut out cookies as close together on the dough as you can. Place the cut cookies 1 inch apart on your prepared baking sheets. Shape any remaining dough scrapes into a disk and refrigerate for 20 minutes before rolling it out again.

Chill the cut cookies in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before baking. (This 15 minute chill is optional but I like to give the cut cookies a brief rest to relax the gluten so that my cookies are tenderer).

Bake the cookies at 350F until golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes. Allow cookies to cool completely before filling. Spread half the cookies with some Nutella and cover with remaining cookies to make a sandwich.

The sandwich cookies are best eaten the same day. You can bake the cookies and store them in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Fill them the day you plan to serve them.

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36 comments:

Sara said...

yum, these look so delicious!!

Kitt said...

Wow, I just bought Nutella tonight on a whim (I was supposed to put it in challah last week, but had to substitute melted chocolate with almond butter instead because I had no Nutella in the house).

And what I really hear you saying (besides "make these cookies") is that the big spoonful I just ate straight from the jar is an internationally sanctioned activity. I feel so ... affirmed. Thanks!

Peabody said...

Mmmm, what a great idea. Feel free to send me some. :)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Pretty hearts. The cookies look super good even without the Nutella.

bleeding espresso said...

You're *so* in--these are adorable! And I'm sure delicious too.

Thanks so much for participating!

Veron said...

Perfect for valentines too. I so heart nutella!

Deborah said...

Your cookies sound perfect!!

Hillary said...

Those are too cute! You should submit the recipe to our Valentine's Day contest - I love how they're heart shaped!

caitlyn said...

They look delicious! Now I've got to buy some Nutella so I can make these cookies!

ChefSara said...

mmm...nutella. you have me drooling all over my keyboard!

Karen said...

Looks great! Love Nutella but would be better in your sandwich cookies.

Brilynn said...

I heart nutella too!

breadchick said...

I can eat Nutella right out of the jar with a spoon but I like the idea of using it as the creamy middle of a sweet cookie!

RecipeGirl said...

Very cute :)

creampuff said...

You know, just the other day I was wondering about World Nutella Day. I can't believe I missed it! These cookie are so beautiful, Mary ... I wish I could have some with a glass of milk!

clumsy said...

Oh my gosh... World Nutella Day? I'm *so* excited!!

Laura said...

I love Nutella on just about everything from crepes to a spoonful dipped in hot milk. I never knew there was an official day...I think I assumed every day is Nutella Day!

bbaking said...

How cute! yum I don't think I have had nutella for years!
Nutella day? There is a day for everything these days! haha
I have just decided to make some heart shaped cookies for Valentines day now! Thanks for the inspiration x

Sakai said...

theres a world nutellas list? wow

Sara said...

Those are lovely cookies! I love Nutella but I never buy it....because I love it too much.

Katy said...

i heart those cookies! how adorable! my boyfriend loves nilla wafer sandwiches filled with peanut butter -- i'm going to fill them with nutella for him from now on...

Tartelette said...

Anything with Nutella Rocks!! Beautiful cookies, I bet the flavor was magical!

daphne said...

beautiful! and did u say 5 dozen cookies? that's huge!

stacielk said...

Those look great! Question about the hazelnuts, I need to buy some for a torte I am making. Do they come bagged in the grocery store like walnuts or almonds or do you have to go to a specialty store for them? Hopefully not...
Thanks!

Us vs. Food said...

sandwiches and cookies, 2 of my favorite things!

i especially love baked goods made with ground nuts. these are definitely going on the short list, to be filled with raspberry.

MrsPresley said...

mmmmm, i LOVE nutella too! those cookies look awesome :)

i just joined the DB this month, just checking out everyone else’s blogs, wanted to say hello :)

Erich & Stacia Schienbein said...

I am so sad that I missed Nutella Day!!!
My husband and I insisted on a Nutella flavored cake for our wedding...three layers of vanilla chiffon cake with chopped hazelnuts, with a chocolate bavarian cream (with chopped hazelnuts) icing...so decadent!
can't wait to try your cookies!!!

Terri said...

Ok...so I've never tried Nutella...but you sold me on this post.

Love you blog and your photos are amazing!!!

Terri
www.burningkitchen.blogspot.com

VeggieGirl said...

I had no idea there was a World Nutella Day... what a decadent celebration!! and your cookies are quite fitting for the occasion :0)

Judy said...

Oh yum, these are so perfect for V-Day. I heart nutella too.

Cheryl said...

I can't believe I still haven't tried Nutella yet. I really must do so soon, it looks amazing. I like how you switched up the gears and came up with the perfectly timed dessert.

Gabi said...

Can't wait to try these! They look so delicious!
xoxo

Nan said...

Nutella is just soooo good. These cookies may even top just eating it from the jar with a spoon, which is usually what ends up happening :)

platinum blonde said...

These look so delicious.

Lara said...

Count me in on all the Nutella lovin' going on here! My favorite way to eat it is slathered on a thin slice of pound cake (which has been lightly buttered on one side) loaded with sliced strawberries, topped with a second piece of Nutella-slathered, buttered pound cake and grilled as a sweet panini-type masterpiece! I am definitely trying these cookies!

nicole. said...

i made these cookies last weekend for my nieces birthday and they were amazing! everyone loved them. great recipe!