I was recently inspired by Mary’s recipe at one of my favorite blogs, alpineberry, to search my local stores for Nutella. For those of you unfamiliar, Nutella is a chocolate-hazelnut spread. I didn’t expect to find it, but there it was – way up on a top shelf. Not able to wait to bake with it, I opened up the jar and ate it in its purest (and some might say, best) form – with a spoon. I can safely say that I was sold on its goodness within seconds. Since then, Quinn and I have enjoyed its splendor paired with chocolate graham crackers.
Today, I decided it was high time that I put my newest discovery into some cookies. A question for the Nutella folks: why are there no recipes on your site? I searched through several recipes, and decided on this one from Southern Living 1998 Annual Recipes. I decided to half the recipe for two reasons. A. I don’t need six dozen cookies. 2. I only had half a jar of Nutella left. What can I say? It’s good eats. What follows is the full recipe.
First, toast 1/2 cup of chopped hazelnuts in a shallow pan in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes. Next, beat together a 13 ounce jar of Nutella and 1/4 cup of shortening. A bit of a confession here. When I was halfing the recipe, I failed to half the amount of shortening. I will have to make them with the correct amount to make a definitive statement, but my mistake tasted pretty darn good. When this is blended, gradually add 1 & 1/3 cups of sugar. Then add 2 large eggs and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl, combine 3 cups of AP flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add this slowly to the Nutella mixture, alternating with 1/3 cup of milk. Begin and end with the flour mixture. Then, stir in the toasted hazelnuts.
At this point, I put the dough in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to make it a bit easier to work with. Shape the dough into 1-inch diameter balls. Roll each in finely chopped hazelnuts (about 2 cups for all the cookies) and then roll in sifted confectioner’s sugar. The cookies should be placed about 2 inches apart on greased/sprayed cookie sheets. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Cool on wire racks.
I think I might have just found a new favorite cookie. These are at least in my top ten. The Nutella flavor is definitely predominant. Somehow, though, they aren’t overly sweet. They are certainly not for those who don’t like nuts. Quinn says it’s like eating chewy, crunchy Nutella.