Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies: A simple twist (of the lid)

Every time I see a jar of Nutella, I mentally start humming “Maria,” from West Side Story.

Nutella, I just met a spread named Nutella, and suddenly my toast will never be the same to me…

Nutella, I just had a snack named Nutella, and suddenly I’ve found how wonderful a snack can beeeeeee…

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(I know, now you’ll be humming “Maria” all day. Though that’s not necessarily a bad thing; I could have stuck you with “Layla,” right?)

Anyway, until recently, I’d never tasted Nutella. That’s right, a 60-year-old woman who’d never even sampled this iconic hazelnut-chocolate spread.

My mom is a big fan of Nutella, so in preparation for her annual week-long visit, I purchased a jar.

I figured I’d better taste it before she arrived, to make sure it was OK.

Let the trumpets sound! WOW. I’m not a huge fan of hazelnuts, but this stuff is pretty darned tasty.

I began to wonder, what do you do with it, besides spread it on toast or crackers, like peanut butter?

Peanut butter… Peanut butter cookies… Nutella cookies?

You bet. And oh, aren’t these just DA BOMB.

Best thing is, you can make them soft and chewy, or crisp/crunchy, simply by shortening or extending the baking time.

Nutella, say it loud and there’s cookies baking… Say it soft – to its charms I’m awaking… Nutella, I’ll never stop tasting… Nutellaaaaaaaaaaaa… 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

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Beat together the following until smooth:

1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional, for enhanced flavor
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon hazelnut flavor, optional (and highly recommended), for enhanced flavor
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (about 7 1/4 ounces) chocolate-hazelnut spread, such as Nutella

Can you substitute butter for the shortening? Yes, though you’ll want to opt for a soft rather than crunchy cookie if you do.

Hazelnut flavor takes these cookies over the top, taste-wise. If you don’t have hazelnut flavor, the cookies will taste good, but not overly “hazelnutty.” Substitute 1/4 teaspoon almond extract for the hazelnut, if you like; almond will give the cookies a vaguely nutty flavor, though it won’t be hazelnut. A better substitute is 3/4 teaspoon vanilla-butternut flavor.

Add 1 1/2 cups (6 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or King Arthur Unbleached White Whole Wheat Flour (6 ounces). Stir to combine – the dough will be very stiff, and somewhat crumbly.

If the dough is so stiff it won’t come together, drizzle in enough water or cold coffee (1 tablespoon or less) to bring it together. Watch out, though; if you add too much liquid, the cookies will flatten and spread out too much as they bake.

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Drop the cookie dough by teaspoonfuls or tablepoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets (a teaspoon or tablespoon cookie scoop works well here), leaving 2″ between them.

The larger balls of dough will be about 1 1/2″ in diameter, and weigh a generous 1 ounce each (if you have a scale); the smaller ones will be about 1 1/4″ in diameter, and about 1/2 ounce in weight.

Translation: If you use the tablespoon scoop, you’ll get 22 to 24 large (2 3/4″ to 3″) cookies; the teaspoon scoop will yield about 4 dozen smaller (2″) cookies.

Use a large dinner fork to flatten each cookie to about 3/8″ thick, making a cross-hatch design.

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Bake the cookies for 7 to 13 minutes, until they don’t appear super-moist any longer, and seem set. Since they’re dark colored, it’s difficult to tell when they’re done by whether or not they’re browned; it’s a good idea to bake one test cookie first, to figure out the timing.

The wide range of baking times covers both small and large cookies, plus three textures: soft; soft in the center, crisp on the edges; and crunchy all the way through. All times assume baking on a light-colored aluminum pan lined with parchment.

Bake the teaspoon-scoop cookies for 7 minutes if you like them soft; 11 to 12 minutes if you like them crunchy. The larger, tablespoon scoop-size cookies will be soft when baked for 8 minutes; and crunchy when baked for 12 to 13 minutes.

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And here’s what happens when the dough doesn’t QUITE come together, so you add a bit of water to make it cohesive, only you add a little too much. Cookie made from water-added dough on the left; and on the right, a cookie whose dough didn’t require any extra water.

A word to the wise: the dough is supposed to be stiff; don’t add so much water that it’s smooth and scoopable like typical cookie dough. Unless, of course, you like flat/chewy cookies – they DO taste good.

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So OK, there’s classic Nutella – and then there’s upstart Jif.

Nutella is lower-fat and fewer calories; and though their flavor is very similar, I give the nod to Nutella for its more nuanced aftertaste.

Nutella, I’ll never stop loving – Nutellaaaaaaa…

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Please read, bake, and review our recipe for Chocolate-Hazelnut Cookies.

Print just the recipe.

 

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Bonnie

    I just made these. The dough wasn’t stiff so I didn’t add any water or coffee. My cookies still came out flat like the ones on the left in your photos. Not what I was hoping for.

    When I added the flour, I mixed it on low speed for a short time with my stand mixer. Should I have mixed it in my hand? Could that have made the difference or something else?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hello Bonnie-
      I’m sorry to hear about your trouble with these cookies and I don’t think mixing by hand would have made any difference in your case. If you used butter in the recipe, that would certainly cause the cookies to spread as I know many people make that substitution. If you did not however, I would try chilling your dough next time and see if that helps with the spread. I hope that helps and if you have any more questions, please feel free to contact our Baker’s Hotline at 1-855-371-2253. Happy baking! Jocelyn@KAF

    2. Bonnie

      I did use butter. The last FOUR cookies I made, I didn’t press them as flat, cooked them a shorter time, and let them sit on the cookie sheet a few minutes before transferring them to a rack. These came out much closer to what I wanted. Dangerously so!

      The bad news is I’ve got 4 dozen or so that taste good but aren’t to my liking only had four of the ones I liked much better. The good news is I won’t eat as many & I know what to try next time I bake these. 🙂

      Thanks for your help, Jocelyn!

    3. The Baker's Hotline

      You’re very welcome Bonnie, and I hope you can get a 100% success rate with your next batch now! Happy Baking! Jocelyn@KAF

  2. Anna

    I can beat this: Nutella Panini made with homemade sourdough bread. Seriously..to..die..for.
    But I’m still going to make the cookie.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      The good news is Anna…you can have both! That sandwich sounds delicious with the sweet spread and tangy loaf> Thank you so much for sharing and I will certainly have to give that a try soon! Happy Baking! Jocelyn@KAF

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      While they don’t put Gluten Free on the label, Jif is actually a GF product. Thanks for checking Margery. ~ MJ

  3. Jill

    I tried these last night and they are really good! Made mine a bit on the larger side and baked them for soft – they still came out a bit crunchy so I will drop the baking time to 6 minutes next batch.
    I did not add the espresso or the hazelnut flavor and instead swapped out 1/2 cup of the flour for KAF Hazelnut flour. It worked great – nice nutty flavor and no perceptible texture change.

    Reply
  4. jweissmn

    I have some hazelnut flour around, left over from another project. Could I sub maybe 2TB or ¼ cup for some of the regular flour?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Sure, give it a try – I’d start with the 2T just to be safe. If it works fine, add more next time. Enjoy – PJH

  5. Maria

    I tried this recipe and it was soooo good!!! Didn’t use hazelnut flavor but used finely chopped hazelnuts, thanx for sharing. Don’t worry about the ingredients in Nutella, I’ve been eating it for 50 years…

    Reply
  6. Leigh

    Sounds amazing PJ! For the dairy-intolerant folks out there, Justin’s Nut Butter is a dairy-free chocolate hazelnut spread. I’ve found it at the local grocery store in the “health food” aisle. Ha.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Leigh, thanks so much for this tip – I know we have lots of dairy-intolerant readers out there who’ll appreciate being able to make these cookies, thanks to your good advice. PJH

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