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Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies, Perfected

  "I am in serious need of Nutella cookies after this week."

  So read the post on facebook from my sister Emma.  Emma is smart, she's doing some intern research on cancer cells and stuff.  It's definitely harder than it sounds.  And it's definitely worthy of Nutella cravings.

  I can't help the fact that she's living out of a hotel for quite a few weeks or that she doesn't know anyone, but I can send cookies.

  This is a recipe I've made too many times to count, and is immediately loved by almost anyone who takes a bite.

  Now, you can Google nutella chocolate chip cookies, and get 2,040,000 results.  Many people have thrown out their own take on these, usually consisting of tossing nutella into their favorite cookie dough and mercilessly whipping the hijeebies out of it.  The result is often a slightly more chocolate-y and tender chocolate chip cookie, but not something I'd merit by putting the word 'nutella' into the title.

  In short, I've tried quite a few of those recipes, and none of them really came through for me.  I wanted something that held up better and still retained a goodly amount of nutella flavor. 

  I got close when I first tried Celeste's recipe, way back before my blogging days.  Even then, the cookies were a major crowd-pleaser; but I still wasn't happy.

  Enter the many test runs (much to the pleasure of my friends and family).  I tried wrapping dough around nutella, swirling flattened dough balls with it, toyed with the idea of finicky nutella chips, not overmixing, overmixing, new baking times, oven positions, baking sheets, new cookie dough bases, sprinklings of sea salt, more nutella, more flour, different methods of rolling the dough, chilling...you name it. 

  Finally, I got what I was looking for.

  And that was a delicately marbled chocolate chip cookie with a crackled top that stays soft and chewy for days (seriously, they only get better with time), all while retaining a slight hint of that creamy chocolate hazelnut taste that is nutella.

  What's the trick?  Depends on which trick you're asking after...if it's the soft and chewy one, don't overbake!  This entails taking the cookies out of the oven a wee bit before you usually would.  You want them soft, puffy, and with slightly crackled (but very soft) tops.  They may look underdone to you, but they will continue to bake for a few seconds on the hot baking sheet.  Seriously!  If the edges aren't firm in the oven, feel them a few minutes after they've been out of the oven; firmed!  Let the cooling time do its thing.

  The nutella flavor?  Well, first off, you're mixing in 1/4 cup into the dough somewhat thoroughly, then you barely swirl in another 1/4 cup with the chocolate chips.  That extra 1/4 cup does the trick, as long as you don't overmix it.  Also, as much as I love that little sprinkling of sea salt on top of cookies, I didn't think it suited this one; it was a little overwhelming for the delicate nutella.  Of course, it's your cookie, do as you will!

  Without further ado, I give you the recipe.  Make a double batch, lick the nutella off your fingers, eat your fair share, then package up the rest to send to people you love.

  Just be prepared to be bombarded with requests for more.

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: about 2-3 dozen cookies

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup nutella (chocolate-hazelnut spread), divided
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.  With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture until just combined, with a few dry streaks remaining throughout.  Add 1/4 cup of the nutella and mix until just combined.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  Add the remaining 1/4 cup of nutella, mixing just so it is streaked throughout the dough, taking care not to over-mix.

Roll a scant 1/4 cup of dough into a ball then tear in half.  Roll each half into a smooth ball and place on the prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 9-11 minutes, until the cookies are very lightly browned, have slightly crackled tops, and are still very soft and puffy (they may seem underdone, but they will continue to bake a bit on the hot cookie sheets when removed from the oven), do not overbake.  Allow to cool on the sheets for 5-10 minutes, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge or at room temperature, your preference.

Sources: inspired by Sugar & Spice, who adapted from Kirby's Cravings, originally from JustJenn Recipes