These cookies are awesome. They are chewy. They are chocolatey. They are a little bit nutty. And they have a nice tinge of saltiness to complement the chocolate.
What they aren’t are cookies that you can make at 9:00 at night when your kid says “Oh, by the way, I need to take something to the bake sale tomorrow.”
No, these are cookies that strategic planning and timing. Seriously – I’m talking, there are STEPS that have to be taken. But, when you taste the end result, you’ll realize that they’re just so darned worth it! And, yes, this is another recipe that, when I say to use a rimless baking sheet lined with parchment paper, you really should – the cookies are so gooey and soft when you pull them out of the oven that they’d fall completely apart if you had to spatula them onto a baking rack.
The way I make them, the recipe makes three dozen yummy, scrummy cookies. And, even with the time needed to prep, they’ll be gone before you know it.
Not Your Mama’s Bake Sale Cookies
- 1 jar of Nutella
- 1/4 lb hazelnuts
- 8 oz unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
- 1 Tbsp Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 bars Green and Black dark chocolate (70%), chopped
- 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- coarse sea salt for sprinkling
Okay. So. Here we go. First things first – you’re going to roast the hazelnuts and brown the butter. So, heat the oven to 450 and pour the hazelnuts into a wide-enough pan that they’re not too crowded (I used a square 8×8″ cake pan and that was fine), and roast the nuts for about 15 minutes until fragrant. When they’re done, let them cool for about 5 minutes, then tip them out onto half of a dish towel, folding the other half over the top, and rub them firmly against the counter to get rid of the husks. It’s a bit time consuming, but worth it. Once they’ve been de-husked and cooled, put them in a plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin or meat tenderizer to get chunks. You might be tempted to use your food processor – don’t. You’ll wind up with ground hazelnuts, not roughly chopped.
Next up, brown the butter. Put all the butter into a saucepan over medium-high heat and melt, then let it bubble away. It’ll start foamy, then the foam will disappear, then, as the milk solids start to brown, it’ll begin bubbling again. If you whisk gently, you’ll be able to see as it starts to brown – when you see the solids turn light brown and the butter smells nice and nutty, remove from the heat and pour into a bowl. Let cool a little bit, then put into the fridge to firm up. It sounds strange, but you’ll want it to firm, then get soft again to beat with the sugar. So, my recommendation is that you do the butter and the nuts the night before you want to bake the cookies. And, when you put the butter in the fridge, throw the jar of Nutella in there, too.
Next day – pull out the butter to come up to room temp and pull out the jar of Nutella. Get a mellon ball scoop (small – about 1/2 tsp) and scoop out 36 Nutella balls, putting them on a plate, then throw them in the freezer.
When the butter is soft and you’re ready to make the dough, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, then add the egg and yolk, yogurt and vanilla, beating well to combine. Add the flour, nuts and chocolate chips, mixing thoroughly, but not over-beating. Wrap in plastic (or just pop it into a large zippy bag) and pop into the fridge for 2 hours to rest.
See??? Now do you understand why I say that these are NOT bake sale cookies???!!!
NOW … preheat the oven to 350 and line rimless baking sheets with parchment.
Once the dough has rested, we’re finally (finally!) ready to make the cookies. Use a teaspoon to scoop out a ping-pong-ball sized bit of dough, roll it into a ball, then flatten. Get your frozen Nutella ball and put it in the middle, then form the cookie around it, making sure the Nutella is completely covered, so it won’t seep out during baking. When you lay them out on the lined sheet, flatten slightly and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Bake for 12 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. As mentioned above, don’t try to use a spatula on them when they’re hot, you’ll just moosh them up – pull the entire sheet of paper onto a baking rack to cool, then store in an air-tight container.