Those of you, who have ever tried Nutella even once (although I am quite sure there would hardly be anyone who hasn’t gone for the second try!!), would wholly back me up in my affection towards the same.
For the uninitiated, Nutella is the brand name for a chocolate hazelnut spread found in almost all grocery stores now and trust me – its divine. My very dramatic introduction to this chocolate spread was during my first few days here in the US, grocery shopping with my German friend.
While strolling along the aisles, I was startled with a shriek from an adjoining aisle and I rushed back to find her squeaking with happiness holding on tightly to a small chocolate container.
She was literally jumping with joy all the while exclaiming “They have it HERE!!”…
While I certainly won’t deny finding her reaction a bit over the top, yet just out of respect for her intense adoration, I bought a jar for myself. Though quite reluctantly, soon I too became a fan of this “heavenly”-chocolaty-nutty deliciousness and honestly, I have never looked back since! Having become an ardent fan, I could now completely understand and relate to that momentary indiscretion of my homesick friend. Yeah..it happens..
So if there’s anything at all, that I would go back and add to my growing up years, I am most certain that this would definitely be it. If it could make a grown up drool , think about those naive, chocolate crazy kids. I can only imagine. I say so because recently even after my dwindling affection towards overtly sweet delights, I still continue to savor this on those occasions when I need a true pick-me-up. I cannot really assure you of its health benefits, but surely there are some very serious mood benefits 😉
It was that fine day while watching Giada cook up some of her trust worthy recipes, I saw her make these delicious chewy Nutella cookies and well, I had to try it. I followed her recipe completely except for some changes here and there. Here are some alterations that I made:
- Doubled the Nutella quantity to intensify the taste (remember I am biased 😉
- Cut down the sugar quantity by half.
- Added in a pinch of instant coffee to intensify the chocolate taste.
- To add a crunch to the cookies, I folded in some roasted sliced almonds. Diced hazelnuts would have been perfect but I didn’t have any at that time so chose almonds instead.
- Decreased the baking time to 9 minutes to get a semi-chewy texture that I desired.
Here’s my version of Giada’s recipe for these very easy Chocolate-hazelnut smooches as she calls them, even though I would rather stick to a more simpler nomenclature – Chocolate hazelnut almond cookies.
Chocolate hazelnut spread (a.k.a. Nutella) acquires a new avatar with these perfectly sweet and crunchy ‘n’ chewy cookies right for some holiday baking. The extra chocolate chip adds in to the moderately chocolaty cookie base while the almonds liven up the hazelnut-‘ty’ undertone.
- . Dry ingredient mix- Mix the flour, baking soda, salt, instant coffee granules and almonds in a bowl and set aside.
- Wet ingredient mix – In a separate mixing bowl, add in the chocolate hazelnut spread, butter and the two sugars. Using a hand mixer, mix well until creamy (2-3 mins).Then add in the egg and vanilla into the sugar-butter mixture and blend well (~ 1 min).
- Now stir in the dry ingredient mix into the wet mix, until well integrated. The cookie dough is ready to be baked.
- In the meantime, preheat the oven to 375oC.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and using a tablespoon measure, scoop out the dough. Roll the dough into balls and line them on the sheet pan about a inch apart.
- Place the rack at the center and bake the cookies for 8 1/2 – 9 minutes. Adjust time according to the texture required.
- Immediately after taking the cookies out of the oven, lightly press a chocolate chip into each cookie. The chocolate chip melts from the heat of the cookie and sticks to it. To cool completely, lay out the cookies on to a wire rack.
- These cookies are a true winner in every sense. Adequately chewy yet crunchy and most importantly the right amount of sweetness makes it a recipe that I am going to hold on to. Its really hard to resist a second one and I bet neither could you. Tried and tested, dirty up your hands with this easy-peasy recipe, if you want to have a stack of these home made delights just perfect to offer your guests this holiday season.
Happy baking! 🙂