I recently partnered up with a private chef catering business, at first to help develop a seasonal recipe book, and now I'm working both as an occasional private chef and in the corporate office helping to build this new company. Pretty exciting stuff!
At the office, we decided we wanted to give new clients an edible gift, so we sourced a cookie maker who specialized in creative cookies package in cute little bags for giving away. We ordered 65 cookie gifts, and since we had never tasted the cookies, we decided to taste one before we gave them away. They. Were. Horrible. One of the cookies was a key lime cookie that had been injected with so much artificial green food coloring it looked as if it was radioactive.
In a pinch, we decided that I would make the cookies for the company: not a stretch given that I'm an award-winning pastry chef!
I looked around the test kitchen and saw half a jar of Nutella, some chocolate chips, and a handful of toasted hazelnuts. Then it hit me! We were going to make Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies with toasted hazelnuts.
The cookies were delicious. They had a great chocolate flavor that was balanced by the hazelnut flavor that came through as a result of the Nutella and the toasted hazelnuts.
I'm going to share the recipe with you, and embedded in the recipe are some professional baking tips that I know will help you make the perfect cookies!
Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup Nutella
1/2 cup sugar, granulated white
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
¾ cup dark chocolate chips* (*reserve ¼ Cup for chopping). You can use semi-sweet in a pinch.
This recipe can easily be doubled. It will make about a dozen 3” cookies.
1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Chop ¼ cup of the chocolate chips into smaller, coarsely chopped pieces. Set aside with remaining chocolate.
3. In a mixing bowl, combine unsalted butter and Nutella just until combined.
4. Add sugars to the mixing bowl, and mix just until combined.
5. Add the egg, and mix for 30 seconds, or just until egg is combined. Add the vanilla.
It is here that most people make a crucial mistake in cookie baking: they over-mix the batter. Unlike cake batter making, when making cookies you don’t want to beat eggs and sugars for 3-4 minutes until they are fluffy and aerated. Over-mixing cookie dough in this step will negatively alter the structure of your cookie. So, just mix that egg until it’s mixed into the butter and sugar, and when you no longer see the yolks, stop mixing.
6. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt). Slowly add the flour mixture into the butter mixture.
7. Stop mixing when you no longer see the white flour peeking through your brown cookie dough. Again, you don’t want to over-mix.
8. Mix in the chocolate.
9. Scoop your cookie dough into equal sized balls. I like to use a cookie or ice cream scoop with a trigger spring, specifically a size 30# disher/scoop, but you can also use regular ol spoons as well.
Now here is a pro-baking tip:
Once you scoop your cookie dough into balls, freeze your cookie dough for at least 15 minutes before baking. Have you ever baked a cookie from scratch and wondered why they weren't as perfectly round as the cookies you've bought at a bakery? This is the secret of the pros! We bake cookies from the frozen state.
You are more likely to get a perfectly round cookie when cold dough enters the hot oven. Fresh cookie dough is soft and the butter in that cookie is at room temperature. This softened butter and cookie dough means butter in that fresh cookie dough will start to melt before the cookie has “set” into the perfect circle. This is why cookies spread when you bake them fresh (versus refrigerating or freezing the dough first.)
10. Time to Bake. Place your chilled (or frozen) cookie dough on an parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until edges are golden brown. Bake time depends on the size of the cookie you make.
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