Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hidden Gem-Nutella

Nutella, a hazelnut spread, seems to be gaining lots of popularity in the United States. Lately I've noticed a variety of recipes that call for Nutella in cooking magazines and on the Internet. It is  popular spread on toast in European countries.  The spread is a unique blend of roasted hazelnuts, sugar, skim milk with a hint of cocoa. It can be found in the aisle near the peanut butter.
Nutella was created in the 1940's by a baker from northern Italy, Pietro Ferrero. His company developed Nutella because at that time chocolate was in short supply with rations during World War II. Ferrero developed a product that used hazelnuts which were and still are plentiful in the Piedmont region to extend the chocolate supply. It was originally sold as solid block but in 1951 a creamier version was introduced. Nutella made its first appearance in the US in 1963.

Cook's notes:If you like brownies than this cookie recipe is for you. It is slightly crunchy on the outside with a chewy fudge center. The recipe comes from Cuisine at home magazine December 2011 issue. The recipe makes a soft dough so it is important to make sure dough is thoroughly chilled for at least 4 hours or place in freezer for about an hour.  I was out of hazelnuts so I used a combination equal parts almonds and walnuts finely ground in the Cuisinart as substitution.

Nutella Cookies
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. each baking soda and salt
  • 1 stick of softened butter
  • 1-1/2 cups of sugar
  •  2 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 cup Nutella
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • finely ground hazelnuts or almonds
  • In a bowl whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt-set aside
  • Beat butter and sugar on medium spped 5 minutes
  • Add eggs one at a time
  • Add Nutella and vanilla beat until combined
  • Add flour mixture and mix only till combined
  • Chill dough at least 4 hours or overnight covered (I did put in freezer for an hour and that  worked fine) 
  • Preheat oven 350 and line baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Scoop dough out (about 3 TB. I used asmall ice cream scoop) and then roll ball in nuts be sure to press nuts into the dough
  • Place dough ball on cookie sheet and bake 9 at a time until edges are set about 15 minutes
  • Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes and then transfer to wire rack for final cooling

As you can see from the photo the 9 cookies are large and the recipe makes about 20. Roll the dough balls smaller if want a different size cookie but decrease baking time to 12 minutes.

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