Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies: A simple twist (of the lid)

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Every time I see a jar of Nutella, I mentally start humming “Maria,” from West Side Story.

Nutella, I just met a spread named Nutella, and suddenly my toast will never be the same to me…

Nutella, I just had a snack named Nutella, and suddenly I’ve found how wonderful a snack can beeeeeee…

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(I know, now you’ll be humming “Maria” all day. Though that’s not necessarily a bad thing; I could have stuck you with “Layla,” right?)

Anyway, until recently, I’d never tasted Nutella. That’s right, a 60-year-old woman who’d never even sampled this iconic hazelnut-chocolate spread.

My mom is a big fan of Nutella, so in preparation for her annual week-long visit, I purchased a jar.

I figured I’d better taste it before she arrived, to make sure it was OK.

Let the trumpets sound! WOW. I’m not a huge fan of hazelnuts, but this stuff is pretty darned tasty.

I began to wonder, what do you do with it, besides spread it on toast or crackers, like peanut butter?

Peanut butter… Peanut butter cookies… Nutella cookies?

You bet. And oh, aren’t these just DA BOMB.

Best thing is, you can make them soft and chewy, or crisp/crunchy, simply by shortening or extending the baking time.

Nutella, say it loud and there’s cookies baking… Say it soft – to its charms I’m awaking… Nutella, I’ll never stop tasting… Nutellaaaaaaaaaaaa… 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

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Beat together the following until smooth:

1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional, for enhanced flavor
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon hazelnut flavor, optional (and highly recommended), for enhanced flavor
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (about 7 1/4 ounces) chocolate-hazelnut spread, such as Nutella

Can you substitute butter for the shortening? Yes, though you’ll want to opt for a soft rather than crunchy cookie if you do.

Hazelnut flavor takes these cookies over the top, taste-wise. If you don’t have hazelnut flavor, the cookies will taste good, but not overly “hazelnutty.” Substitute 1/4 teaspoon almond extract for the hazelnut, if you like; almond will give the cookies a vaguely nutty flavor, though it won’t be hazelnut. A better substitute is 3/4 teaspoon vanilla-butternut flavor.

Add 1 1/2 cups (6 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or King Arthur Unbleached White Whole Wheat Flour (6 ounces). Stir to combine – the dough will be very stiff, and somewhat crumbly.

If the dough is so stiff it won’t come together, drizzle in enough water or cold coffee (1 tablespoon or less) to bring it together. Watch out, though; if you add too much liquid, the cookies will flatten and spread out too much as they bake.

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Drop the cookie dough by teaspoonfuls or tablepoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets (a teaspoon or tablespoon cookie scoop works well here), leaving 2″ between them.

The larger balls of dough will be about 1 1/2″ in diameter, and weigh a generous 1 ounce each (if you have a scale); the smaller ones will be about 1 1/4″ in diameter, and about 1/2 ounce in weight.

Translation: If you use the tablespoon scoop, you’ll get 22 to 24 large (2 3/4″ to 3″) cookies; the teaspoon scoop will yield about 4 dozen smaller (2″) cookies.

Use a large dinner fork to flatten each cookie to about 3/8″ thick, making a cross-hatch design.

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Bake the cookies for 7 to 13 minutes, until they don’t appear super-moist any longer, and seem set. Since they’re dark colored, it’s difficult to tell when they’re done by whether or not they’re browned; it’s a good idea to bake one test cookie first, to figure out the timing.

The wide range of baking times covers both small and large cookies, plus three textures: soft; soft in the center, crisp on the edges; and crunchy all the way through. All times assume baking on a light-colored aluminum pan lined with parchment.

Bake the teaspoon-scoop cookies for 7 minutes if you like them soft; 11 to 12 minutes if you like them crunchy. The larger, tablespoon scoop-size cookies will be soft when baked for 8 minutes; and crunchy when baked for 12 to 13 minutes.

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And here’s what happens when the dough doesn’t QUITE come together, so you add a bit of water to make it cohesive, only you add a little too much. Cookie made from water-added dough on the left; and on the right, a cookie whose dough didn’t require any extra water.

A word to the wise: the dough is supposed to be stiff; don’t add so much water that it’s smooth and scoopable like typical cookie dough. Unless, of course, you like flat/chewy cookies – they DO taste good.

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So OK, there’s classic Nutella – and then there’s upstart Jif.

Nutella is lower-fat and fewer calories; and though their flavor is very similar, I give the nod to Nutella for its more nuanced aftertaste.

Nutella, I’ll never stop loving – Nutellaaaaaaa…

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Please read, bake, and review our recipe for Chocolate-Hazelnut Cookies.

Print just the recipe.

 

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Carol

    PJ you and Mary Jane are making me crazy! Last time it was all of the songs from Hello Dolly and now West Side Story! I just love it. I grew up on musicals so I know almost all of the words. We would run through the house singing at the top of our voice. Drove my parents crazy.

    These look absolutely great! I love peanut butter cookies so what is not to like with Nutella! “O.K. by me in AMERICA!!!!”

    Nutella can only make things better in my opinion!-Jon e

    Reply
  2. Karen

    We were considering a sweet moratorium after CAKE WEEK (three birthdays this week – and everyone get’s their own cake) but between the cookies and the fluff recipes, that is going to be hard!

    Well there is always the weekend to rest and a new week for more sugar.Jon ;)

    Reply
  3. Kathleen

    I am wondering if you could use Frangelico a hazelnut liquor as a substitute for the hazelnut flavoring?

    Frangelico will work, but the hazelnut flavor will not be quite as strong as a flavoring.-Jon

    Reply
  4. Eileen

    These look amazingly delicious- such a temptation! I really appreciate all the info about development, trials ( & any tribulations), and all the variations you come up with. I have a couple more Q’s:
    – Did y’all do a trial of refrigerating the dough overnight or more, and if so, what happened when you did?

    – Did you make a trial with GF flours, and if so, which ones & what happened? I’m especially interested in any trials with ground hazelnuts as part of the dry goods

    Thanks for all the great recipe ideas!

    Christine, I didn’t try refrigerating the dough, as it’s so dry already; chilling would dry it out even more, and I’m not sure it would add anything to the cookies’ flavor or texture. As for GF – no plans to try this as a GF cookie, but please check out the GF conversion post by our GF blogger, Amy – I think that might help you. Cheers! PJH

    Reply
  5. Karen

    I can’t wait to try these! We visited Italy last year. When I returned home I looked for a recipe for nutella dipped or nutella filled cookies while dreaming of the wonderful Italian cafes. Any chance for a future recipe??

    There is always a chance for new recipes! Also, you can easily fill these cookies with Nutella.-Jon

    Reply
  6. Dana

    I can’t have Nutella (re; crack in a jar) in my house unless I plan to use it in a recipe the minute I bring it in from the car. Otherwise I end up with a spoon and the jar, and, well you know the rest. These sound divine and will allow me to buy a jar of the brown stuff tho I’ll obviously need to make a few batches to use is all up and keep me and the spoon out of it. As for Maria….I’ll never be able to sing it again without substituing “Nutella” for “Maria”. Too funny!

    Reply
  7. ebenezer94

    I have a jar of Trader Joe’s Nutella version that needs to find a home because I find it too sweet for typical eating. This will be a perfect thing to try out.

    Please let us know how their spread works in this recipe!-Jon

    Reply
  8. Nancy

    My family was introduced to Nutella on a trip to Germany to visit family in l997. I was happy to find Nutella on the grocery shelf when we returned to the States. However, I quickly found that if I wanted to actually eat it after I bought it, I would have to hide a jar from the rest of the family! One of my favs: Nutella on a croissant makes a great, indulgent breakfast (or snack!).

    PJ, love the parody! But I’ll see how much I still love it tonight after having it go through my head all day . . .

    @Karen: I’m thinking you might have to combine the cookies and the fluff into a single sweet–a la sandwich cookies–and then you’ll have broken your moratorium by only one sweet instead of two lol.

    Reply
  9. Teresa P

    Sounds lovely! It would be divine with Trader Joe’s Cocoa Almond Spread (almond instead of hazelnut butter) that I sub in recipes all the time where PB is called for. So good, nutritionally about the same as Nutella.

    Reply
  10. Christine

    These cookies were delicious! The hazelnut flavor added a nice touch and I made them without the espresso powder. I would certainly make them again. My family requested that they be home as the cookies come out of the oven.

    Yes, good request – these are delicious warm, aren’t they? Glad they went over well with your “audience,” Christine! :) PJH

    Reply
  11. Amy

    Guys, I have made these tasty cookies! I have one suggestion….add coconut! It resembles an Almond Joy. Thanks for a great cookie!
    Great idea Amy, thanks for sharing! ~ MJ

    Reply
  12. peggymowry

    I have a couple of cans of your Hazelnut Praline Paste in my cupboard. Could it be used in this recipe? These cookies sound delicious; and I love that I have the song “Maria” in my head now!

    “Maria” isn’t a bad song to have in your head Peggy, is it? The hazelnut praline paste is quite a different consistency, but I’m thinking it would probably work nonetheless. I say give it a try – bet they’ll be delicious, more hazelnut than chocolate… PJH

    Reply
  13. joanf49

    These are yummy, but Nutella has ingredients (palm oil, stabilizers, etc.) that I would never choose to cook with. Is there a homemade recipe for a substitute?

    We plan to work on a homemade version in the next few months, Joan – stay tuned… PJH

    Reply
  14. mdlrvrmuncher

    Working backwards and with a whole different cookie flavor-What if i made a Biscoff cookie using Biscoff spread? Since Biscoff spread is thick would you think more shortening or what other “liquid?” Oh and there is chocolate Biscoff spread!!!

    Give it a try – I did, trying to mimic the Biscoff cookies you get in the supermarket. The Biscoff flavor didn’t come through, unfortunately. I tried lots of things to enhance that distinctive graham crackery flavor, but I finally gave up. If you succeed in making a good Biscoff-flavored cookie – please share! PJH

    Reply
    1. Allison

      I have made cookies with Biscoff spread, and, as much as I love the stuff, the flavor just sort of went away in the baking process. Very sad, as I had such high hopes for a chocolate/biscoff brownie. FYI, the Trader Joe’s knock-off of Biscoff spread is even better than the original!

    2. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Allison,
      I did find the same thing when I made our Biscoff scones recipe. I found using a glaze on top after baking really bumped up the flavors. Maybe you could use the same on your brownies? ~ MJ

  15. Lori

    OMG, these are so amazing. Thanks so much for sharing. I used the almond extract. We will definitely be making these again.

    Glad to hear that you enjoyed the recipe!-Jon :)

    Reply
  16. Becky

    Add some Nutella to the fluff recipe and OMG, neutella fluff. My nieces favorite food is neutella and she asked me to make her birthday cake with it. So I made a neutella fluff icing it was awesome.

    Reply
  17. Ricardo Neves Gonzalez - Petrópolis, R.J. - Brazil - SENAC Rio

    Here in Brazil, Nutella is really common and highly desired. We use to a variety of great recipes. I bake a Nutella Rolls that´s superb, made with hazelnuts toasted, some Nutella spreaded at top of rectangular shaped dough, Jelly roll style and with Nutella Fondant on top of each buns!!!!
    I´ll try these cookies.Tell you the result!!
    Another tip is to use powdered Capuccino Coffee at this recipe. I think it could be great Idea.

    I wanna view some variations of Baguette recipes at this blog. Here i bake Dried tomatoes, Olive and Mushroom Baguettes, Chocolate Walnut Baguettes, a superb Pan Andino Venezolano, a cinnamon butter typical baguettes from Venezuela. And y not test Baguette Viennoise? These milk bread basis baguettes, are softly, perfect to varieties of sandwiches!

    Thanks for the suggestions, I will certainly add them to our list!-Jon

    Reply
  18. Kathleen

    I tried this recipe and it was delicious…I didn’t have the hazelnut flavouring and used Frangelico and as you advised the hazelnut flavour was not as strong as it should have been. I also sprinkled the tops with a bit of Maldon salt flakes.

    Reply
  19. Julie

    PJ – This jar of Nutella was for your mother’s visit? Was there any left when she arrived, or have you converted her toast habit to cookies for breakfast? :)

    Julie, there’s plenty of Nutella for Mom’s morning toast – she’s here now enjoying it! :) PJH

    Reply
  20. Leigh

    Sounds amazing PJ! For the dairy-intolerant folks out there, Justin’s Nut Butter is a dairy-free chocolate hazelnut spread. I’ve found it at the local grocery store in the “health food” aisle. Ha.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Leigh, thanks so much for this tip – I know we have lots of dairy-intolerant readers out there who’ll appreciate being able to make these cookies, thanks to your good advice. PJH

  21. Maria

    I tried this recipe and it was soooo good!!! Didn’t use hazelnut flavor but used finely chopped hazelnuts, thanx for sharing. Don’t worry about the ingredients in Nutella, I’ve been eating it for 50 years…

    Reply
  22. jweissmn

    I have some hazelnut flour around, left over from another project. Could I sub maybe 2TB or ¼ cup for some of the regular flour?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Sure, give it a try – I’d start with the 2T just to be safe. If it works fine, add more next time. Enjoy – PJH

  23. Jill

    I tried these last night and they are really good! Made mine a bit on the larger side and baked them for soft – they still came out a bit crunchy so I will drop the baking time to 6 minutes next batch.
    I did not add the espresso or the hazelnut flavor and instead swapped out 1/2 cup of the flour for KAF Hazelnut flour. It worked great – nice nutty flavor and no perceptible texture change.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      While they don’t put Gluten Free on the label, Jif is actually a GF product. Thanks for checking Margery. ~ MJ

  24. Anna

    I can beat this: Nutella Panini made with homemade sourdough bread. Seriously..to..die..for.
    But I’m still going to make the cookie.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      The good news is Anna…you can have both! That sandwich sounds delicious with the sweet spread and tangy loaf> Thank you so much for sharing and I will certainly have to give that a try soon! Happy Baking! Jocelyn@KAF

  25. Bonnie

    I just made these. The dough wasn’t stiff so I didn’t add any water or coffee. My cookies still came out flat like the ones on the left in your photos. Not what I was hoping for.

    When I added the flour, I mixed it on low speed for a short time with my stand mixer. Should I have mixed it in my hand? Could that have made the difference or something else?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hello Bonnie-
      I’m sorry to hear about your trouble with these cookies and I don’t think mixing by hand would have made any difference in your case. If you used butter in the recipe, that would certainly cause the cookies to spread as I know many people make that substitution. If you did not however, I would try chilling your dough next time and see if that helps with the spread. I hope that helps and if you have any more questions, please feel free to contact our Baker’s Hotline at 1-855-371-2253. Happy baking! Jocelyn@KAF

    2. Bonnie

      I did use butter. The last FOUR cookies I made, I didn’t press them as flat, cooked them a shorter time, and let them sit on the cookie sheet a few minutes before transferring them to a rack. These came out much closer to what I wanted. Dangerously so!

      The bad news is I’ve got 4 dozen or so that taste good but aren’t to my liking only had four of the ones I liked much better. The good news is I won’t eat as many & I know what to try next time I bake these. :)

      Thanks for your help, Jocelyn!

    3. The Baker's Hotline

      You’re very welcome Bonnie, and I hope you can get a 100% success rate with your next batch now! Happy Baking! Jocelyn@KAF

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