part-time lover – nutcrackle

part-time lover – nutcrackle

Nutella is like George Clooney. Every time you mention either one, people swoon. No one seems to say a negative word about them.

Well I have a confession. Nutella, George, and I have an on-again, off-again relationship.  That jar can live unnoticed in the back of a cabinet until I stumble upon it while searching for a can of garbanzo beans. That actor can exist completely out of sight until a trailer for a new movie interrupts some other entertainment.

Just a spoonful of Nutella and I’m in love with this Italian classic all over again. The perfect balance of hazelnut and chocolate leave an unmistakable taste memory that makes you return to the jar—or use in baking.

These cookies are the perfect transfer devices for getting your Nutella fix (and they’re more portable and culturally acceptable than carrying around a jar and a large spoon). Cookies in the oven quickly emit intoxicating vapors filling the kitchen with Nutellaness.  A bite of a finished cookie yields two surprises—a  crisp sugar crackle enveloping an unsuspected chewy core.

It’s been a while George, but your performance in The Descendants reminded me how I missed you. Stick around for a while. May I offer you a cookie?



  • 3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1-1/4 cups Nutella spread
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1-1/4 cups (8-3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1-1/2 cups hazelnuts, toasted and chopped fine
  • 1 cup (4ounces) confectioners’ sugar


1. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in bowl. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat Nutella, butter, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla, espresso, and eggs and mix until incorporated. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture and milk, and mix until just combined. Fold in 2/3 cup hazelnuts and refrigerate dough until firm, about 1 hour.

2. Adjust oven racks to middle positions and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line three baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper.

3. Place remaining hazelnuts in bowl. Add confectioners’ sugar to another bowl. One at a time, roll dough into 1-inch balls, roll in hazelnuts, then roll in confectioners’ sugar. Place balls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets (12 cookies/sheet). Refrigerate first sheet of dough for 10 minute while preparing the second sheet. Bake cookies for approximately 8 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Cool 5 minutes on sheets, then transfer to wire rack and cool completely. Repeat with remaining cookie dough.

recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated