The baking countdown is on! Each Christmas I make scores of homemade goodies, some to share with family and friends and some just to enjoy here at home. In the past I’ve made pounds of Fudge, gallons of Chocolate Sauce, mountains of Crack and oodles of Chocolate + Nutella Shortbread cookies. And when time has allowed I’ve also been known to whip up a batch of biscotti or simple sugar cookies that the kids help decorate. Now that I’m a working girl it’s going to be a bit tricky to pull-off this amount of goodies, but I still plan to try. I intend to make a few batches of crack (it wouldn’t be Christmas in our house without it), I’ve decided to give a Swedish spice cookie a whirl and just to take this years chocolate shortbread sandwich cookies a smidge over the top—I’ve decided to make them with homemade Nutella.
Nutella is one of those foods that people either just don’t get or love to the point of obsession. I have a girlfriend who keeps a jar in her office desk drawer, for when the need strikes. I on the other hand am not particularly a fan. Don’t get me wrong, I love the flavors of dark chocolate and hazelnut together but there’s something about the viscosity of the jarred stuff that bothers me, it reminds me of silly putty. Anyway it turns out that homemade Nutella is pretty easy to make and the results are truly outstanding. It’s not as smooth and gloppy as the Nutella you’re familiar with (which is fine by me) and not surprisingly, it’s way tastier than the other stuff. Delish on toast. Fantastic sandwiched between cookies. Outrageous right off the spoon.
So far and with complete confidence we can say that homemade Nutella is absolutely here to stay.
Enjoy this spread just as you would the jarred stuff, which would include right off the spoon.
1 1/2 cups skinned hazelnuts
1/4 tsp. granulated sugar
8 oz. quality semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 tbsp. salted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 tsp. real vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread the hazelnuts out in a single layer in an ovenproof skillet and toast them until they are a golden brown, stirring frequently. Pour them into the bowl of a food processor and allow to cool. Once cool, add the sugar and process to a smooth, buttery paste.
- Melt the chocolate over medium-low heat in a medium bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stirring often. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the cream, butter and vanilla then add in the hazelnut paste and stir until fully blended.
- Pour your nutella into a glass jar (it will thicken as it cools). Refrigerate and bring to room temperature before using.
*adapted from canal house cooks
Chocolate + Nutella Shortbread Sandwich Cookies
These cookies are amazing on their own, but add some homemade Nutella and you’ve got one decadent cookie!
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 small jar homemade Nutella (or store-bought)
- In stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix confectioners’ sugar, butter, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt on medium low speed until creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the flour one cup at a time. Continue to mix on low until the flour is completely integrated.
- Form the dough into a ball (it will be a bit dry) and divide in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap, flatten into a disc and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Take the dough out and sandwich it between two sheets of plastic wrap. Use a rolling pin to roll it to 1/4-inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut into desired shapes and place on baking sheets. Bake 8 minutes, or until firm.
- Repeat with remaining dough but cut the centers out of the second batch, making sure you have equal numbers of tops and bottoms. (If dough becomes too soft pop it back in fridge for a few minutes to firm up.) Let the baked cookies cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.
- Once cookies have fully cooled spread a thin layer of Nutella onto each of the cookie bottoms. Sandwich together with the top cookies and serve or chill for a later date.
*adapted from serious eats
Simple Sugar Cookies
This is standard sugar cookie recipe, perfect for decorating with icing or using as a vehicle for your homemade nutella.
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 tbsp. milk
2 tsp. vanilla
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
- Cream together the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl; gradually add to sugar mixture. Knead the dough into a ball and flatten into a disc. Wrap with saran wrap and chill for an hour.
- Preheat oven to 375°F and line two cookie sheets with parchment. Cut the dough in half and on well floured surface, roll the dough into a circle roughly 1/4-inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut into desired shapes. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned at edges. Allow to fully cool before decorating.
*adapted from domino sugar