Last week, I innocently tweeted:
|Dear Nutella: I really think you should start selling Nutella baking chips. Seriously. They would rock.|
I don’t know what made me say that. Maybe because these Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies have been on my mind, and when I went to my cupboard to check if I had chocolate chips, I saw two jars of Nutella sitting right in front of the peanut butter. Or maybe it was simply because I happened to overhear someone else publicly declare their deep and abiding love for that irresistible hazelnut chocolate spread. (That happens a lot.)
Either way, I thought it would be really cool to bake chocolate chip cookies with Nutella baking chips. Apparently, many others thought it was a great idea as well.
So I decided to try my hand at making my own Nutella chips. It can’t be that difficult, I thought to myself. Just … just don’t tell Jacques Torres I said that, because I know he’ll set me straight in 1.2 seconds.
For my first attempt, I simply spread the Nutella on a sheet of foil and stuck it in the freezer. They say Nutella gets hard in the refrigerator, so I thought, wouldn’t it be funny if it were that simple?
Well, apparently it isn’t that simple. After 24 hours in the freezer, it had the consistency of a soft fruit roll-up. No way was this going to stand up to being mixed in with dough. Besides, after only a minute or two out of the freezer, it had already begun to melt and return to its original spreadable state.
So I decided to throw in some chocolate chips and butter along with the Nutella and gently melt everything together. I figured the chocolate chips and the butter would help the resulting mixture solidify more after freezing. I used milk chocolate chips because I didn’t want the strong flavor of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate to overpower the delicate hazelnuttiness of the Nutella. (You can tell I’m excited when I start making up words.)
I just kept mixing it until it looked smooth and glossy.
Note: In a third attempt, I tried just mixing Nutella and butter and then freezing it. It worked wonderfully as well, and the Nutella flavor was better preserved. (Details at the end of this post.)
My plan was to once again just spread the chocolate on a sheet and let it freeze, but something got into me and I decided to find some ambition in my life. So I stuck the chocolate in a plastic bag and attempted to pipe out discs of chocolate.
I’m no artist, I’ll tell you that. A friend of mine very kindly referred to my discs as “puppy poop.” (Thanks a lot, pal.) I did, however, eventually get the hang of it. Kinda.
The good news is that the spiral mounds even out as the chocolate settles, and they look much better when you take them out of the freezer. I made the discs a bit larger than the usual chocolate chips because I wanted nice big chunks of Nutella in my cookies.
Happy with the chips, all that was left to do was mix up a batch of my favorite Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies. I love that recipe not just because of the deep flavor imparted by the browned butter but also because it doesn’t require a mixer.
The aroma of this browned butter is amazing and it leaves your kitchen smelling like toffee. Once the basic dough was done, it was time to take some chips out of the freezer.
Nutella chips, welcome to the world. Allow me to introduce you to browned butter cookie dough.
They make a cute couple, don’t you think? I decided to give them a little bit more alone time in the refrigerator overnight. Apparently, letting the dough rest in the refrigerator really deepens the flavor and gives it a richer, darker color.
I had to camouflage the dough in the vegetable drawer, though, under the napa cabbage. Leaving cookie dough out in the open in my house is a dangerous move.
The dough thankfully escaped unharmed. I made large cookies the next day, using an ice cream scoop to measure out the dough. Into the oven for 14 to 16 minutes, and you get those lovely crunchy edges, moist center, and ooey gooey Nutella chunks all over.
Even the cat outside groaned when I broke open the first cookie.
This, my friends, is serious stuff. If you love Nutella, you’ll flip over this cookie. And if you don’t love Nutella, make these and you just might be converted.
Homemade Nutella Chips
Makes about 2 cups
Using the added milk chocolate chips gives the chips more structure and creaminess but it also mutes the hazelnut flavor. If you don’t mind a subtler Nutella flavor or if you will boost the flavor of the cookies with added toasted hazelnuts or ground hazelnuts, feel free to replace the butter with even more milk chocolate chips.
6.5 oz. Nutella
In a double boiler or a glass bowl set over a pot of simmering hot water, melt all the ingredients until you have a smooth, glossy chocolate mixture, about 3 to 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn the chocolate. Take the mixture off heat.
To make chunks, spread in a 1/8-inch thick layer on Silpat or foil and freeze for at least 2 hours. When frozen solid, break into chunks with a knife (try not to handle the chocolate too much or the heat of your hands will start to melt it). Store in the freezer until ready to use.
To make chocolate chips or discs, put the melted chocolate inside a pastry bag or resealable bag with a corner snipped off. Pipe out the discs or chips onto a baking sheet lined with Silpat or a sheet of foil. When done, put the sheet in the freezer and freeze for at least 2 hours. When frozen solid, loosen the chocolate chips and store in a bag or airtight container in the freezer until ready to use.
Nutella Chip Cookies
(Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen’s Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies)
Melt 1 1/4 sticks butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Keep swirling until butter has a dark golden brown color and a nutty aroma, about 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer it to a bowl and mix in the remaining butter until melted.
Add the sugars, salt, and vanilla to the butter and mix well. Add the egg and the extra yolk; whisk until smooth, about 30 seconds. Let it rest for 3 minutes, then whisk again for about 30 seconds, before letting it rest again. You’ll want to whisk this about 4 times, until you have a thick, glossy, and smooth mixture.
Gently stir in the flour and baking soda just until combined. Make sure dough is cool before stirring in the Nutella chips and nuts, if using.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for 24 to 36 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Form dough balls about 3 tablespoons in size (I use an ice cream scoop) and place them on a lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 degrees for 14–16 minutes (mine took 15 minutes), then put the baking sheet on a cooling rack and let the cookies cool on the sheets.
Here is a photo of the chips/chunks made with just Nutella and melted butter mixed together. I spread the resulting mixture on a silicone mat, put it in the freezer for about 3 hours, and then cut it into chunks.
Because the only chocolate in this mixture is the Nutella, the hazelnut flavor is more pronounced when compared to the batch made with added milk chocolate chips. These are simpler to make, too, and my preferred method for making Nutella chips. At least, speaking from my vast experience of Nutella-chip-making that encompasses all of three days.