part-time lover – nutcrackle

by hungryrabbit on February 17, 2012

Nutcrackle - chewy nutella cookies

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?


recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
yield: 36 cookies


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.
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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

JenniferA February 17, 2012 at 7:59 am

Okay, I admit your shameless George Clooney ploy got me to this post, but the nutella cookies got me to stay. Is it also socially unacceptable to walk around with George in a jar?

Cathy February 17, 2012 at 8:06 am

Hilarious and completely swoon worthy. Love the cookies, too. Wink

Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon February 17, 2012 at 8:37 am

These are going right to the top of the Must Try list.

Renée J. (RJ Flamingo) February 17, 2012 at 8:40 am

Ha! You are so right, HunBun – on both Nutella & George Clooney. :-) And a Nutella cookie that’s crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside? Completely swoon-worthy!

thelittleloaf February 17, 2012 at 8:56 am

This post made me smile… When I eat it, I wonder why I don’t have Nutella every day, but I always seem to have a pot languishing in my cupboard amongst worthier things like tins of beans and garlic cloves. These cookies look gorgeous though, and they’d definitely make me swoon…as does George :-)

Laura@MotherWouldKnow February 17, 2012 at 9:23 am

I had no idea that you were my twin – at least when it comes to Nutella and George Clooney. I haven’t even had my morning coffee yet, and I’m already deciding how quickly I can get the only ingredient missing from my pantry/fridge (the hazelnuts) and make this recipe. Why, oh why did you have to derail my day :)

Deeba Rajpal (@vindee) February 17, 2012 at 9:46 am

Nutella Swooney Cookies. Hola sweet Ken. Missed you! Love the fabulous post & these cookies. Wabbit, they look great! Must have been a handsome bite.

Margaret February 17, 2012 at 5:06 pm

This post makes me want George and these cookies at the same time. Swoon!

Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite February 17, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Yum! These look like a cross between Abby Dodge’s crinkle cookies and my macarons craquelés for Nutella Day. Bookmarked.

MikeVFMK February 17, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Crinkle/nutella cookie heaven. Whatever the name, these look bloody delicious Ken. When I need a chocolate fix I will be turning to these. Seriously good.

Jamie February 18, 2012 at 7:29 am

Yup, yup! Actually, I have something negative to say about Nutella: it is just too sweet for me. But baked in something like a cookie – I say I’ll bet it is delicious! Our jars of Nutella rot in the back of the cupboard until a recipe like this shows up then I’ll pull it out and make these for the boys. And as far as George Clooney goes, he has been replaced by Colin Firth but really a damn fine actor and not bad for the occasional eye candy when the craving strikes. xo

Alyson February 18, 2012 at 10:15 am

I’m wondering if the hazelnuts can be omitted? They’re the only thing not in my pantry at the moment and I feel an urge to bake. Thanks!

hungryrabbit February 18, 2012 at 10:35 am

Hi Alyson, if you have the urge, I don’t see why not. Happy baking.

Brian @ A Thought For Food February 18, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Gah! I thought my bust a nut comment was here! I think it didn’t save (or you deleted it… meanie!) So, here it is!

foodwanderings February 18, 2012 at 10:49 pm

ahahah this cracked me up ‘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?’ I love how you weave a tale, borrowed it with a comment Debba left me.:) Love hazelnuts and love how this looks like Mexican wedding cookies!!

Barbara | Creative Culinary February 19, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Love one but not the other and Clooney is the one I love and have since he starred in ‘Sister’s with Swoozie Kurtz and Sela Ward back when my kids were little and this single mom most often spent her Saturday nights at home. With George. That is until he died in a car explosion and I cried as if it were for real. He went to med school over the break and the next year re-appeared in ER and the whole world thought him theirs. So unfair.

Now the Nutella. I can not wrap my arms (or tongue) around the notion of eating it out of the jar; it’s too thick and/or sweet and I don’t get that passion. BUT…in something baked…OK. I’m in. I first tried Abby Dodge’s nutella brownies when her cookbook came out with them and now you have inspired me to use the rest of the jar. These look cookielicious!

Kasey February 21, 2012 at 12:27 am

I love how you compare Nutella to George Clooney :) I feel similarly about it. I can live months and month without a taste, but as soon as I dig my spoon in, I can’t stop.

Jeanne @ CookSister! February 21, 2012 at 10:04 am

LOL – love the George & Nutella analogy! And am swooning at the thought of these beauties with a chewy centre… I’ve recently discovered dark chocolate peanut butter and I have to admit it is giving Nutella a run for its money… :o)

CherylV September 19, 2012 at 11:19 am

Thank you- I love your intro- will never look at George Clooney the same way! We’re gonna make the cookies tonight- with Nutella, we can’t go wrong!

JAN October 11, 2012 at 6:23 pm


hungryrabbit October 11, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Thanks for visiting my blog, glad you like the recipe. Let them cool completely, then store in airtight container between layers of parchment or wax paper. Depends on the humidity of your home, you might have to redust them with confectioners’ sugar.

susan January 13, 2013 at 3:55 pm

I am sooo going to make these for my daughter and her fiance ..they both are nuts over nutella…thank you for sharing this recipe

Arjan April 29, 2013 at 3:15 am

Think these would work alright without the nuts in them?

Arjan April 29, 2013 at 3:16 am

Ah. see the answer up there!

Dawn December 25, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Made these yesterday and they turned out great. Nutella is a bit of a pain to bake with, but it was worth it in the end.

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