Recipe: Cookie Crack

Some of you are going to hate me for posting this recipe.  You’re going to rant about how these magical creations are not Paleo and they aren’t healthy and they are made using a processed food product.  You’re going to call me a fraud and a hack and the worst nutritional therapist of all time.  You might never read this blog again.

I don’t care.  Generally speaking, Nutella is not something that I allow in my life.  But I do have a bit of soft spot for this forbidden fruit.  While backpacking through Italy in 2009, I was too broke for a period of time to afford pizza at the grossest, cheapest, greasiest joint in Rome.  While I waited for funds to become available, I was forced to go to the grocery store in search of the cheapest, most portable meal in all of Italy.  I made a beeline for the peanut butter aisle, only to find that peanut butter was priced at luxury levels.  For 20 Euro, I could have a jar of peanut butter.  TWENTY EURO for PEANUT BUTTER?!?!? No thanks.  I looked around, trying to find something – anything – that didn’t need to refrigerated and would fit nicely into my backpack without spilling everywhere.  I didn’t have to look far… Nutella was sitting innocently next to the peanut butter and was priced at less than 5 Euro.  Boom.  For two weeks, I survived on nothing but Nutella, whole wheat crackers, and the occasional banana.  It was glorious.  I gained 10 pounds.  It was worth it.

Since that time, I have limited Nutella intake to European vacations and Christmas cookies.  Since it’s Christmas time, and because I’ve promised you gift ideas that will make everyone in your life happy, I’ve decided to share this recipe with you.  Be warned: this is the most amazing non-Paleo cookie recipe of all time.  I adapted it from Monique at Ambitious Kitchen and barely made any changes (sometimes, I use only dark chocolate chips or add toasted walnuts).  These cookies are habit forming and should be made as close to gift-giving time as possible.  Consider yourself warned.

Nutella-Stuffed, Brown-Butter, Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:
2-1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1-1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 sticks unsalted butter
1-1/4 c. packed dark brown sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. plain Greek yogurt
3/4 g. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. milk chocolate chips
1/2 c. dark chocolate chips
1 jar Nutella, chilled
Coarse sea salt for sprinkling over cookies

Method:
1. Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.  Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  The butter will begin to foam.  Whisk the butter constantly for a few minutes, until the butter begins to brown on the bottom of the saucepan. Remove from heat as soon as the butter browns and begins to give off a nutty aroma.  Transfer the butter to a bowl to prevent burning; set aside to cool for a few minutes.

2. With an electric mixer, mix butter and sugars until well blended.  Beat in the egg, yolk, vanilla and yogurt until combined.  Add the dry ingredients slowly and beat on low, until combined.  Gently fold in the chocolate chips.

3. Chill the dough for 2 hours in the refrigerator.  Don’t be impatient here – this step really helps all the flavors melt together.

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Measure 1/5 Tbsp. of dough and roll into a ball.  Flatten the dough ball very thinly into your hand.  Place 1 tsp. of chilled Nutella in the middle and fold dough around it.  Gently roll the ball and make sure that the Nutella isn’t seeping out (add more dough if you need to).  Place dough balls two inches apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and flatten just a bit with your hand.  Be gentle!

5. Bake the cookies 9-11 minutes, or until the edges turn golden brown.  They will look a bit underdone in the middle, but don’t worry – they continue to cook out of the oven.  Cool the cookies for 5-7 minutes on the baking sheet.  Sprinkle with a little sea salt and remove to a wire rack to cool completely.  Repeat with remaining dough.

Prep time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Total time: 3 hours
Serves: 12 dozen cookies = 3-4 small gifts

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