Brown Butter, Nutella & Sea Salt Cookies
Yield: about 24 cookies
Chocolate hazelnut spread (such as Nutella), about ½ cup
1 cup unsalted butter
2¼ cups cake flour
1¼ tsp. bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp. flaked sea salt, plus more sprinkling
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. greek yoghurt or sour cream
1 cup dark chocolate chips
¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Line baking sheets or trays with silicone baking mats or parchment paper, be sure these sheets or trays can fit well into your freezer.
Place the chocolate hazelnut spread in a plastic ziplock bag toward one corner of the bag. Twist so that it does not squeeze out of the top. Snip one corner off the end of the bag. Pipe small dollops of the spread onto the baking sheet with wax paper or silicon mats, about 1-1½ teaspoons each. You will need about 24, and a few extra to nibble on won't hurt. Transfer the baking sheet to the freezer and allow to firm, about 2 hours.
Place the butter in a medium pot over a medium heat. Melt the butter completely. Continue to cook, whisking frequently, until the butter foams, bubbles slightly, and begins to brown. Be careful the heat is not too high, as the butter can begin to boil & bubble quite aggresively. Continue whisking until the butter is evenly browned, being careful not to burn, as this can happen fast. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugars and the cooled brown butter. Mix on medium speed until well blended and smooth. Blend in the egg and egg yolk, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Blend in the vanilla and greek yogurt.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt - this ensures all dry ingredients are well blended . With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients just until incorporated.
Mix in the chocolate chips with the mixer on low and very briefly. Chill the dough, covered with plastic wrap for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile line 2 baking sheets with wax paper or silicon mats.
Preheat the oven to 175˚ C.
Use an ice cream scoop (about 2 tablespoons worth) to scoop portions of cookie dough. Press an indentation into the center of the dough ball to create a bowl shape.
Place a dollop of the frozen Nutella into each indentation, and pinch together the edges of the cookie dough over the top to completely seal it in the centre. Then rough up the top of cookie, it yields a more irregular, visually appealing finished product.
Place the shaped cookies on the prepared baking sheets, about 5cm apart. Bake until the cookies are golden brown and set, rotating the pans halfway through, about 14 minutes total. Don't over-bake, you want a slightly gooey cookie.
When the cookies are finished baking, sprinkle lightly with flaked sea salt, my choice is always Maldon Salt, it melts beautifully in your mouth. Let them sit for a few minutes, don't be tempted to eat yet! Then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Repeat with the remaining dough as needed, or freeze to bake at a later date. Be sure to replace the remaining Nutella dollops in the freezer while waiting for cookies to bake, it softens fairly quickly otherwise.
Store in an airtight container, if you don't eat them all first! My favourite way to enjoy them is with a glass of milk or cup of tea.
Nutella has a fond memory for me, travelling with my parents to Europe allowed me discover the magic of Nutella way before it had hit the South African market, it also still tasted like hazelnuts back then, you weren't overwhelmed by the extreme quantities of sugar! I was allowed to indulge in it now and then with a fresh croissant in the mornings as a special treat, that we only enjoyed whilst travelling, especially in Germany.
When I came across this recipe the combination of the brown butter, Nutella, chocolate and sea salt seemed heavenly. They are rather sweet, the salt is very necessary to balance this in my opinion, as I don't enjoy overly sweet things. Another way to avoid them being too sweet, is by using only dark chocolate chips, that will give them some bitterness between the sweetness. I hope you enjoy baking these as much as I did.
Photos by Timothy Bowles
Styling & Editing by Megan Kate Swan
Find the printable version of the recipe here.
Source: Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen