Thursday, June 27, 2013

Nutella-stuffed brown butter chocolate chip cookies with sea-salt

What is it about taking a regular ole recipe and simply stuffing it with something that elevates it to new heights??

Burger = delicious. Burger stuffed with cheese = best cheeseburger of life.

Meatball = not bad (unless it's these lemony leek meatballs, which are ah-mah-zing). Meatball stuffed with egg = home-cooked deliciousness (for both Scottish people and Assyrians)!

Risotto = pretty damn delicious rice. Risotto stuffed with mozzarella cheese (arancini) = incredible bite of cheesy fried goodness.

Chocolate chip cookies = all American dessert. Chocolate chip cookies stuffed with Nutella = SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!!!

The touch of sea salt makes a HUGE difference with these sweet cookies

I'm not a giant cookie fan, but the moment I read "brown butter" and "Nutella stuffed," I knew this was a cookie near and dear to my heart. And the cookie was incredible. The brown sugar and browned butter added a level of depth and nuttiness to these cookies that you just don't get with your run-of-the-mill chocolate chip cookie.

To be honest though I found the cookies to be a tad too sweet (a few too many chocolate chips for my taste). But out of the 20 or so people that tried these cookies, I was the only person who complained about that. Everyone else thought they were perfect! I really think a big part of that was the touch of sea salt, which did a great job to balance out that sweetness.


The Nutella wasn't overpowering, but I liked that when you bit into the cookie there was a chocolatey softness there. Man I love me some Nutella!

Straight up finger dipping is a requirement when opening a fresh jar of Nutella!

Be warned though: these cookies will take you a little bit longer to prepare than just a regular cookie. Normally you'd simply scoop/bake the cookies, easy peasy. But these require you to flatten the ball of cookie out, fill it with a bit of Nutella, then re-wrap the cookie up into a little ball. It's not hard at all, but takes about a minute or so per cookie.

The trick to making the prep hassle free: freeze the Nutella in small portions 
for just a few minutes before filling your flattened cookie

It's well worth the effort though once you start hearing the praises from every single person you share these cookies with. Friends for life!

Yours in stuffing cookies, and herself...
Jacqueline

Nutella-stuffed brown butter chocolate chip cookies with sea salt, slightly adapted from Ambitious Kitchen

Note: Check out the Ambitious Kitchen blog for some good step-by-step photos of the process. Also, feel free to cut down the chocoalate chips if you feel like they'll be too much. The original recipe called for 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips, and 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips. For simplicity, I used just one type, but feel free to mix it up.

Ingredients

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon plain greek yogurt
1 3/4 cup dark, bittersweet, or semi-sweet chocolate chips 
1 jar of Nutella, chilled in refrigerator
Flake or coarse sea salt, for sprinkling

Directions
  1. Prepare your dry ingredients: Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. 
  2. Make your brown butter: Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. As it melts, the butter will begin to foam. Make sure you whisk consistently during this process. After a couple of minutes, the butter will begin to brown on the bottom of the saucepan; continue to whisk and remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to brown and give off a nutty aroma. Immediately transfer the butter to a bowl to prevent burning. Set aside to cool for a few minutes. (Here's a great photo blog post about how to brown butter.)
  3. Prepare your cookie dough: With an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the whole egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and yogurt until combined. Add the dry ingredients slowly and beat on low-speed just until combined. Gently fold in all of the chocolate chips.
  4. Chill your dough for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator, up to an overnight rest in the fridge.
  5. When you're ready to start some cookie making, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  6. Prepare the Nutella: On a cookie sheet lined with wax paper or plastic wrap, drop ~15 balls of Nutella in 1 teaspoon portions. (This is about half what you'll need for the entire recipe—which will cover your first batch of cookies.) Pop the Nutella in the freezer for about 5 - 10 minutes, just to lightly harden the balls.While the Nutella is chillin'...
  7. Assemble the cookies (do ~ 1 dozen at a time, or half the recipe): Measure about 1 1/2 tablespoons of chilled cookie dough and roll into a ball. Flatten the dough ball very thinly into the palm of your hand. (Don't worry if it crumbles a bit, the warmth of your hand will help.) Place 1 ball of the pre-frozen Nutella in the middle of the cookie and fold dough around it. Gently roll the cookie into a ball—it doesn’t have to be perfectly rolled! Just make sure that the Nutella is not completely seeping out of the dough. Add more dough if necessary. 
  8. Place dough balls on lined cookie sheet (preferably with a Silpat), 2 inches apart and flatten with your hand VERY gently. (Really only the tops need to be flattened a bit.)
  9. Bake the cookies 9 — 11 minutes or until the edges of the cookies begin to turn golden brown. (I found that 10 minutes was the perfect time in my oven.) They will look a bit underdone in the middle, but will continue to cook once out of the oven. 
  10. Cool the cookies on the sheets at least 2 minutes. Sprinkle with a little sea salt. Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets after a few minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 
  11. Go back to step 6 and repeat with remaining dough.

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