Like most things in your Facebook feed, recipe posts offer an almost constant distraction.
In between all of the cats, babies and memes, food posts flood Facebook, always luring readers in with their attractive photographs. Whenever I see a picture of some perfectly prepared dish, I have to stop and click on the link - almost daring myself to replicate it.
And, like most Facebook / Pinterest crafts, the picture is almost always nothing like what you end up with.
Nutella-stuffed brown butter and sea salt chocolate-chip cookies are a chewy and delicious treat for the holidays or any time of year.
However, a recipe came across my feed from The Bite Sized Baker with all kinds of superlative descriptions, "the best cookie I have ever eaten" and "my life has changed because of a cookie" among the best of them. How can you not want to check that out?
Clicking on the link, I saw the magic word - Nutella - and knew this was something I wanted to try. And, to my relief, the recipe seemed pretty simple, and contained things I already had at home, save for the chocolate chips. Score.
Nutella is big on the Internet. Since the hazelnut spread first came around, it has had strong online support, creating a cult of Nutella that is only rivaled by the Sriracha cult.
Nutella-stuffed brown butter and sea salt chocolate-chip cookies
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
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 jar of Nutella, chilled in refrigerator
Coarse sea salt for sprinkling
Whisk together 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. 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.
With an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, vanilla, and yogurt until combined. Add dry ingredients slowly and beat on low speed just until combined. Gently fold in all of the chocolate chips. Chill dough in refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Once dough is chilled, measure about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball. Flatten the dough ball very thinly. Place 1 teaspoon of chilled Nutella in the middle and fold dough around it, gently rolling it into a ball. Make sure that the Nutella is not seeping out of the dough. Add more dough if necessary. Place dough balls on cookie sheet, 2 inches apart and flatten the top of ball with your hand very gently.
Bake the cookies 9 to 11 minutes or until the edges of the cookies begin to turn golden brown. They will look a bit underdone in the middle, but will continue to cook once out of the oven. 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. Repeat with remaining dough.
There are all kinds of Nutella recipes, but this one seemed like the one to try. Not only did the recipe writer claim this cookie would change my life, but the testimonials from others confirmed the power of the cookie. I had an unopened jar of Nutella in my cupboard, so I knew what I must do.
The beginning of the recipe is a basic chocolate-chip cookie recipe. The only unusual part was browning the butter, which gives the butter a nutty, savory flavor and an aroma that fills your kitchen. I suggest browning butter for all of your future melted butter needs. Aside from that, mixing the dough and chips together is pretty basic.
Forming the balls of dough was another story. I had some trouble flattening the dough out and with spooning the Nutella into them. I couldn't get small enough Nutella scoops, so my cookies ended up being pretty large.
Also, I didn't wrap the cookies back up very neatly, and had to add more dough to cover up the leaks. But, who can complain about bigger cookies? The only thing is that if you make them bigger, they should cook a little longer.
The cookies came out of the oven seeming a little soft, but were done. Sprinkle the coarse sea salt on them while still warm, so that it sticks. Despite my messy dough-balls, the Nutella stayed nestled inside. Breaking a cookie apart, the hazelnut spread stretched gooey and warm.
The cookies were indeed amazing: sweet and salty, soft and gooey but with a crunch; you will definitely need some milk for this. If you set out a plate of these for Santa, you will definitely be on the nice list this year.