Monday, February 24, 2014

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Optional (but Awesome) Nutella Filling

I'll have you all know that I've officially (and completely) fallen off my soap box about how I hate people putting Nutella in everything. To continue to pretend that Nutella should not be put into everything would be to live a lie. I mean why on earth do Europeans eat in on bread for breakfast--because it should clearly be put into everything. Except possibly Brussels sprout gratin or tomato soup. I've put it in pumpkin muffinsrollssmoothies, and made chocolate cookies from it. I really thought that putting it in a cookie that already contains melty chocolate chips really might be putting it over the top (and, yes, I suppose it kind of is over the top), but in a good way--not in an obnoxious way. I also thought that the hazelnutty taste might be off-putting to me, but it was very subtle. What you end up with is a cookie that you bite into and it's like you got a nice glob of melty chocolate chip in the middle. Only a little different. And the next day the glob is still soft and chewy. And while we're using the word 'glob' let me point out that it's not globby at all; it's just a little something extra and good and soft and chocolatey, well, awesome.

These cookies are divine out of the oven and amazing the next day.

And let's talk about just the cookie--the cookie sans the Nutella. It's still completely ridiculously good. It's my new favorite chocolate chip cookie. (I'm a total cookie floozy just so you know--I'm always looking for the next better one.) In fact, while I love chocolate chip cookies, I tend to make them every so often and be good with that. I like to mix it up, try different treats. But lately I've been a wee bit obsessed with these--I just keep making them and then wanting them again and then making them again. It's kind of a problem. I admit that I have another browned butter chocolate chip cookie recipe on this site and it's good too, but I'm going to have to admit here and publicly that today's cookie (even without the Nutella) is just better. I'm sorry other browned butter cookie, but it's true. Today's cookie has a rich flavor (I find that many chocolate chip cookies are good, but not very complex tasting), a perfect (in my opinion) texture--which to me means a tiny bit of a crisp edge or bottom with a perfectly chewy middle. You can add a sprinkle of sea salt to the top (highly recommended) and that adds another layer of depth and awesomeness to this cookie. It's just really really good.

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Optional Nutella Filling
adapted from Ambitious Kitchen (thank you thank you thank you)
makes 36 unstuffed and fewer stuffed
Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Cook time: 8-10 minutes
Cost: $3.60-$4.00 (that's about $.10/cookie people)
flour: .30, butter: 1.00, brown sugar: .35, sugar: .05, eggs: .10, chocolate chips: 1.80, nutella: .40

Note: I've seriously made these several times now and there are 2 caveats. 1) To get a perfect cookie, you've got to follow the recipe perfectly. I'm not saying you have to weigh your flour or anything. But if you leave out the egg yolk it will change slightly; if you don't use dark brown sugar it will change slightly; if you leave out the yogurt, it will change slightly. I'm not saying it will be ruined--it will still be very good, but it won't be quite as utterly perfect as it will be if you follow the recipe. The second caveat 2) is that this require a little tiny bit of patience. I know--who needs that instruction for a chocolate chip cookie. But if you make these with HOT browned butter, the chocolate chips will melt and it'll be a little different. Also, if you let the dough wait for 2 hours as instructed, you will just have a better cookie--you will.

2 1/4 C all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt (I like it a bit coarse and chunky, but you don't have to)
2 sticks butter
1 1/4 C packed dark brown sugar
1/4 C sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp Greek yogurt (or 1 Tbsp sour cream)
2 C chocolate chips
several tablespoons Nutella (or a nice generic version)

Brown your butter. To do this, put the butter in a pot. You can set it on low and wait 30-45 minutes (and swirl it every so often) for it to gently brown while you clean your kitchen. Or you can set it at medium or medium high and keep a close eye on it. It will froth and bubble and you should whisk it often so you know when it is actually browning (the froth won't brown till it's super burned if you don't mix it). This is my favorite way. It's much faster, but really--you've got to watch it and whisk it. Your butter is browned when it--wait for it--becomes brown. This will happen on the bottom while the top is a cheerful pale yellow froth so mix or whisk it so you can see the bottom. Also, it will smell nutty and divine. If it doesn't smell nutty it's not browned yet.

As soon as your butter is browned, remove it from heat and pour it into a bowl (that can handle hot butter). You want to do this because it will continue to cook in the pan and it will burn, so put it elsewhere and let it cool off so it's not cool, but it's not hot either--lukewarm is what we're after here.

Mix the butter with the sugars until thoroughly blended. Add the egg, yolk, vanilla, and yogurt until combined.  All you need for this is a good old fashioned wooden spoon. Add dry ingredients and mix. Add chocolate chips. If you're a dough taster, taste this stuff because it is the best dough you'll ever taste.

Let the dough sit for 2 hours in the fridge (oh, the cruelty--I know, but your texture will be so much better).

Now if you're just going to make regular cookies, roll the dough into balls (I like rolling my cookies--it gives a less airy texture and makes a perfectly round cookie).  If desired add some sea salt. I love this in this cookie--the browned butter and brown sugar give it caramel overtones and then to add the sea salt--it just really works.

Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes or until bottoms are just browning. (

If adding Nutella, flatten your cookie, add a small plop of Nutella (or generic hazelnut spread, which is actually sometimes firmer and easier to work with). Then wrap the cookie around the Nutella. Add a little more dough if necessary to cover the Nutella completely. Note: In general in my life, I usually make small cookies so I can justify them in my life. However, these can't be made too small. Sorry. You'll have to find another way to justify them in your life (like their awesomeness). These tend to be about 2-3 inch balls when done. Just accept that you just made a huge cookie stuffed with Nutella and try to move on with your life.

Bake at 375 for 10-11 minutes (or until bottoms are browning. Tops may still be fairly fair; that's okay).


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