Easy Nutella Cookies {Grain-Free}

 Have you seen the three-ingredient peanut butter cookie recipe? It’s all over the Internet–1 cup creamy peanut butter, 1 egg, and 1 cup of granulated sugar. Mix ’em together, bake, and you have a pretty rockin’ batch of peanut butter cookies. And they’re gluten-free to boot! They were some of the first cookies I ever made successfully, and following that small triumph, I tried the magic peanut butter cookie formula with Nutella. I thought I was so smart and so clever. I mixed together most of a jar of Nutella, an egg, and some sugar, scooped the mixture onto a baking sheet, and had a giant fail. The cookies spread all over the place and got almost as lacy as my Apple Cider Snaps. It wasn’t until this week that I thought to try them again. It took me two additional batches, but I finally got them right. 

I considered saving this recipe for February, given that I’m supposed to be sharing healthier recipes this month, but these are just too good to keep all to myself. Nutella isn’t exactly health food–the ad campaign may be all about skim milk, but sugar is the first ingredient on the nutrition label. If you’re limiting grains this New Year, but still need a cookie or two (and after the first week back to work, who doesn’t?), these are the ones you should make.

These cookies start by beating six tablespoons of granulated sugar, a large egg, and an egg yolk together with an electric mixer until the mixture gets foamy and lightens in color. By only using a little added sugar and really frothing up the eggs, we are giving the cookies a lot of structure, allowing them to be soft and puffy instead of hard and thin. Measure 1 cup of Nutella (most of a small jar) in a dry-ingredient measuring cup, and scrape that into the mix before beating it all together. The Nutella provides structure, and will give these cookies a decidedly brownie-like texture. And of course, it will also make them taste like chocolate and hazelnuts. Yum. 


 Nutella is a bit on the thin side, so we have to mitigate any excessive spreading with cocoa powder. Cocoa powder can really dry things out, so we only need a little (1/4 cup) to thicken the dough. Any more than this, and the dough will be too crumbly to work with. Next, we have to add the tiniest bit of baking powder, just so the quantity of Nutella doesn’t make our cookies too dense. A little salt mitigates the potential for overwhelming sweetness from all the sugar. And the mini chocolate chips are just for fun!

The absolute best part of this cookie dough: no chilling required! Just scoop it by the 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons), roll into balls, and bake for 6 minutes. That’s it! They will look a little shiny, but they will continue to cook on the pan, so don’t worry. I love tedious projects and decorated each individual cookie with more mini chocolate chips, but this is purely for aesthetics. If you aren’t as crazy as I am, feel free to skip that 😊

Easy Nutella Cookies are a wonderful first baking project for 2016. With the flavor of Nutella, the texture of fudgy brownies, and ease of preparation, what’s not to like? Add to that the fact that they are grain-free (which means they are gluten-free!), and you’ve got a winner. 

 Easy Nutella Cookies
makes about 3.5 dozen small cookies*

6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 cup Nutella
1/4 cup cocoa powder (natural or Dutch process)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
5 tablespoons miniature chocolate chips, plus extra for decorating (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer or a whisk to combine sugar, egg, and egg yolk until foamy and lighter in color, about one minute. Beat in Nutella. Add cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in miniature chocolate chips.

Scoop dough in 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons) increments and roll into balls. Set on the baking sheets at least 1.5 inches apart. Bake 6-7 minutes, until they look cooked, but are still a little bit shiny. Let cool on the baking sheets for ten minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Cookies keep covered at room temperature for up to a week.

Note:

If you would like larger cookies, scoop in 1 tablespoon increments and place the dough balls two inches apart. Bake for 8-9 minutes.

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