Monday, December 2, 2013

Nutella-hazelnut crinkle cookies...'Tis the season!

It's the holiday season!  It's cookie season!  It's the season for treats and indulgence, and quality time with family!  Can you tell I'm excited?  I have a feeling there's a good chance you're just as excited as I am.   
Chewy nutella-hazelnut crinkle (crackle) cookies perfect for the season
I just love December and Christmastime.  I try to get as much done as possible - as far as Christmas shopping and other to-do's - so I'll have time to savor the season.  

Aside from the twinkling lights and general goodwill floating in the air, one of the best part of the holiday season has to be all the good eats - the cookies and treats, all being washed down with cups of hot cocoa!  I made a list of family-favorites I'll be baking up this month both to savor at home and to pack up as gifts.  I have a ton of things I'd love to make but like all of you, I had to be realistic and narrow it down.  I hope to get to as much as possible while keeping things manageable so it's enjoyable instead of stressful (because if it's stressful, why bother).  It is indeed that time of year when I happily turn into a little kitchen elf, baking up old favorites and trying a few new recipes, too!

On the "new" side of things (for me, anyway), I'd love to share these nutella-hazelnut crinkle cookies with you.  Crinkles/crackles, I can't decide which to call them!  Because of how wintry they look, I like to make them at Christmastime.  Plus, my little one is partial to them and if you have a child, you know it's all about what your child likes - particularly, at Christmastime!  Last year, I really enjoyed adding a little almond extract to our batch of chocolate crackles and this year, I've been saving up this hazelnut version to try for the holidays.
I added chopped hazelnuts to half my batch of cookies and left the other half plain
I'm glad I kicked off our holiday cookie season with these because they were awesome! While chocolate crackles are generally like a light brownie, moist and soft, these nutella-hazelnut crinkles are nice and chewy.  I am a big fan of chewy cookies so they were right up my alley.  With these, I also finally got a chance to make cookies with nutella and I'm happy they didn't disappoint one bit.

I divided my batch of cookies into two: half without chopped hazelnuts inside (for my son) and the other with.  My son loved these cookies and was very grateful for his hazelnut-free half batch - though he wanted a lot more.  For my part, I think the toasted hazelnuts balance out some of the sweetness of these cookies and heighten the hazelnut flavor.  The original recipe called for rolling the outside of the cookies with additional hazelnuts but I opted to keep things simple.  Instead, I upped the amount of hazelnuts I used inside my cookies and skipped the additional roll in nuts.  This way, they also keep the classic, snowy, crackled look I love for this time of year.

I found this recipe from Brown Eyed Baker months ago and put it right on my Christmas baking list. Not only did the cookies look wonderful, the original recipe comes from America's Test Kitchen so I knew it was going to be good!  I made a few changes to the recipe, as I mentioned earlier, but it's a winner.  You get a great chewy cookie, with the flavor of nutella and additional nuttiness from actual hazelnuts that balance out some of the sweetness.  
Customization!  (Roughly) half the cookie dough without nuts, the other half with chopped hazelnuts
These cookies are obviously on the sweeter side of things.  I go a little scant on the sugar in the dough itself since we've not only got nutella but the additional roll in sugar(s) before baking.  And here's the thing about the sugar coating.  I like to coat them first in granulated, then confectioners' sugar.  That's the way I learned it from a Martha Stewart recipe and I think the granulated sugar helps the confectioners' sugar hang on so that you get a very distinct snow-capped look.   
I like to roll the cookies first in granulated, then confectioners sugar
It's not absolutely necessary to do what I did.  I tested it both ways since the recipe only calls for rolling the cookie dough in confectioners' sugar.  It works either way but I find the ones rolled in granulated sugar first looked just a little bit better (more distinctly powdery) after baking.

This dough is soft and needs some time to chill in the fridge before baking.  I don't mind that, particularly around the holidays when it's good to do steps ahead and divide the labor.  I made my dough the day before.  You'll find the cookie dough be tacky and actually very easy to work with in terms of rolling.  The look and feel of them made me think of tootsie rolls.
They always make me think of truffles!  If you are rolling yours in confectioners' sugar only, make sure to give it a thorough coat all over.
I choose not to roll the dough in chopped hazelnuts to keep things simple and to get that traditional wintry crinkle cookie look
That way, they turn out nice and snowy looking.  These cookies keep well in an airtight container for about 3 days.  They stay chewy and go really well with a cup of coffee or hot tea for us grown ups.  I love a good cup of hot chocolate but these are sweet and chocolaty enough on their own.


Recipe:

Nutella-Hazelnut Crinkle Cookies
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen Holiday Cookies (2010), via Brown Eyed Baker*

* This recipe is half the original.  I omit rolling the cookies in hazelnuts before baking and add a slightly larger amount of chopped hazelnuts in the cookies instead. If you are making these for anyone who prefers cookies without nuts, you can even omit the chopped hazelnuts altogether (or split the batch like I did).

- Approximately 22 cookies - 

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons Nutella
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons whole milk
1/2 to 1/3 cup hazelnuts (according to preference), toasted and finely chopped
For rolling cookies before baking: 1/3 cup powdered sugar (Optional: additional 1/3 cup granulated sugar)

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl to combine.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream Nutella, butter, and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add egg, vanilla, and espresso powder, mixing until just incorporated and scraping the bowl as needed.  On low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 increments, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Fold in the chopped hazelnuts.  Cover and chill the dough in the refrigerator for 2 hours or up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon mats.  Roll dough into balls, about 2-tablespoonfuls (using a small cookie scoop to measure).  Roll the balls thoroughly in powdered sugar.  Or alternatively, roll them first in granulated sugar, then powdered sugar (I find this method gets the powdered sugar to adhere better to the cookie and bake up prettier).  Bake until edges are set but cookies are still slightly soft in the middle, roughly 10 minutes.  Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days.  They were be nice and chewy.





66 comments:

  1. These look delicious -- and a great way to start the holiday season!

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    1. Thanks! The little guy in my house sure agrees. ; )

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  2. These cookies are adorable Monica! Anything with Nutella always gets my attention. :) I can't wait to see what holiday goodies you'll be baking this month. I'm the same way --I have a ton of recipes I want to bake up this month but have to be realistic since I can't make them all. Pinned! Have a fabulous week my dear! xo

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    1. I know - Nutella is magical! So much to cook, bake, and eat but so little time! We'll have to do the best we can...keep it fun! Thanks, Anne!

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  3. These cookies have won my heart ! I can't get it out of my head! They look sooooooo good!!!! and the crinkled tops with that snowy white confectioner's sugar is making me salivate! Yummmmmm!

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    1. Thank you! They are chewy and sweet...a nice twist on the crinkle/crackle cookies.

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  4. Goodness, you just stole my heart with these cookies! Definitely adding then on my must make list!

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    1. Oh, I'm glad you like them, Pamela! I'm glad I gave these a go...my son was nuts for them, if you want the opinion of an 8-yr old. I'm sure you have a long list to bake...enjoy!

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  5. Monica, these crinkle cookies look so pretty...I never made this kind of cookies...and yes, I love nutella and want mine with nuts.
    Have a lovely week :D

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    1. Thanks, Juliana. I make these at Christmastime...they just look perfect for winter. : )

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  6. Hehe, yay for the holidays and cookie season! Oh Monica, these cookies look so pretty and super festive:) I love the crackled snowy look! They sound incredibly chewy and delicious with nutella and toasted hazelnuts. I'm trying to keep my baking list smaller this year too but I may have to sneak these in since they sound awesome! Hope you have a great week and enjoy this holiday season with your wonderful family!

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    1. I love that crackled look too, Kelly! Thank you. It is hard to narrow down that list. Maybe we should just keep making Christmas cookies in the New Year til at least March?! ; )

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  7. Talk about holiday baking and I am excited like a child. Your post reciprocates what I had in mind and what I posted (great minds think alike:-)) I have a huge to-do list but I am going to squeeze in time and space for these cookies..they look so so amazing! After looking at this, I am craving cookies for dinner. You can never go wrong with Nutella!

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    1. Great minds (and chocolate-lovers) do think alike! : ) Your cookies look wonderful!! Here's to lots of cookies this month!

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  8. These have all flavors that I just LOVE! So pretty, too!

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    1. Thanks, Marie. There is lots to tempt us this month! Better load up on some greens and fruit to balance all this indulgence. : )

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  9. Crinkle cookies have been on my list for way too long. These are beautiful and perfect in every way! We adore Nutella and love the hazelnut flavor. Very, very nice indeed and I know your little ones will remember these next year too!

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    1. There are so many variations you can make from basic chocolate to adding flavors like almond, orange, liquors, and now Nutella - why not! These are nice and chewy...a bit sweet but go easy on the sugar and the nuts inside help balance things out. The little guy really LOVED these.

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  10. I love crinkle cookies-these sound fabulous! And yes, it's way to hard to narrow down a baking list this time of year!

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    1. Yes - I think we may have to settle for baking a handful and enjoying all the other cookies virtually as we visit everyone's blog. : )

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  11. Definitely the cookie season! Your crinkle cookies look divine!

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    1. Yes, 'tis the season and I'm very cheerful! : )

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  12. Oh I love the Nutella and hazelnut combo in these cookies. Thanks for the useful tip about coating in granulated sugar first before powdered sugar. Your cookies look so lovely. I'm going to have to try out these cookies during Christmas time! (:

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    1. My pleasure, Monica. The double sugar coating seems to help a bit but it still works w/o the granulated...Enjoy the holidays!

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  13. Replies
    1. Yes - like snow capped mountains and all that good wintry imagery. : )

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  14. I've never made crinkle cookies and every year around this time I see them popping up and decide this year, then life goes on! But your Nutella ones have inspired me! They look beautiful, just like my Rocky Mountains :)

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  15. Oh I love crinkle cookies!! They always remind me of the holidays when I make them any other time of the year : ) I love that these have nutella and hazelnuts - I've only ever made plain chocolate ones before! Happy start of the holiday baking season!

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    1. I really only make these during Christmas time. My son is the big fan. I particularly loved these since they were so chewy...plus, I'm a big hazelnut fan. Happy baking and celebrating to you, too!

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  16. Christmas time is my favorite! I love homemade cookies and hot cocoa and I can't wait to add thiese babies to my baking list! I do love crinkles, but I only make them around this season, so I'm eager to eat a few of them ;)

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    1. I hope you savor this time of year, Consuelo. I know I'm trying to! Same here with making these crinkles at this time of year...

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  17. Crinkle cookies are a favorite of mine. I usually just make chocolate ones but I need to try these nutella and hazelnut ones.

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    1. Hi Ashley - yes, these are a fun (and tasty) twist! Thanks!

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  18. These look lovely. Crinkle cookies are the best! I have a feeling that I would love the one with the nuts myself! Thank you for sharing!

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    1. I'm with you...I love nuts in baked goods. Thanks, Monet!

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  19. I love the cookies and adding nutella to the batter sounds delicious and they do look covered in snow.

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    1. Yes - crinkles/crackles are perfect for the holidays and I really like this one with Nutella...your daughter might enjoy it. : )

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  20. It feels like i have been baking nonstop also! Last year I made mint chocolate crinkles but this year I think a nutella version would be so fun!

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    1. I know - I'm checking my list twice all the time. haha. I made it with some almond extract last year and I've thought of mint...I think orange with some liqueur would be great too...so many possibilities. I really like the chewiness in this version.

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  21. bring on the crinkles! what a festive little cookie for this time of year: you don't often see them with nuts inside, so i love that little addition.
    and speaking of...did we just post something with hazelnuts at the same time? this is getting weird... ;)

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    1. I thought the same about nuts when I first saw the recipe...I didn't roll them on the outside with them to keep things simple though...I liked how it all worked. My son loved these w/o the nuts within. : ) And yes, that's right - your cups had hazelnuts in them. I knew there were more than a few reasons why I loved that post!

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  22. Yay, bring on the Christmas baking!! I can't wait to try these!

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    1. Yes - yay for December and Christmas!!

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  23. Monica, seriously that is some gorgeous looking cookie.
    Those cracks, that hazelnut in it, amazing. IT is the season for cookies, love em.

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    1. Thanks, Asha. I love this season of eating! : )

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  24. Yum, these cookies look SO good! You can never go wrong with Nutella. :)

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    1. That's what I figured, Sara! Thanks!

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  25. Oh! These look amazing Monica! Totally delicious and seasonal. So pretty :-)

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    1. Hi Jo - yes, I seem to make some version of crinkles/crackles at Christmas. My son is a big fan.

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  26. I can totally eat all of them right now! Yum!

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    1. Haha - Nutella does that to people, I think...

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  27. Thank goodness it's cookie season again! These look like the perfect cookie platter addition. Definitely need to make these for my Nutella-obsessed mom!

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    1. Cookie season is the best season, Rachel. Thanks! Hope your mom enjoys some Nutella treats real soon.

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  28. I think this is the best thing I have seen all day. Sounds incredible and looks so pretty and festive - love it!

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    1. Thanks, Aimee...crinkles are so popular for how they look for this time of year. : )

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  29. Yummy, these sound so good, Monica! I don't have so much time to be baking this year but I was going to try to make a few cookies and I think this makes the cut ;)

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    1. Oh wow - I know everyone's list is limited (mine, included)...I'd be honored if you try these. : )

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  30. Honestly I'm not sure if I have tried crinkle cookies, but I do know this look! I had no idea how the cookies get that cracks but now I know! It's naturally get cracked while baking... Interesting! I'd love to try these. <3

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    1. They just crack like that on their own and the sugar does the rest for that look. They taste best warm from your own oven so hope you give it a try one day.

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  31. I love chewy cookies too and chocolate crinkles are among my favorite cookies. Must try this Nutella version!

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    1. I thought these were a nice change as far as crinkles because of the chewiness. Hope you get a chance to try them soon. :)

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  32. Replies
    1. Glad they caught your eye. Happy Holidays!

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