Brown Butter Nutella Cookies

Helloooo

It’s mighty quiet out there.

I can almost hear the echo reverberating around the hum of the internet.

Even though normal life for many has come to a grinding halt, the buzz, the hyperactivity of the internet lives on, perhaps even more now millions of us are cooped up at home, with only the four walls, ‘the members of our household’ as they call it, and our phones to stare at. Now more than ever it’s not unusual to see everyone gazing blankly at their screens as they slide further down the sofa. The internet’s dark fathomless abyss seems very friendly and welcoming. Meanwhile, the real world is a pretty quiet place.

nutella cookies nigella eats everything

Gaylord and I had just started travelling the South Island when New Zealand’s call for lockdown came.

We had piled his van high with general stuff (too much stuff in his opinion, not enough in mine, for instance, where have all my socks gone?) We drove across the mountains to Takaka, a sun-soaked town with golden beaches, hippies with dreadlocks and shops which were slowly but surely closing with apologies taped to their front windows. Preparing for the worst as rumours started to spread about campsites and national parks closing, we were still shocked at the sudden announcement of 48 hours until national lockdown. The ferry back to Wellington was closed. Domestic flights cancelled. We were stuck. A nomadic life is unsustainable during a pandemic.

nigella eats everything brown butter nutella cookies

Luckily, new friends came to our rescue and now we’re holed up safely in an Airbnb south of Wanaka with five other travellers – or, as we should now be known, home-dwellers. And we’ve done well out of the situation too, the house is big with large squashy leather sofas and blankets for cold nights, power showers which I’d immediately come to miss during our mere five days of travel, and a log fireplace. The perfect abode for staying inside. And better than a stationary van.

So, all in all, I left Wellington with the best intentions for an adventure. And after a wonderful ten-day adventure with my family, then a few dreamy evenings on the road, finding campsites, star gazing and eating Pot Noodles, I’m now back at home, our coats hanging by the door and backpacks somewhat emptied, detritus all over the bedroom. An adventure in itself, after all these are unprecedented times, and, worryingly, who knows what the future holds.

brown butter nutella cookies

Therefore, this is a moment to find distraction, otherwise our minds drift into restlessness and fear for the next few months. My new housemates and I play vicious games of cards, read books, watch movies, go for walks in our sleepy town, and spend hours whiling away the time on our phones. Plus, of course, we bake.

Baking escapism: Brown butter Nutella cookies

Little did I know when I wrote my previous post about my ‘last’ home-bake of my time in New Zealand that I would be planning my next recipe within two weeks. Already the internet is bursting with store cupboard recipes for the bored housebound. I feel a bit awkward as I’m very late to the bake-off party, but I’m hoping my niche could save me.

brown butter nutella cookies nigella eats everything

As travellers, caught like deer in the headlights, we arrived at our new home with only the essentials. Sure, our nearest supermarket isn’t far, but this is a lockdown and not a time to be popping out for that bag of soft brown sugar. Assuming they haven’t sold out yet. So, this recipe for brown butter Nutella cookies is for people like me who don’t have the equipment or ingredients for a bake-off. We could only find self-raising flour. We don’t even have scales.

If you’re in a similar situation, or simply aren’t prepared for lockdown, then never fear you’re not stuck with endless Victoria sandwiches for the next four weeks (even though there’s nothing wrong with a Victoria sandwich), these are the brown butter Nutella cookies for you.

I don’t think anyone can resist a chocolate chip cookie, especially when they’re soft and chewy, and every mouthful contains a morsel of chocolate. Need I mention brown butter and a molten core of Nutella? These cookies, thanks to my ironic lack of ingredients, stingy attitude, and habit to substitute and get creative, tick all the boxes.

For one, brown sugar is usually essential for a soft textured cookie due to its higher moisture content, and unfortunately, I don’t have any so I substituted it for white sugar. To compensate, once the cookies are rolled into chunky little balls they must be whacked in the freezer for the fat to solidify. Thus, the fat will melt nice and slowly, and the cookies won’t spread with brittle, burnt edges.

brown butter nutella cookies nigella eats everything

Browning the butter adds the brown sugar’s lost nutty caramel flavour. And as for the Nutella… Break once of these brown butter Nutella cookies in half and out oozes a chocolate hazelnut pool, rich and sweet but perfectly off-set by the sprinkle of sea salt on top. Oh yeah, there are also shards of chocolate scattered throughout – shards not chunks because I only had five pieces left. It’s a devil of a cookie. I mean the name brown butter Nutella cookies says it all. Perfect to keep up your spirits for thirty days’ lockdown.

Brown butter, chocolate chunk and Nutella cookies

As I don't have scales in this Airbnb I've had to rely on cups. I've never been a fan as they can be fiddly and imprecise, whereas a set of digital scales bish bash bosh everything is weighed to the exact half-gram. Sadly, that luxury is not available, however I've included both cups and grams quantities in the recipe.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Course: Baking, Dessert, sweet
Cuisine: American
Keyword: brown butter, chocolate chunk, cookies, Nutella
Servings: 6 cookies
Author: Adapted from I Am A Food Blog’s recipe

Ingredients

  • 75 g Nutella
  • 100 g self-raising flour or cake flour
  • ¼ tsp salt and a few pinches for the tops
  • 55 g plus 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 100 g white sugar
  • ½ egg beaten
  • 5-6 squares of any chocolate

Instructions

  • Grease a large baking tray – I used butter and flour to grease mine because, yes baking paper is another thing I don’t have! But grease however you wish. Dollop teaspoon-sized blobs of Nutella on the tray and freeze them while you make the dough.
  • Melt the 55g butter in a small saucepan – ideally a pan without a non-stick surface so you can clearly see the colour of the butter as it starts to darken. Keep your eye on it as it begins to foam. Once it smells nutty and rich, the colour is deep gold and little flecks of milk solids turn brown take the pan off the heat. Be careful, you don’t want the milk solids to burn.
  • Pour the butter into a measuring jug and add the extra 1 tbsp butter and leave it to melt. This extra 1 tbsp increases the quantity in case any butter evaporated when melted.
  • Measure the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl, mix and set aside. Finely chop the chocolate, and yes any flavour will do as, after all, you’re in lockdown!
  • Pour the half of the beaten egg into the butter. Mix and pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Add the chocolate shards and mix all together. It should be a soft dough. Shape it into 6 or 7 equal sized balls.
  • Flatten a ball of dough. Take the tray of Nutella balls from the freezer and, after gently prizing them away from the sheet, wrap them in cookie dough, sealing it tightly. Repeat with all the cookies and line them slightly apart on the baking tray.
  • Pop the tray back in the freezer and turn the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/375°F.
  • After 15 minutes the oven should be hot so slide in the cookie tray. Bake for 10 minutes, until the cookies are golden. Lift them onto a cooling rack and eat one immediately while the Nutella is warm and the cookies are gooey.

9 responses to “Brown Butter Nutella Cookies”

  1. Mostly Clean Eats Avatar

    Mmm those cookies look delish!

  2. […] a vicious brownie competition, apple and plum crumble and custard, Swedish chocolate cake, crêpes, cookies by the trayful, and Gaylord’s chocolate cake with chocolate ganache. A bowl of leftover […]

  3. […] then, only a matter of two days later, a second lockdown was announced by Macron, and swiftly followed by Boris Johnson. So, my big leap over the English […]

  4. […] pleasing than one which paints a rainbow. Time and time again, if I’m taking pictures of cookies or roasted cauliflower, there’s that photographic battle between me and the meal. One of […]

  5. […] Lockdown: Brown butter and Nutella cookies […]

  6. […] night, Gaylord and I wandered the cobbled streets of a provincial town looking for a restaurant. In the age of Covid, bookings are required and we hit upon numerous full-houses until one took pity on us and offered […]

  7. […] then, only a matter of two days later, a second lockdown was announced by Macron, and swiftly followed by Boris Johnson. So, my big leap over the English […]

  8. […] Lockdown: Brown butter and Nutella cookies […]

  9. […] aesthetically pleasing than one of vibrancy. Time and time again, if I’m taking pictures of cookies or roasted cauliflower, there’s that photographic battle between me and the […]

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