Friday, May 30, 2014

Nutella Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies

Annnddd I'm back with a chocolatey recipe! Not just chocolatey, but peanut buttery too!  I love it when ingredients like those collide and form something magical.  That's exactly what these cookies are- they are magic!  MAGIC! I'm a little excited about these cookies because they were a really big success, and by that, I mean they were gone in about a day.  Seriously, when something like that happens, you know there's some kind of magic sitting on your plate.

These cookies all started because of my mom.  Over the past several weeks, the spring cleaning bug hit my mom, and it hit her hard.  I mean, my mama has gone a bit crazy reorganizing most of the rooms in our house before, but this time it was something else, especially in the kitchen.  Let's just say that we are no longer allowed to have anything (literally nothing) on the counters (because then they don't look clean, duh) and I no longer know where the majority of our kitchen equipment is anymore; everything is hiding away in a drawer or behind a cabinet. This was a bit problematic the first time I attempted to bake something in our now spotless kitchen- I was ready to pull something out of the oven when I realized that I didn't know where all of the oven mitts and pot holders went.  I didn't even know where any of the dish towels were.  This scenario led to me running around frantically searching for an oven mitt as the timer on my stove was going off, and fortunately I found something to take out whatever I was baking from the oven before it turned extra, extra golden brown.  In addition to clearing out the counters and rearranging every last item in the kitchen, my mama also cleaned out the pantry, which I'll admit, was getting a bit out of hand.  It was just full of random half open boxes of food, food that hadn't even been opened, and other items that we just didn't know we even had anymore.  The pantry cleanout was necessary.  In this process, my mom discovered that we had three large half-filled jars of Nutella, obviously all purchased by me for my baking endeavors.  She ordered me to use them up ASAP, so I obliged. 

My need to make something with Nutella and my realization that there's been a lack of cookie love on the blog lately meant that Nutella cookies were in order.  I love making cookies because they're so simple to make and take little time to mix up- in a matter of a few minutes, I can have a batch of cookies cooling on wire racks on my counter, and they're one of the few treats that can be eaten while they're still warm from the oven.  They require little effort, and can be made at a moment's notice, whenever your cookie mood happens to strike.  These cookies in particular are really simple to put together.  They might not be instant gratification cookies, because a little planning ahead is needed, but the planning ahead stage is minimal; you just need an extra hour to freeze tiny globs of Nutella, which is totally worth the extra time, in my opinion. 

Once you have little globs of Nutella sitting in your freezer to chill until they're solid, the rest is really super, super simple.  Butter and sugar are beaten together into a light and fluffy mixture; white sugar adds sweetness, and brown sugar adds a nice depth of molasses flavor.  A generous helping of peanut butter is then mixed in, followed by an egg and vanilla extract.  Dry ingredients are slowly incorporated to form a soft cookie dough, which is then portioned out with a cookie scoop.  By now, our little globs of Nutella should be perfectly frozen, so it's time to shape the cookies.  The idea is to encase the globs of Nutella within the soft peanut butter cookie dough, so simply break apart the portioned out mounds of cookie dough in half, tuck the frozen Nutella in the middle, and then cover it up completely with the peanut butter dough.  A fork is used to create the traditional criss-cross lines found on all peanut butter cookies. They're baked for a short time, and then they're ready to be eaten!

Before, I said that these cookies were magical, and they really must have been.  Both of my parents actually really liked these cookies!  I was in shock because my dad doesn't like cookies, and my mom isn't much of a peanut butter person at all.  I couldn't believe that my parents liked them!  My mom just kept going back for cookie after cookie, and that was a fantastic sight to see.  My dad brought what was left from the batch of cookies to work, and he says that they flew out of their tupperware container!  It's easy to see why this cookie was so popular- it's got a definite peanut butter flavor, and the rich chocolate Nutella is a nice contrast to the more mellow peanut butter flavor.  They're great cold with a glass of milk, but are especially good if you have them just a few moments after you take them out of the oven while they're still warm.  The peanut butter base for these cookies is so simple, that I think it would be fun to try new variations of the cookies.  I think stuffing these with dulce de leche, more peanut butter, or even something as decadent as Biscoff spread would yield an absolutely amazing cookie.  I loved the way these cookies came out, and I know that they're going to become an important recipe in my "need-my-cookie-fix-now" arsenal.  Enjoy!

Nutella Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies
recipe from Handle the Heat


1/2 cup Nutella
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Line a dinner plate or small baking sheet with plastic wrap.  Scoop out 26 1-teaspoon scoops of Nutella and place on the prepared plate or baking sheet.  Freeze the Nutella until solid, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners, and position your oven racks to the upper and lower thirds of the oven.  

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. 

In the bowl of a standard electric mixer, beat together the butter and both sugars on medium high speed until smooth and fluffy, about two to three minutes.  Beat in the peanut butter until fully combined.  Beat in the egg, followed by the vanilla extract.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.  With the mixer running on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture.  

Portion out 2-tablespoon size scoops of dough onto the prepared baking sheets.  I used my regular cookie scoop for this.  Break apart each portion of dough in half, and place one of the frozen Nutella scoops in between.  Shape the dough around the scoop of Nutella, making sure the edges are sealed.  Try to work quickly to avoid the Nutella melting in your hands!  Repeat with the remaining dough.  Once all the cookies have been rolled into balls, use a fork to slightly flatten the dough and make a criss cross pattern with the tines.  

Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes, or until the are lightly brown.  Allow the cookies to cool slightly on the baking trays before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.  Enjoy!

Makes just over 2-dozen cookies


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