Spending your vacation at a friend’s house certainly has its own advantages. Sure, there aren’t any maids around to change the sheets and clean the sink daily, but you get to spend the whole time in the comfort of your own home, save the money to travel more and get to do things that you do at home. Like baking cookies. OK, that might not be everyone’s ideal vacation, considering there’s always dirty dishes to wash afterwards, but since you’re reading a food blog, I’m guessing the majority of you agree.
With homemade baked goods in mind, while packing for Bodrum and Selimiye last summer, I also packed my measuring cups and spoons as well as a new book that arrived at my doorstep a couple days earlier: Baked.
Even though I’ve never got around to bake from “Baked” while on vacation – turns out, sleeping under the shade all day long was what I desperately needed – I read it from cover to cover. There was one recipe that stood out for me: Monster Cookies. Studded with orange M&Ms, this peanut butter, chocolate and oatmeal combo won my heart.
And, as soon as I returned from vacation, I gave it a try. It didn’t disappoint for sure, but the suggestion of one very lucky friend, who happened to ring my doorbell as I was taking the first batch out of the oven, made them even better. He said, “You know what will make these better? Hazelnut butter!”
Hazelnut butter, also called hazelnut spread, is actually Nutella minus the cocoa. But don’t worry, there’s lots of chocolate in the recipe to compensate for that.
Since the hazelnut butter in the recipe is of significant amount, and your chances of finding the exact same hazelnut butter I’ve used in the recipe (Sarelle – a Turkish brand) is slim, let me talk about the taste and consistency so you get an idea what to look for. The one I’ve used has a creamy texture (above photo), and consists of 45% hazelnuts. There’s also oil and sugar added. You can easily locate an unsweetened version in a nearby health store, and if that’s the case, make sure to double the amount of both sugars in the recipe.
Here’s also a quick recipe that will yield a similar texture and taste to the one I’ve used in the recipe: Place 3/4 cup of hazelnuts (toasted and skinned) in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and grind to a fine paste, for about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and process again for 2 to 3 minutes until combined (scrape the sides as needed). Add 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract and slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup of canola oil while processing, until well blended. This will yield a little over 1 cup of hazelnut butter.
My friend wasn’t lucky enough to try the hazelnut butter version, but thanks to him, I now have another favorite cookie recipe in my repertoire. Make sure to reserve a handful of chocolate pieces and place them on the cookies right after you take them out of the oven. That is the secret to the shiny chocolate pieces on top.
Hope you like it. Enjoy.
HAZELNUT BUTTER AND CHOCOLATE COOKIES RECIPE
Recipe adapted from “Baked“.
Makes 24 cookies
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1+1/2 tsp baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- 2 + 2/3 cups (8 ounces) rolled oats
- 6 tbsp butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup (11 ounces) sweetened hazelnut butter, creamy*
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped and divided
Important note: If you’re using store-bought unsweetened hazelnut butter, double the amount of both sugars.
* If you can’t find sweetened hazelnut butter with a creamy consistency, here’s a quick recipe for a homemade version: Place 3/4 cup of hazelnuts (toasted and skinned) in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and grind to a fine paste, for about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and process again for 2 to 3 minutes until combined (scrape the sides as needed). Add 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract and slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup of canola oil while processing, until well blended. This will yield a little over 1 cup of hazelnut butter.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add oats and stir to combine. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugars and mix on low speed until combined (do not overmix).
- Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until smooth. Add vanilla extract and hazelnut butter and mix on low speed until combined. Scrape down the bowl as necessary.
- Add the oat mixture in three equal parts and mix until combined.
- Fold in 7 ounces of the chocolate with a wooden spoon, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 5 hours.
- Preheat your oven to 375 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Scoop 6 two-tablespoon sized portions portions of dough, two inches apart, onto the baking sheet and bake, one sheet at a time, for 15 minutes or until the cookies are nicely browned.
- As soon as you take the cookies out of the oven, place a few pieces of the remaining chocolate on top and let them melt as the cookies cool.
- Repeat with remaining dough.
- Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days.