I have a confession to make. I don't really like Nutella. You can add it to the list of things that make me a bad Italian. The idea of it never appealed to me as a kid. In fact, I don't even think I actually tried it until I was an adult. Occasionally, I will eat it on toast as a "dessert" but it's not my favourite. As a result, I never have it around, which means I never bake with it. However, a few months ago my friend with the Ferrero connection handed me two jars out of the blue. I managed to make it through one (with a little help) purely on sandwiches and toast, but the other jar's expiry date was quickly approaching and it would go to waste if I couldn't figure out a way to use it. When I found a recipe that used an entire jar from one of my favourite blogs, I had to give it a try.
I made a bunch of changes to the recipe, first there was no way that I was going to wait for butter to soften up, so I melted it, which lead me to reducing the milk because the cookie dough was already loose enough. I also halved the sugar, increased the salt and swapped the chocolate chips for pecans. I figured the only way you make a chocolate hazelnut flavoured cookie better is to add more nuts :).
It has been a while since I've messed with a recipe this extensively, so I was a bit worried. A few (more than a few) tastes of the batter put my mind at ease and after a few trials I got the cookies baking up pretty nicely. They're a little crisp and a little soft, but my initial impressions of the flavour wasn't great. It was just really mild. With my reduction of the sugar and the removal of the chocolate chips, I lost the punch that the cookies were supposed to have had. After a bit of time (and tastes) it occurred to me that maybe I was looking at the cookies in the wrong way. I saw a dark cookie and expected big flavour and rich chocolate, but what I really had was a hazelnut cookie with light chocolate undertones, and pieces of pecans that added more nutty and buttery flavours. My realization lead me to let the cookies linger on my palate a little longer; then I became addicted. And because they are very mild in flavour and not at all rich, you put away about a dozen without realizing.
Despite my initial impression, I really enjoyed these cookies (kind of craving them right now). And everyone who tried them enjoyed them as well. One quick note about the Nutella. The recipe uses a 375g jar, you're only really going to be able to get about 350g out of it. My suggestion is take your finger, scrape as much as you can out of the jar, and enjoy :).
Nutella Pecan Cookies
Adapted from Culinary Concoctions By PeabodyMakes approx 6 dozen 2.5" cookies (using a small cookie scoop)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (325g)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 375g jar of Nutella (will yield about 350g)
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled (57g)
1/4 cup sugar (50g)
2 large eggs
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup unsalted pecans, chopped
Preheat oven to 375F.
In medium bowl add flour, baking soda, salt, pecans and whisk to combine.
In a large bowl add Nutella, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, and whisk until completely combined.
Add half the flour mixture into Nutella mix and stir until combined. Add milk and stir until combined. Add remaining flour mix and stir until completely combined and no streaks of flour remain.
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets and lightly flatten with a fork. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes (I was taking them out at 11).
Allow to cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes before moving to rack to cool completely