When you look up “sweet treat” in the dictionary, you should see a picture of these brown butter Nutella cookie bars. Picture this, if you will: a brown butter chocolate chip cookie adorned with thick swirls of Nutella, chunks of chocolate, and lightly toasted hazelnuts. It’s a show-stopping cookie bar, and I’m drooling just thinking about it.
Here is what you need to know about this recipe:
1. The secret ingredient is brown butter. What is brown butter, you may ask? Brown butter is just regular butter that you essentially “toast” the milk solids in. When you do this, you develop a magical, intoxicating nutty caramel flavour that makes you want to drink it. No? Just me?…K, cool. For a quick tutorial from America’s Test Kitchen, click here.
2. Use peeled hazelnuts (please). If you can’t find them pre-peeled at the store, it is easy (and probably less pricey) to do at home. I know what you’re thinking, “do I really have to blanch and peel them?” No, but the skins get very bitter when baked, and, quite frankly, you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life or these cookie bars.
To peel the hazelnuts, boil one cup of water in a medium pot. Once boiling, add one teaspoon of baking soda and half a cup of hazelnuts. Boil them for three to four minutes or until the water turns a dark-reddish brown from the skins. Wash and drain the nuts under cold water. The skins should slide right off.
3. This recipe comes together in no time, and the combination of brown butter, crunchy nuts and Nutella on a chewy cookie base is undeniably one of the best out there. You’ll want to make this recipe again and again.
Brown Butter Nutella Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars
¾ cup unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsps vanilla extract
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks
½ cup peeled, blanched hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
1 cup Nutella
Coarse sea salt for sprinkling (optional, but delicious)
- Preheat the oven to 350F and line an 8×8 inch square pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, constantly stirring until the butter begins to foam, turns golden brown, and has a nutty aroma (about 5 to 8 minutes). Note: the butter can go very quickly from light brown to burnt, so keep a close eye on it and take it off the heat as soon as it changes colour. Let the brown butter cool slightly.
- In a medium bowl, add the flour, salt and baking soda. Stir to combine and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled brown butter and sugars. Beat until mixed well. Add in the egg, egg yolk and vanilla, and mix well.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks and chopped hazelnuts until just incorporated.
- Place half of the cookie dough in the pan, pressing down to create an even bottom layer. Spoon the Nutella on top of the cookie base. Take the remaining cookie dough and drop heaping tablespoons on the Nutella layer and flatten it out slightly. There should still be Nutella showing through (this creates a swirling effect on top).
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the middle is still gooey. Sprinkle with sea salt (if using), and Nutella drizzle (optional) and let it cool for at least 10 minutes. Cut into nine squares, serve and enjoy!
If you tried this recipe, let me know what you think in the comments below.