Nutella-Ginger Cookies Only A Mother Could Love


I have been yearning for butter ever since I saw Julie & Julia a few days ago.

From the first moment that I saw Meryl Streep as Julia Child drop a slab of butter onto a pan, my deep, deep hunger began.

It’s made me request extra pats of garlic butter to perch atop my steak in a French bistro and slather it so generously on bread that you could have omitted the bread and, honestly, I would not have noticed.

But, as Julia supposedly said, “With enough butter, anything is good.”

And it was this very spirit that led me to finally get off my tush and make the Nutella dessert that I had pledged to do when I signed up for The Nutella Challenge. (It’s a little exercise created by Paula at Bell’Alimento in which dozens of amateur bakers have agreed to come up with a dessert starring Nutella.)

I started with butter, of course. And the recent complaint from Mike that there’s been such a flurry of bread-making in our lives that it’s been a while since he’s seen a home-made cookie.

(Hard life he has, right?)

One of my favorite cookies to make, especially for dinner parties, is a thin chocolate cookie that’s a little crunchy and coated with confectioner’s sugar.

I decided to see if I could make a version with Nutella and candied ginger, which is an ingredient I love to add to cookies or cakes for extra kick.

It turns out, Nutella in cookie dough can be a tricky thing.


For starters, it’s goopy. (Yes, that’s now an official baking term.)

And it’s a slightly oily kind of goopy. So this instantly makes a cookie dough more runny than usual versions. 

Then, you also have to deal with the fact that every time you take some out of the jar, you find yourself reaching back in to oh, have just one more teeny tiny spoonful of Nutella because it Just. Smells. So. Good.

But I digress.

I put the dough in the fridge, then the freezer, to harden it a little but it was still fairly soft. I decided to proceed anyhow, to see how things turned out. I made little balls of dough, rolled them in confectioner’s sugar and popped them into the oven.

The end product wasn’t pretty — the balls had flattened out into super-thin rounds that looked like crispy lace cookies. And the confectioner’s sugar had melted unevenly, making my cookies look like they were dotted with inexplicable white growths.

Not what I had envisioned. I was so horrified by their lack of pulchritude that I didn’t even consider taking a picture.

Mike, on the other hand, was thrilled with the smells that were wafting all around him. As soon as they cooled, he ate one, ran to the kitchen for a glass of milk, and then ate another. And another.

So maybe they weren’t quite the failure I’d thought they were. I’m not sure I would whole-heartedly recommend them but I liked the combination of Nutella and ginger and thought the cookies tasted fine. (Although, I’ll probably add some cocoa powder and up the candied ginger amount the next time I make them. And if anyone has any tips on making the dough less runny, I’m all ears.)

But Mike had no issue with the cookies — he heartily ate his way through more that same evening and had some for breakfast the next day.

So Julia was right about that butter bit, after all.


Cheryl’s Nutella-Ginger Cookies


  • A stick and a half (12 TB) of butter
  • 1 cup Nutella
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup candied ginger, finely chopped (Add more if you like ginger.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder, optional
  • At least 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Melt butter and stir in Nutella. Let mixture cool before stirring in sugar and then beating in eggs and vanilla. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder, if adding, and slowly add flour mixture to liquid mixture, stirring it all together.

Refrigerate dough for at least an hour. If dough is still soft, stick it in the freezer for a little.

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Form dough into scant 3/4-inch balls and place them at least two to three inches apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. (Note: Like lace cookies, these will really spread so make sure you place them far enough apart that they won’t all melt together.)

Bake for about 10 minutes and let cookies cool on sheets for three minutes after removing them from the oven. Then transfer them to a cooling rack, dust them with confectioner’s sugar and then let them cool completely. 

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15 thoughts on “Nutella-Ginger Cookies Only A Mother Could Love

  1. Hmm. Nutella is made with hazelnuts, so it’s got a fair amount of nut oil – aka fat – in it. I’d cut back on the butter, maybe only a stick (8TB) and let the oil in the Nutella make up for it. Just a thought. Debating trying these, myself.

  2. Good point — let me know how yours turn out if you try it!
    I was a little disappointed in these but my husband can’t stop eating them. (He ate another six of them tonight — and these aren’t small cookies!) I do want to solve the runny problem, though.

  3. Once again you and I have joined into the same challenges. I think you are stalking me ;-)
    I have been working on a nutella ice cream with coffee macerated cherries and well let us say I keep screwing up. First time I left the ice cream on top of the freezer while on a late night freezer cleaning spree. Second time I dumped the ice cream all over the floor after scooping it out of the Kitchen Aid. *sigh* Add ice cream to another thing I have never really ever attempted but for some strange idiotic reason decide I need to make.

  4. I agree with Anne; I’d reduce the amount of butter, and maybe increase the amount of flour and cocoa powder so you have a better proportion of wet/dry.

  5. My kids loved Nutella when they were growing up. These sound so delicious. And the recipe did say that they spread like lace cookies. If you want them a little tighter, why don’t you try adding a little more flour? That usually works when I am doing cookies with butter/shortening and I want a thicker cookie.
    LOL on Jeff’s comment! That is quite a story Jeff. Your idea of coffee macerated cherries in a nutella ice cream sounds amazing.
    I love candied ginger. We have lots and lots of local ginger here and it is inexpensive, so preserving it as candied ginger is something I do a lot. I just made Lilikoi (passionfruit) and candied ginger sorbet with fresh mint and it was the bomb.

  6. Cheryl – they sound great! I would agree with Anne and Peggy re: less butter. I’d probably start with a good peanut butter cookie recipe and adapt from there since it’s kind of the same issue with fat to rest of ingredients ratio. That’s my first thought, at any rate.

  7. Wow – those sound absolutley divine. I love your recipes – they always look so good. I echo what the others say: less butter would probably work well. Hopefully just by cutting it – and not eliminating it – you’ll still get a delicious flavor.

  8. Cheryl I love the candied ginger addition. What a great flavor combination! Your fotos are beautiful. I esp love the spotlight on the Nutella jar! Brilliant! (my fam is getting a little bread overwhelmed too, me on the other hand I have NO problems eating all the bread or NUTELLA for that matter! LOL)

  9. Jeff…you are hysterical. I can’t wait to see your finished product! I have full faith in you.
    Thanks for all the tips, folks…I’ll have to try the recipe again once I’m back in my kitchen from my travels to Singapore for book research. (My Mom doesn’t bake so my family kitchen in Singapore doesn’t have an oven!)

  10. I just made these cookies and they are amazing! I decreased the butter to one stick and decreased the sugar to 3/4 cups–the Nutella is sweet, as is the candied ginger. I you are making them for a gift (which I would recommend, you can centre a hazelnut at the top of each.

  11. to solve the runniness, i’d try letting the dough balls chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes,until firm, then popping them straight from the fridge into a preheated oven. I’ve used this chilling technique to solve all of my too-flat-and-runny-cookie problems.

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