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.)
(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.