Chocolate Hazelnut Crack Ups

By • October 19, 2009 • 34 Comments

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Author Notes: This recipe came about when I discovered that Nutella has roughly the same composition as peanut butter. I swapped out most of the peanut butter, reduced the sugar, and added cocoa to one of my favorite peanut butter cookie recipes (Food and Wine Magazine, December 2003, recipe by Elizabeth Woodson), and voilà, a new cookie was born.

This is the basic cookie recipe, but I like to coat them in something crunchy and salty before baking. My favorite option is to toast panko bread crumbs with butter and kosher salt until fragrant and golden brown. If the breadcrumbs are large, crush them into pieces slightly larger than traditional breadcrumb size. Cool the mixture and use it to coat the cookie balls before baking.
alice y

Food52 Review: WHO: Alice y has been a member of Food52 since 2009 and this is her first Wildcard win.
WHAT: Like your favorite peanut butter cookie recipe, only drastically improved by Nutella.
HOW: Mix Nutella, peanut butter, sugar, baking soda, an egg, salt, and cocoa powder together. Form the dough into balls and place them on a baking sheet, slip into a hot oven, and hold your breath for 8 minutes (but not literally). Devour accordingly.
WHY WE LOVE IT: You’d be hard-pressed to find cookies that are easier to make. In 20 minutes flat, you’ll have cookies so chocolatey, nutty, and shiny that it'll seem like you spent all day baking. Bonus: They’re gluten-free, which means they’re perfect for bolstering the dessert spread at your next holiday party.
The Editors

Serves 2 dozen 1-inch sized cookies

  • 3/4 cup Nutella or other brand chocolate hazelnut spread (look for one with a fat content similar to the peanut butter, around 11 grams per 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together until just combined.
  3. Roll the dough into 1/2-inch thick balls (feel free to vary the size). Place balls one inch apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Bake 8 minutes. Let cool on the parchment for one minute and then transfer to a wire rack. Eat while they’re still warm and gooey, or cool completely (or both).
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Tags: can be made ahead, chocolate, cookies, gluten-free, hazelnuts, Holidays, travels well, wheat-free

Comments (34) Questions (1)

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about 1 month ago Elizabeth Antimo

Oh these look stunning!, im very exited to try this out yet I wonder what to do with 2 lbs of hazelnuts instead of the hazelnut spread.

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about 1 month ago ustabahippie

I've been trying grain-free baking mix by using ground nuts, coconut flour, flaxseed meal. Might be good with hazelnuts.

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3 months ago Lorealle Bishop

Just made these this afternoon- so easy and so ridiculously good. Used a bit of brown instead of granulated sugar.

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3 months ago Laura

I baked these last night and my family loved them. They didn't flatten as shown in the picture, but kept a domed appearance. The texture was dry and very light, almost like a meringue cookie.

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3 months ago ustabahippie

After reading all the follow up comments, it just goes to show you, different cooks, different kitchens, elevations, ovens, etc. Can't guarantee identical results!!

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3 months ago andre louw

Just an amalgamated mess. Nothing like cookies. Your best ever chocolate chip cookies too were a disaster. Will proceed with caution.

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3 months ago Meghan Judd

What could you use instead of peanut butter? Is almond butter a good substitute?

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3 months ago Lorealle Bishop

I used almond butter and it worked great!

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3 months ago Rose Ha

I really wanted to like this but mine turned out like a mess. The first batch aesthetically was passable but the 2nd batch was icky. Mine did not look like the picture and it tasted like flat burnt brownies with a note of salted caramel. I did make a good attempt at the recipe but ce la vie .. it wasn't meant to be.

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3 months ago Brian

These are great! Followed the recipe exactly and added my own flourish: rolled the little balls in powdered sugar before baking. They're fantastic, gluten-free, and gonna be added to our regular cookie rotation.

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3 months ago Lynette

These cookies are amazing!!!! I didn't have ny cocoa powder so added a few chic chips - worked beautifully!!

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4 months ago Susan

These are amazingly yummy and super easy but seemed extremely sugary the first time I made them (although hubby and kids didn't seem to mind or even notice as they devoured them). Second time, I left out the sugar (I noticed Nutella itself has something like 22 grams/sugar in a couple tablespoons) and they were very good but much flatter. I don't know if added sugar makes them puffier or if it was just that the dough was warmer at that point or what. Anyone know if I put the dough in fridge will it cook up puffier? Or maybe sugar makes dough puffier? Maybe I'll try next batch w/half the sugar. Thanks for the GREAT recipe. These are in my Christmas cookie rotation for sure!

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4 months ago Loretta Meyer

I followed the recipe exactly but I used freshly ground peanuts. You can grind your own at many grocery stores, I use "The Fresh Market". Also, I baked them for 10 minutes. They were perfect and so light and tasty.

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3 months ago Loretta Meyer

I never tried almond butter. Sounds good though!

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4 months ago Fawn

This recipe is now vegan, I wonder why it showed up when I checked "vegan" on the filter list? Categorized incorrectly.

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4 months ago yasemin

All the biscuits united and got runny while baking. I had a whole tray of a thin layer cookie which i had to cut by knife :(

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4 months ago babytiger

Thanks for the recipe. Just made a batch and they are great. 8 minutes worked for me in a convection oven.

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4 months ago alice y

Hi everyone! This is my recipe and I am so excited it worked for folks! If you Google "Food and Wine Magazine, December 2003, recipe by Elizabeth Woodson" you will get to the original recipe which is flour-less (not sure if linking is allowed). I included the peanut butter because it amps the nutty-ness and helps with texture. The photo above is from FOOD52 which is why they are bigger. Including espresso powder or using hazelnut butter sounds awesome! Happy baking!

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4 months ago Corj

Made these last night. They really do work without flour but mine needed 10 minutes to hold together. I used Hershey's Special Dark cocoa and added a teaspoon or so of instant espresso powder. Delicious. I split my batch in half adding peppermint oil to 2nd one, also delicious. Cookie also tastes great once cooled and could really not be a simpler recipe.

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4 months ago Dina Moore-Tzouris

mine also took 10 minutes in a viking oven(on regular, not convection)--but nevertheless they are DELICIOUS! might try again without the PB, adding the equivalent amount of additional Nutella, since I found the peanut butter flavor overpowering--but I am nit-picking. These were not only tasty, but super easy and a great last minute cookie to have in your toolbox.

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4 months ago Amy

No Flour? Perfect!

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4 months ago Margaret Roth

Tested it out, delicious. I would cut to half the salt and yes indeed it turns out deliciously without flour!

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4 months ago velia

Did you forget the flour?

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4 months ago mhall

Let me just add that if you use the Biscoff spread, it will no longer be gluten-free because the cookie spread is made with wheat flour which contain gluten.