Genius Recipes

One-Bowl, Very Genius Chocolate Chip Cookies

Crisp-chewy, spicy, and naturally gluten-free to boot.

October 17, 2018
Photo by Jenny Huang

As a people, we have spent a lot of time pursuing the perfect chocolate chip cookiemaking our dough days in advance, squishing and banging our hatchling cookies on the counter, everything that went on over here. I’m not immune to any of this.

But instead of tinkering with the established protocol—cream butter and sugar, blop in eggs, add the dry goods and chips—making an already-great thing greater by making it more complicated, another perhaps more rewarding approach is to toss out everything and start over completely.

Photo by Jenny Huang

Nik Sharma’s chocolate chip cookie work is like this. The force behind the blog A Brown Table and the year’s most talked-about cookbook Season, Sharma takes a kernel of an idea and—with a curious mind for ingredients, a welcoming palate, and a scientist’s inclinations—just runs with it, protocol be damned.

This week's Genius Recipe began with Sharma's affection for Nutella—the wonders of which he discovered after moving from Bombay to Cincinnati for grad school—and it ends with a streamlined one-bowl, crisp-chewy cookie that happens to be gluten-free. It tastes both everything and nothing like your perfect chocolate chip.

Photo by Jenny Huang

Starting from a base of hazelnut (flour) and bittersweet chocolate (chopped)—the classic Nutella twosome—he found no need to add extra flours, nor much else at all.

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Top Comment:
“Where is "Note" mentioned next the recipe's hazelnut flour entry?!? ”
— Cooper M.

There’s a good amount of deep brown sugar (Sharma prefers jaggery or muscovado), a single egg, a couple tablespoons of melted butter, and a little baking soda and powder, all of which bring just enough moisture and leavening to make the dough cookie-like—and can all be stirred together with a wooden spoon.

Photo by Jenny Huang

The rest is all seasoning, which is where these cookies go from impressive to remarkable: chopped crystallized ginger for spice and chew, black pepper for still more heat, and hazelnut extract to really drive the Nutella memories home. (He offers vanilla as a substitute, but the hazelnut is well worth adding to your pantry.)

As he does with all cookies, Sharma also freezes the dough for ten minutes or preferably longer, to draw out all the flavors and render the cookies crispier. It's the one bit of advanced technique these perfect cookies will ask of you, and you won't wonder for a second if it was worth it.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Shalini
  • Amy Pullen
    Amy Pullen
  • Cooper Marcus
    Cooper Marcus
  • Thom
  • Kristen Miglore
    Kristen Miglore
I'm an ex-economist, lifelong-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007, before returning to the land of Dutch Crunch bread and tri-tip barbecues in 2020. Dodgy career choices aside, I can't help but apply the rational tendencies of my former life to things like: recipe tweaking, digging up obscure facts about pizza, and deciding how many pastries to put in my purse for "later."


Shalini December 2, 2018
These look so exciting!
Amy P. November 3, 2018
I was curious about the flavour combination so I tried a half batch. I was pleasantly happy with them. I made my own hazelnut flour in the food processor and had them in the freezer for an hour and they spread a lot on the pan, but it was a great texture with crisp edges and very chewy thin middles. I'm not sure about the candied ginger (I like my ginger less sweetened), but otherwise they were delicious! They were an easy cookie to make with my 3yo, who not surprisingly doesn't like them (more for me!)
Cooper M. October 17, 2018
Wheree/what is the NOTE mentioned in the recipe's Hazlenut meal or flour entry?!?
Kristen M. October 17, 2018
Sorry for the confusion, Cooper—to see the full recipe, including the notes, you'll need to click on the "View Recipe" button. I'll also link it here:
Cooper M. October 17, 2018
Where is "Note" mentioned next the recipe's hazelnut flour entry?!?
Thom October 17, 2018
A well done, stylish video. Bonus points that neither of you described the taste or texture using your hands — a pet peeve of mine. :) Kudos to the team who put this together.

However, the title of the article is wrong. It should be, “Two Bowls, One Saucepan and a Cutting Board, Very Genius Chocolate Chip Cookies from 2018’s Buzziest Cookbook.”
Kristen M. October 17, 2018
So glad you dig the video—it was a fun one to shoot. I will make sure the video team sees your kudos! And I hear you on the catalog of equipment—I was going by the spirit of one-bowl cookbooks I've enjoyed, which don't count a small amount of prep equipment like a cutting board (technically, we're dirtying a few measuring spoons and cups, too). But I hope you'll trust me that the point is: This is an extraordinarily easy and streamlined recipe to stir together, almost entirely in one big bowl.
Thom October 17, 2018
Agree. :)