Big Little Recipes

3-Ingredient Nutella Brownie Cookies. Need We Say More?

Okay, okay—they're one-bowl, too!

January  8, 2019

A Big Little Recipe has the smallest-possible ingredient list and big, BIG everything else: flavor, ideas, holy-cow factor. Psst: We don't count water, salt, pepper, and certain fats (say, olive oil to dress greens or sauté onions), since we're guessing you have those covered. Today, we’re cookie-fying brownies, or brownie-fying cookies. You’ll see.


I know it’s the start of the year and I should be talking about dry January, exercise resolutions, or salads. But what I really want to talk about is Nutella.

You know, that chocolate-hazelnut spread you’re supposed to smear on toast, but really just eat out of the jar with a spoon? Though this is its first appearance in the column (what took me so long?), Nutella is a picture-perfect Big Little ingredient: one item, tons of flavor, and even more baking potential.

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Take these two internet-famous Nutella recipes. They both use three ingredients and the same three ingredients at that—Nutella, flour, and eggs. But the quantities and methods are different, yielding two distinct results:

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Top Comment:
“It pained me a little to stir flour into Nutella but the end result was amazing. I didn’t follow your advice to bake a test cookie because to wait another 7 minutes for these gems would have been 6 minutes too long. There is a grocery outlet near me that occasionally has large jars of Nutella at a great price. The next time I see them I’ll bring home three instead of two jars thanks to this recipe! ”
— Ty R.
Comment

1. Cookies. 1 cup Nutella, 1 cup flour, 1 large egg. As seen on blogs like Kirbie’s Cravings in 2011 (“basically like dipping your spoon into a jar of nutella, but having it in a cookie form”) and Bigger Bolder Baking last year.

2. Brownies. 1 ¼ cups Nutella, ½ cup flour, 2 large eggs. This also shows up on many blogs, plus big names like Epicurious, where Molly Baz thankfully adds ¼ teaspoon salt.

Now about those ratios. To simplify things, let’s just say they use the same-ish amount of Nutella. In that case, the cookies use twice the amount of flour and half the amount of eggs. Pretty significant, right? But what does it mean?

As Shirley O. Corriher writes in her James Beard Award winning–book BakeWise: “Eggs and flour are the two proteins that hold cookies together.” So if you lower or lose the eggs, the flour becomes even more important, and if you lower or lose the flour, the eggs become even more important.

Not pictured: me licking the spoon. Photo by Bobbi Lin

Since typical three-ingredient Nutella cookies use so much flour and so little egg (sort of like shortbread), they take on a cakey, crumbly texture. Whereas typical three-ingredient Nutella brownies use so little flour and more eggs to achieve that fudgy, gooey brownie-like center.

All of which got me thinking: What if I don’t want a cakey, crumbly Nutella cookie? What if I want one that’s got a crackly shell and fudgy center? What if I want a cookie that thinks it’s a brownie (or a brownie that thinks it’s a cookie)?

Just swap the quantities and method.

In other words, take the Nutella brownie ratio and apply a cookie technique—dropping the droopy batter onto a sheet tray, in blobs, and baking until the egg sets the batter juuuust enough.

How much is just enough is a personal question, really. You could bake them for seven minutes or eight or nine. To find out which you like best, do what I do with just about any cookie recipe:

Bake one cookie (yep, just one), let it cool a bit, taste it, then bake the rest accordingly. I could act all authoritative and tell you that one amount of time is the best. But it’s your cookie brownie, and your opinion matters most.

Have you ever made either the three-ingredient Nutella cookies or brownies? What’d you think? Tell us in the comments below.

16 Comments

Ty R. January 14, 2019
Thank you. Thank You! THANK YOU! Not only for the recipe but for giving me a place to admit that I eat Nutella right from the jar. There I said it! It pained me a little to stir flour into Nutella but the end result was amazing. I didn’t follow your advice to bake a test cookie because to wait another 7 minutes for these gems would have been 6 minutes too long. There is a grocery outlet near me that occasionally has large jars of Nutella at a great price. The next time I see them I’ll bring home three instead of two jars thanks to this recipe!
 
Author Comment
Emma L. January 14, 2019
Hear hear to eating Nutella right from the jar! So glad you enjoyed the recipe.
 
Shey January 12, 2019
I made these cookies exactly as the recipe states and weighed it. Loved the soft texture and crisp top. A nice, simple sweet treat with Nutella deliciousness.
 
Author Comment
Emma L. January 14, 2019
Thanks, Shey!
 
Kelly S. January 10, 2019
Can you use almond flour or coconut flour to cut the carbs? If so how much would you use?
 
Author Comment
Emma L. January 11, 2019
Hi Kelly! I haven't tested this with other flours, so unfortunately I can't say for sure how the cookies would turn out. If you give it a try, let me know how it goes!
 
Michelle January 10, 2019
Thanks so much for this, it’s on the mother-daughter list for today. I do have a baking question though. Your explanation of baking times and subsequent textures makes perfect sense yet when I looked up the other two recipes the cookie one calls for 7-8 minutes at 350 while the brownie one states 15-18 at the same temperature. Have you tried these, do they work? I’m just a bit confused. 🙂
 
Author Comment
Emma L. January 10, 2019
Hi Michelle! The full baking instructions for the cookies I developed are on this recipe page: https://food52.com/recipes/78504-3-ingredient-nutella-brownie-cookies. So, they're baked at 350°F for 7 to 9 minutes. Hope this helps!
 
Molly F. January 10, 2019
Looking forward to trying this recipe, but I have a quick question. Where did that cool board come from?
 
ChefJoAnna January 10, 2019
Any thought on how these would work with a gluten-free flour?
 
Author Comment
Emma L. January 10, 2019
Hi! Since the flour is one of only three ingredients, I imagine there would be a pretty noticeable textural difference. Your best bet is probably an all-purpose gluten-free blend. If you give it a try, let me know how it goes!
 
Anna January 9, 2019
I made these about 12 years ago using a recipe from an old cookbook called Desserts 1-2-3. The recipe is different in that it calls for 1 egg, 1 cup of Nutella and 1 cup of self-rising cake flour such as White Lily. If you don't have White Lily you can mix 1 cup of cake flour with 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and about 1 teaspoon of salt. Also, in the original recipe the author splits the cookies horizontally and fills them with more Nutella so they are sandwich cookies.
 
Author Comment
Emma L. January 9, 2019
Hi Anna! Thanks for sharing this—so interesting to hear about another version of the recipe, especially with self-rising flour. At the office, we enjoyed sandwiching these with Nutella, too—but because they're so thin and fudgy, we used two cookies per sandwich!
 
Anna January 9, 2019
I'll give this version a try too! They sound delicious. Thanks for including weights because it's so much easier to weigh the Nutella than measure with a cup.
 
Pumpkinbuns January 8, 2019
I just tried this recipe...not impressed. i doubled it so I could try varying times, temps, size, etc. I initially started with my typical cookie scoop, 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. But they had a weird texture (kinda crumbly). Even though i tried several variations from this, i never achieved a good cookie :/
 
Author Comment
Emma L. January 9, 2019
Hi! So sorry to hear that they didn’t turn out as you hoped—and am curious about the crumbly texture you described, since the dough is so wet. Did you measure the flour by volume or weight? It sounds like there could've been too much flour by weight in the batter.