Chocolate Hazelnut Crack Ups

October 19, 2009
12 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 2 dozen 1-inch sized cookies
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

Test Kitchen Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • 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).
Contest Entries

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  • Laura415

60 Reviews

Ben E. December 19, 2020
I was nervous about all the people who said they turned out like pancakes - but I tried these today and they worked.

Here are my notes:
The batter sounded like a meringue, so I beat the egg + 1 extra egg white until they were a bit frothy and then didn't refrigerate (you can't refrigerate meringue batter). I added 1/8 C. flour and reduced the sugar by 1/4 C.

I think you could get away without using the flour. My peanut butter was salted, so I shouldn't have added the salt. I wish I had had added one more T. of cocoa powder.

My first tray I took out at 8 min and those are pretty liquidy inside even after cooling. I think 10-12 min is a better amount of time to cook them. I also let them cool on the baking sheet for about 5 min until I slid the parchment off and onto a rack to cool.
Gwynnie November 18, 2019
Made these tonight with the suggested roll in salty panko; they were so delicious just out of the oven! Definitely will make these again and try the panko trick with other cookie recipes :)
Liz October 29, 2019
I had some homemade chocolate pecan butter, so I used that instead of nutella. Subbed cashew butter for peanut bc of an allergy. Added 1/4 cup oat flour for structure. Rolled in cinnamon sugar before baking bc the pecan butter had significantly less sugar than nutella. Baked about 11 minutes...perfectly cracked, chewy cookies reminiscent of peanut butter cookies but way more complex.
Erin July 12, 2019
Followed recipe exactly. Turned out as shown. Nice chocolate peanut butter flavor but very sugary - gives them a wonderfully unusual sugar crunch-chewy melt away texture.
Jo June 25, 2019
Shouldn't there be flour or nut flour in this recipe to give it body? This must be a printing error.
nadiam57 December 7, 2017
Wonder if it would be alright to use only Nutella and no peanutbutter...more hazelnut flavor...can you taste the peanutbutter? Plus I have a relative with a peanut allergy.
Kielty G. June 27, 2017
Delicious and turned out great! I made this using Trader Joe's version of Nutella - Cocoa Almond Spread, and 1/4 gluten free flour. Will definitely make again. They also had that cracked look, similar to the photo.
ustabahippie June 27, 2017
Where did you find Trader Joe's version of Nutella? I haven't seen that in any TJs in years!!
Christina December 18, 2016
I followed the recipe to a T, but when I checked on them after the suggested 8 minutes in the oven they were completely flattened but completely liquid to the touch. I left them in nearly double the time and they never firmed up at all, just continued to flatten more and more. There were a few aspects of this recipe that seemed surprising to me, so I probably should have followed my gut and skipped this one. Very disappointing disaster.
Jo June 25, 2019
I think they forgot to list the flour in this recipe. No way this current recipe could stay together in the oven.
Gabriela October 30, 2016
Instead of Nutella, I used higher quality Nocciolata (healthier, sunflower oil instead of palm oil) - found at Whole Foods. The cookies came out with great flavor, but flat. I will try adding flour next time.
Gabriela October 30, 2016
By the way, Alice y, you mention below that the photo is from Food52, do you mean that it is not from this recipe? That would be misleading. I'd appreciate clarification on this point. Thanks!
judy July 30, 2016
These look wonderful. I am not a fan of the American version of Nutella. the recipe is so different from the original version that came across the pond, that i no longer use the product. VERy sad--because i used toe at it by the spoonful from the jar.
sticksnscones June 16, 2016
I added about 1/3 cup ground almond meal to the batter & let it sit in the fridge overnight. They puffed up, then flattened out when removed from the oven. They are very sweet but very tasty!!!
Laura415 February 16, 2016
Not sure I will risk this unconventional cookie recipe based on the comments. I would consider using 1/4 cup of butter and 1/2 cup almond butter and then adding up to 1/2 cup of the combo of cocoa powder and almond flour to beef up the batter a bit. For the chocolate I would just chop dark chocolate and add to the batter(maybe melt it but really no need). All these variations would reduce the fat (therefore the spreading) and add more dry to make them spread a bit less but still have the basic nut/chocolate flavors. It just seems like a weird cookie recipe proportion and ingredient-wise to work well for everyone.
david E. December 18, 2015
Though I love the flavor, I don't eat Nutella because of the artery clogging and dangerous Palm oil it contains. This is NOT an acceptable product.What is with all you bakers out there? Or is it me? I have ditched Lindor truffles for the same reason. Cheaper adulterated ingredients to extend shelf life and stability at room temperature. Sorry to be a downer but I am annoyed that I can't find a good hazlenut butter out there.
pmporter February 12, 2016
Please don't disparage all bakers. I make my own, using pure hazelnut paste, semi-sweet chocolate, butter and heavy cream. The jarred stuff is just too sweet and wrong.
Kitchen F. July 9, 2016
Palm oil is very safe to eat David e. samara. Pacific Islanders DO NOT suffer from any of the diseases we westerners do. Read the Coconut Oil Miracle book by Bruce Fife to learn the FACTS about saturated fats. Doctors are now beginning to realize that saturated fats are part of a good, healthy diet and do not cause heart disease. It was all a smear campaign by the soy bean oil industry to get their product used instead of butter and other saturated fats. Read the book and open your eyes.
judy July 30, 2016
Palm oil per se is not a problem. It is the fractionated version that is used in American products that is the problem.
Sarah December 12, 2015
Mine did not turn out like the picture. They were very flat and quite crisp.... and rather tasty. I think they would be great stuck in a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
Shane B. December 3, 2015
I substituted almond butter and added some flour to thicken the dough and let it sit in the fridge for bit before coming and baking the cookies. They turned out excellent, and were a huge hit at the holiday party.
Stephanie C. November 29, 2015
I read the comments before baking and noticed how some people's cookies did not turn out. I made the batter then put it in the fridge to set up a bit. Unfortunately mine did not turn out either- just completely flattened. I wonder why it doesn't work sometimes. Maybe different fat content in nutella? Anyway, I salvaged the rest by working in some baking powder and flour. They now work and are delicious. I am still curious as to how some people had success with these while others did not.
Sara W. December 19, 2015
how much flour did you add?
allison969 December 17, 2016
Hi Stephanie, as previous commenter asked, can you say how much (approximately) flour and baking powder you added? My dough seemed too "loose" so I added 1 tablespoon extra cocoa powder, but my cookies still spread like crazy. (I also experimented with the size of the balls and chilled the dough.) They were still chewy and delicious, but I'd like to see them just slightly thicker. I've had amazing success with another very similar recipe (from ambitious kitchen blog), but they are really, really sweet and a tad "greasy" from the large proportion of Nutella in them. I was hoping the peanut butter (I used almond butter) would tone down "the sweet" a bit. I'm going to give these another try but would be grateful to benefit from your past experience.
Elizabeth A. February 16, 2015
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.
ustabahippie February 19, 2015
I've been trying grain-free baking mix by using ground nuts, coconut flour, flaxseed meal. Might be good with hazelnuts.
Lorealle B. January 15, 2015
Just made these this afternoon- so easy and so ridiculously good. Used a bit of brown instead of granulated sugar.
Laura January 11, 2015
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.
ustabahippie January 10, 2015
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!!
Stephanie C. November 29, 2015
yeah I am puzzled by how some people had great success while others did not. So strange
allison969 December 17, 2016
Tru dat @ustabahippie!