Nik Sharma’s Spicy Chocolate Chip–Hazelnut Cookies

October 17, 2018
20 Ratings
Photo by Jenny Huang
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Makes 1 dozen cookies
Author Notes

This recipe began with Nik 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. Adapted slightly from Season (Chronicle, October 2018). —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Nik Sharma’s Spicy Chocolate Chip–Hazelnut Cookies
  • 2 cups (165g) hazelnut meal or flour (see note below)
  • 1 cup (200g) packed jaggery or muscovado sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (see note below)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon hazelnut extract or vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (75g) chopped bittersweet chocolate (70%)
  • 1/3 cup (55g) chopped crystallized ginger
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the hazelnut meal, jaggery, baking powder, baking soda, black pepper, and salt. Add the egg, melted butter, hazelnut extract, chocolate, and ginger and stir with a large wooden spoon until the dough comes together. Grease your hands with a little oil to prevent the dough from sticking. Divide the dough into twelve equal parts and shape them into balls. Flatten them into 2 inch (5cm) rounds. Place the rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Wrap the entire baking sheet tightly in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for at least 10 minutes, and preferably 2 hours.
  2. To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the baking sheet from the freezer and put half the rounds of dough on the second sheet. Spread out the rounds on both baking sheets and refrigerate one of them. Bake one batch of cookies at a time until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
  3. Notes: Hazelnut flour varies in coarseness—if your flour is on the finer side, you will end up with taller, pudgier cookies, but they will still be delicious. If you can't find hazelnut flour, almond flour is a good substitute, or you can grind your own in the food processor. If you'd like a spicier cookie, double the black pepper (or for a milder cookie, decrease the pepper).

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Yiannis Psaroudis
    Yiannis Psaroudis
  • Clara Cohen
    Clara Cohen
  • samanthaalison
  • caroberts77
  • Laura Laser
    Laura Laser
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

48 Reviews

Yiannis P. March 25, 2022
I’ve made these cookies twice now—had leftover ingredients from the first batch, so why not 🤷🏻‍♂️🤣😂—& I like them quite a lot. While I am not gluten-free, I appreciate that they are; it was my first time using hazelnut flour & it went well. The recipe comes together simply & quickly, & they come out very impressive-looking & delicious. My only criticism of the recipe is that “ Bake one batch of cookies at a time until golden brown” is entirely useless when the cookies are nearly black in raw form (because I’d the chocolate), but follow the suggested baking time & you should be fine. They come out pretty soft so I let them cook a little on the tray, first, before transferring to racks.
John April 11, 2022
And here's the thing. Into my 14th or 15th batch since i discovered this recipe, I added about 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom and about half a cup of toasted, cracked hazel nuts. From sublime to ... whatever comes next!
Yiannis P. April 11, 2022
Oooooh, Brotha…you had me at cardamom.
sicktastic December 3, 2022
I want to bake with John and Yiannis!
Clara C. December 23, 2021
These are killer! The texture is fantastic and they are so amazing warm! I do want to try them again with more pepper though as I could barely feel it and think it would be great to!
Yiannis P. March 25, 2022
💯 I doubled it, the second time around, for the same reason.
Amy February 10, 2021
Anyone have a good source for jaggery?
kaeli February 10, 2021
John April 11, 2022
You might look for an Indian grocery store in your area. We have one fairly nearby and, for comparison purposes, a 1 lb container of Udupi Jaggery powder there costs $2.65. On Amazon, the exact same item will cost $8 to $10 - plus shipping. (It does make a difference in the taste, though, and you will be glad you used it.)
Clementine January 24, 2021
These cookies have been a great addition to my holiday baking list - they're gluten-free so I can gift them to so many more people. It can be hard to find jaggery and hazelnut extract but if you are in NYC try Kalustyan's. I made my own hazelnut flour by grinding whole hazelnuts in a blender.
samanthaalison January 4, 2021
These were good! I used Bob's Red Mill hazelnut flour but had to sub in dark brown sugar since I didn't have jaggery or muscovado. I measured everything by weight. They spread quite a bit - I had been skeptical that they really needed to be split up in two sheets but glad I heeded the recipe. I'd be curious to try them with the correct sugar, and I think I'd increase the ginger just a bit.
Tracy December 30, 2019
I LOVE these cookies! Naturally and deliciously gluten free and with so much flavor, I make them more than any other cookie. The first time I made them, I totally over cooked them. The recipe says “cook until golden brown” but mine started off so dark that golden brown was not an option. Now I bake them for about 15 minutes and pull them out of the oven while they are still a bit soft. Amazing.
caroberts77 September 17, 2019
I made these for a chocolate themed social hour at work. I have a co-worker who is sensitive to gluten, so I wanted to make something she could have. I made the recipe almost exactly as written, I couldn't find muscovado sugar and had to use brown sugar instead. I don't know if this had anything to do with why they didn't turn out as described, but I'm guessing it is possible. The flavor was great, everyone loved them and there were none left. Mine just didn't spread at all. I did the first batch in just the round balls I had frozen them as and they stayed that shape. I took the remaining cookies and gently flattened them a bit with my hands before baking. Will definitely make again. Wasn't so sure about the combination of the flavors, but they really worked together. I kind of want to try adding in some cardamom or something.
Laura L. September 13, 2019
Terrible recipe as written. Opened my oven to find one big cookie sheet of burnt pancake cookie.
Jin July 30, 2019
Dough balls not couch balls! Lol
Jin July 30, 2019
Loved these cookies! My family could even go higher on the pepper. Instead of freezing on a cookie sheet, I used a cookie scoop and froze the couch balls in a plastic container. Then I can bake as needed.

I baked from frozen without flattening. They turned out perfect. Chewy with crisp edges. Not crumbly in the least.
Taruni K. April 8, 2019
I tried these, but I substituted almond flour for the hazelnut flour and used white chocolate chips because that’s what I had on hand. They tasted great!! The only issue was the texture was a little crumbly, and some of the jaggery melted out — but that made this lovely caramelized crackly crust so I would call that a happy accident. I might try baking them for a little less time when I make these again.
Amy P. March 6, 2019
I've made these three times now, the last time with coconut oil instead of butter for a dairy-free friend. I found those spread more and baked faster despite being baked from frozen, so keep an eye on them if you're using coconut oil (or maybe it was the fresher hazelnuts that I had ground?). At first I found these odd but decent, and now I find them addictive! I 1.5x the black pepper because that sweet/spicy combo is just so good.
kaeli March 6, 2019
Ok, these are excellent - but "adapted slightly?" I have Season, and this recipe appears to be exactly the same in every possible way - Why not say, Recipe from Season by Nik Sharma?
Sharon June 3, 2019
I’m thinking about making them for a party Saturday afternoon. Are they soft and chewy or crispy. They sound good. What did you like about them
Alex December 4, 2018
Delicious, delicate cookies. Fast and easy. A little pricey because of the hazelnut flour, but worth it to me.
Natash M. December 1, 2018
I veganized these and they turned out awesome! Also, I really just wanted that Nutella flavor to shine, so I skipped the ginger and pepper. So delicious!
Samantha November 21, 2018
Oh my, what a lovely gluten-free dairy-free cookie! I made mine much smaller, my yield was 28 pieces instead of 12- I like a smaller cookie- and they came out wonderful. Froze them for 36 hours, baked up nicely. Next time I will add more salt, to bring out more of the Nutella flavor, but this cookie is a winner. A real treat for those who don't eat wheat or dairy. The texture is just like a regular chocolate chip cookie!
ozbaker November 26, 2018
These aren't dairy-free as they contain butter. You could substitute it with vegan butter for dairy-free.
Susan S. October 24, 2018
These look delicious and I found an organic hazelnut extract today! Question...have you tried these without the ginger and if so, how do they compare in flavor and texture?
Kristen M. October 27, 2018
I haven't tried skipping the ginger and I love the spice and chew it adds, but I think the cookies would still be delicious without. Let us know if you try!
bhilz October 23, 2018
I made these the other day and am obsessed! I forgot to add any extract and used dark brown sugar instead of jaggery/muscovado since I had it on hand, and they were delicious!! I used Bob's Red Mill's finely ground hazelnut meal/flour and froze the shaped dough for about 5 hours. They baked up in about 15 min with excellent shape and texture. Might add toasted pecans next time (reducing chocolate and ginger a little) to take the nuttiness to the extreme. Which would make them even easier to justify as breakfast cookies...
Kristen M. October 27, 2018
LOVE the pecans idea.
janki October 21, 2018
I made these this past weekend and froze them for a couple days before baking. While they taste excellent, my cookies spread enourmously and became as large and flat as pancakes. I’m wondering if it was the jaggery that I used? I’m based in Bombay and I use a very dark colored jaggery for my cooking/eating so that’s what I used in the cookie. Perhaps Nik Sharma could clarify what color jaggery he uses and if that affects how the cookies will behave? Because I followed the recipe exactly, by weight measurement, but my cookies don’t look like his!
Kristen M. October 27, 2018
Hi Janki—the jaggery could have an impact, but maybe more so the coarseness of the hazelnut flour. I've seen a lot of variation in the spread of the cookies, depending on how coarse or fine the flour is (which varies a lot! but they're always good).
Simon L. November 17, 2018
I had the same problem - I had made my own hazelnut flour in a food processor, and it was pretty coarse. The second time, I used half hazelnut flour and half normal wheat flour. The cookies turned out great!
Mallory December 9, 2018
I used jaggery and bobs red mill hazelnut flour which I measured by weight. They spread so much! Flavor great but big flat pancakes.
Laura L. September 13, 2019
Had the same experience. Opened the oven to find a flat pancake cookie sheet. For second batch added one cup of almond flour. Much better. The recipe as stated just simply does not work and after spending so much money on ingredients it was a major fail.
John April 11, 2022
What a surprise. I followed the recipe exactly, by weight, and have ade the cookie at least 15 times with never a problem.
Lydia L. October 20, 2018
I'm looking for good hazelnut extract recommendations. Is there a brand out there that is real hazelnut? All I have found are artificially flavored.
Susan S. October 24, 2018
I finally found one at my local specialty market. The brand is flavorganics and it's organic/non-gmo, gluten-free.