Nik Sharma’s Spicy Chocolate Chip-Hazelnut Cookies

October 17, 2018

Test Kitchen-Approved

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

Makes: 1 dozen cookies
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 15 min


  • 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
In This Recipe


  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).

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Reviews (26) Questions (0)

26 Reviews

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.
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. <br />
Emily A. October 19, 2018
These were amazing! Hazelnut flour is a game changer. These got so many compliments, will be making again!
Kristen M. October 27, 2018
Melissa. M. October 19, 2018
Light or dark Muscovado sugar
Kristen M. October 27, 2018
Hi Melissa, either will work—the dark will just have a stronger flavor.
Brenda S. October 18, 2018
Is there really only 2T butter used in this recipe?
Kristen M. October 18, 2018
Yes, indeed! There's so much inherent moisture and good fat in the other ingredients, you don't need to add much. I'd recommend checking out the video above to see how it comes together.
Brenda S. October 18, 2018
will do - thanks for the response - making these tomorrow for sure!
Lorelei M. October 17, 2018
Soo delicious and easy! I used almond meal and vanilla extract because it’s what I had in the pantry. I’ll definately make these again!
Jr0717 October 18, 2018
You answered my question regarding almond meal - I can't wait to try these this weekend!
C M. October 17, 2018
Question: Can these just be frozen for weeks and then taken out as needed and baked? Or can they not be frozen beyond a few hours?
Kristen M. October 17, 2018
As long as they're wrapped up airtight (both to keep in the precious, volatile aromas in the cookies, and to keep out any from the freezer), I think they could definitely be frozen ahead and baked as needed.
C M. October 20, 2018
Thanks Kristen! I’ll repost after I bake a few that have been frozen beyond a week and post back.