My husband walked in on me this morning and I was so embarrassed. There I was, standing at my kitchen counter, in front of the open cupboard, using a spoon to shovel Nutella right out of the container into my mouth. I can’t help myself. I have no self-control. I don’t normally keep Nutella in the house for this very reason, but after years of lusting after the stuff as a straight-up chocolate fix, I have recently discovered that you can cook with it, too, and had to buy a jar.
The recipe that tempted me came from Desserts 1-2-3: Deliciously Simple Three-Ingredient Recipes, by Rozanne Gold—a book that I’ve had for years but rarely used. The recipes in the book all have only three ingredients, which is an undeniably appealing concept for a Lazy Gourmet such as myself. And they all seem very clever, too, although often I wonder if they wouldn’t be just that much better with a few more ingredients added. But the other day, as I flipped through the book for the millionth time, this recipe that I somehow overlooked in previous reads nearly leapt off the page at me: Gianduia Sandwich Cookies. Gianduia is Italian for the chocolate-hazelnut paste commonly sold under the brand name Nutella. Here Nutella is a decidedly smart vehicle for getting the flavors of both chocolate and hazelnut into these rich, crunchy cookies while only using up one of the three allotted ingredient spots.
I was dubious reading the recipe—which calls for nothing more than Nutella, an egg, and cake flour—but I had to give it a try. To my delight, these crispy, creamy-centered treats were both exceptionally easy to make and a huge hit with kids and adults alike. And, try as I might, I honestly couldn’t think of another ingredient that would make them any better. The only problem with them? The recipe calls for one cup of Nutella, which comes in a one and a half cup jar, and, well, you know how this story ends: Me, red-faced as I’m caught standing at my kitchen counter spooning chocolatey, hazelnutty goodness into my mouth with abandon.
- 1 cup Nutella, divided
- 1 extra large egg
- 1 cup self-rising cake flour, plus more for dusting as needed
- Preheat oven to 375ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a medium mixing bowl using a hand-held electric mixer, beat together the egg and ½ cup Nutella until well combined.
- Slowly add the cup of cake flour until a sticky dough is formed.
- Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured board and knead just until it comes together enough to form into balls. Form into 18 to 20 1-inch balls, flouring your hands lightly as you go, if necessary, to keep the dough from sticking.
- Place balls onto prepared baking sheet a couple of inches apart.
- Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes.
- Remove pan from oven and slide the parchment, with the cookies on it, onto a rack to cool. Allow cookies to cool on rack for 12 minutes or so.
- Using a serrated knife, cut a cookie in half horizontally. Spread a heaping teaspoon of Nutella onto the bottom half of the cookie and then replace the top half of the cookie making a sandwich.
- Repeat until all of the cookies have been filled, then allow cookies to cool completely on rack.
- Store in an airtight container on the countertop.