Nutella Thumbprint Cookies are chocolate hazelnut all the way. With a chocolate-hazelnut biscuit base topped with chocolate-hazelnut spread, they are light and crisp & easy to make. Gluten free. Optional dairy free.
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Nutella Thumbprint Cookies – chocolate hazelnut all the way
Nutella Thumbprint Cookies come in many forms. Searching the internet however, few are truly rooted in the Nutella flavour combo of chocolate and hazelnut. A little dollop of Nutella on the top seems to be the norm. Fine for some… but when I make a Nutella thumbprint cookie, it needs to be chocolate-hazelnut all the way.
That doesn’t mean that Nutella has to be the main ingredient (that would possibly be a little too sickly)… But it does mean that the cookies should be a chocolate back-drop, packed full of hazelnuts. And that my lovely readers is what I am giving you in this post. In addition to having a soft, melty dose of Nutella pooled in the middle of each cookie, the famous hazelnut-chocolate flavour combo inspires the whole recipe.
A brief history of Nutella
Love it or hate it, there is nothing that quite matches the chocolate-hazelnut stickiness on the roof of your mouth, or the creamy melty distinctly-flavoured experience that is eating Nutella. Some of us were pretty much raised on the stuff… It has been around a long time.
A little trip through the history of Nutella, tells us that
- It was first ‘discovered’ in 1946 as a way to make cocoa go further following World War 2. An Italian pastry maker made a hazelnut paste which was added to a small amount of rare cocoa to serve with bread.
- By 1951, this clever discovery had started to develop into Nutella as we know it. Although still without its trade mark name, the chocolate-hazelnut mix had become more creamy and spreadable.
- By 1965 it was being served up in the distinctive jars that we know and love. It was also spreading rapidly across Europe, developing an ever-growing fan club as it went.
- 1977 saw it reach Australian shores. From here, it moved into global success…
- By 2009, Nutella was available in over 150 countries.
- Sadly, in 2017, Nutella changed its recipe on the quiet. This unsurprisingly angered its many fans. Adding more skimmed milk powder, the new version of Nutella also had less cocoa, more sugar and slightly less fat. This revelation (along with the scary amount of palm oil used in their recipe) prompted me to make my own healthier home-made chocolate hazelnut spread (which you may prefer to use for the Nutella Thumbprint Cookies recipe).
Chocolate Nutella Cookies to use up egg whites
Development of my recipe for Nutella Thumbprint Cookies was originally motivated by the need to use up some egg whites that were languishing in the fridge. Thus, the base of these cookies is made using a meringue-type mixture, which when baked, is amazingly crisp and light.
Let’s face it, we all need a few recipes that use up excess egg whites… I have no idea where they all come from, but there always seem to be a couple looking to be used. These chocolate hazelnut cookies make a delicious change from the usual egg-white options of meringues and macaron. Although we also have plenty of other unusual egg white recipes on Gluten Free Alchemist. Favourites include proper white Angel Food Cake (adored at Christmas), a trio of Nutty Cookie Bites, some particularly divine Chocolate Espresso Puddle Cookies, our Soft Italian Amaretti Cookies and delightful Orange & Raspberry Friands. Or try Lemon and Blueberry Friands instead!
Hazelnut tips for Nutella Thumbprint Cookies
If you can, it’s definitely worth grinding your own hazelnuts to make Nutella Thumbprint Cookies. Home-ground nuts are much fresher, more intense as a result and loads cheaper than buying them ready ground.
Buy a big bag from one of the many health or wholefood stores like Buy Wholefoods On-Line and grind them by weight as you need them. Just be careful not to over-grind or you will end up with hazelnut butter… Wonderful though it is, it won’t work for these cookies. But if you do grind too far, you can always make some yummy chocolate & hazelnut butter cookies instead.
Can I make Nutella Thumbprint Cookies Dairy Free?
Absolutely yes! If you can’t eat Nutella because you have to avoid dairy, just substitute the filling for a spread that you can eat… Or make your own chocolate hazelnut spread using dairy free or plain chocolate. Other than the Nutella, this recipe for Nutella Thumbprint Cookies is completely dairy free.
I’m not gluten free. Can I make these cookie with ‘normal’ flour?
Yes. You can do this too. The amount of flour used is so minimal, it really doesn’t matter what type you use. Just make sure it is mild in flavour so that it doesn’t interfere with the depth flavour of chocolate hazelnut.
Made Nutella Thumbprint Cookies?
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Other Nutella Recipes on the blog…
Nutella Thumbprint Cookies
- 1 large egg white UK large
- 100 g soft light brown sugar or golden caster sugar if preferred
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- 150 g skinned ground hazelnuts (grind to a coarse grain)
- 1 tbsp plain flour gluten free as needed
- 3 tbsp Nutella (or alternative chocolate hazelnut spread) approx amount (DF if required)
- 2 tbsp chopped roasted hazelnuts to decorate
- Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C /350 F/Gas 4.
- In a large bowl, whisk the egg white with the sugar until very thick and pale.
- Add the cocoa and salt and whisk again.
- Fold in the ground hazelnuts and flour. You should now have a thick, sticky dough-paste.
- Scoop the dough into small, even, rounded piles on the baking sheet, leaving a gap between each, or roll into small even balls with your hands.
- Press a good indent into the centre of each ball using your thumb or fingers.
- Fill each indent with a small spoonful of Nutella and sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts.
- Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until the outer case is dry and crisp.
- Turn off the oven and open the door to cool slightly for a minute.
- For the crispest biscuits, leave them in the oven and allow to cool with the cooling of the oven.
- When they have cooled enough to feel crisp underneath, remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack.
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