Happy Friday my loves! And oh what a happy Friday it is with these Brown Butter Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars. Like um HELLO. A thick brown butter chocolate chip cookie with fat swirls of Nutella, hunks of semisweet chocolate and lightly toasted hazelnuts make up this show stopping salty sweet cookie bar.
I brought these bad boys over to a small dinner party at a friends house and the whole pan was literally inhaled in under ten minutes. The combination of the brown butter, crunch of the hazelnuts, familiar taste of Nutella and chewy cookie base are to die for, not to mention that I LOVE bars and how easy they come together.
What is brown butter?
Brown butter is just regular butter that you essentially “toast” the milk solids in. It’s called brown butter, because it turns, well, brown. Duh. It develops a beautiful nutty, toasty caramel taste that just makes you want to drink it.
No? Just me. K cool.
How to make brown butter:
If you haven’t had brown butter yet, you MUST try it. Browning your butter gives it an amazing, complexity that enhances so many recipes, including these Nutella cookie bars.
Start by melting your butter over medium heat in a small sauce pan.
Whisk the butter constantly as it melts to ensure it’s evenly heated. As it melts the butter will start to foam. This is the sweet point between boiling the butter (NOT what you want) and not hot enough.
Keep a close eye on the butter. Like DO NOT WALK AWAY. As it transitions from it’s usual yellow color to a deeper golden hue and at last to a beautiful light brown. You’ll know it’s done by the smell: a toasted nutty, intoxicating scent. It can very quickly go from this light brown to burnt, so make sure you take it off the heat as soon as it makes the turn.
Take it off the heat and transfer to a bowl to allow it to cool before using in your recipe.
How to peel hazelnuts easily:
If you’re thinking, oh but do I reallllly have to blanch them? Yes, yes you do. The skins on hazelnuts gets super bitter when baked. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life or these Nutella cookie bars.
Generally there are two ways to peel hazelnuts and I would definitely recommend the second. The first way involves roasting the hazelnuts, then placing the piping hot hazelnuts in a dishtowel to steam and then aggressively rubbing the skins off. Would def not recommend. I lost many hazelnuts to the kitchen floor and also mildly burned my hands so like…no. Just don’t do it.
For every half cup of hazelnuts, boil a cup of water. Once the water comes to a boil, add a teaspoon of baking soda and the hazelnuts. Boil for 2 – 3 minutes or until the water turns dark brown/red from the skins. You can test if the hazelnuts are done by running one nut under cold water. The skin should just slide right off. If it doesn’t boil for another 30 seconds and try again. Simply wash and drain your hazelnuts and voilà: blanched hazelnuts.
If you’re looking for a decadent crowd pleaser this weekend, whip up these Brown Butter Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars. Be back soon with a new post on Sunday!
7.5 0unces Nutella (about a half a standard size jar)
coarse sea salt for sprinkling (optional, but delicious)
Preheat oven to 3750 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the blanched and chopped hazelnuts spread out on the sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes or until they are just a light golden brown. Set aside to cool.
Lower the oven temperature to 3500F and line a eight by eight square pan with parchment paper and set aside.
Brown the butter over medium heat, stirring constantly until the butter begins to foam and turns a golden brown, emitting a nutty aroma. Take butter off the heat and allow to cool.
In a large mixing bowl combine the cooled brown butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat until mixed together. Add in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract. Mix well.
In separate bowl mix together the flour, salt and baking soda. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet until everything comes together. Fold in the chocolate chunks and chopped hazelnuts until incorporated.
Place half of the cookie dough in the pan, pressing down to create an even bottom layer.
Spoon a thick layer of Nutella on top of the dough (we used about a half a jar). Take the remaining cookie dough and drop heaping tablespoons of dough on top of the Nutella.
Flatten out slightly with your palm. There should still be Nutella showing through; this will create your swirls.
Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until the edges are golden brown, but the middle is still gooey. Sprinkle with sea salt and allow to cool. Cut into 9 squares and serve with a glass of milk.
Keywords: chocolate, chocolate chip, nutella, brown butter, chocolate chunk