Nutella Thumbprint Cookies

Every now and then life just gets so good that all attempts to put words to your joy just seem completely futile.  This is where you find me today.  Rather speechless and feeling like it can't just be my vocabulary that is so lacking, but possibly language in its entirety that is just beyond my reach.

Oh, it's not the thumbprint cookies that have me so enraptured, although they were oh so incredible. No, the object of my joy right now is this...

We drove 8 hours in the night to be there for little Emmett John's arrival and got there just minutes after he was born.  I am still here with my son and daughter-in-law doing what every Grandma dreams of with a newborn in her arms.  By now I have learned how preciously fleeting these first few days and weeks of life are and am savoring each moment, holding on to this time with some kind of fierce grandma tenacity.

Interwoven into my grand-maternal inclination is the need to feed and nourish, and so it is that much of my time here has been spent happily cooking and feeding, which brings me back 'round to these scrumptiously amazing Nutella thumbprint cookies.

And once again, a big shout out to cousin Katie and nephew Eric who are the genius behind this one. It's been on my mind to make these ever since she brought up the idea, and they seemed like a perfect way to celebrate little Emmett's arrival.

The recipe begins with a basic thumbprint cookie, which traditionally gets rolled in chopped walnuts.  I thought that since we were going to top these with Nutella instead of jam, it might be fun to roll them in chopped hazelnuts instead.

 

Well, you probably don't need me to tell you how good these were, because, I mean, how could they not be?  But, yes, they were quite scrumptious and a lovely little celebratory treat for those of us spending our nights and days hovering and feeding and cooing and completely overcome with love and wonder at this tiny little guy who carries within him little bits of each of us.

I'm going to get back to snuggling, and then I think I'll have a cookie. Here's the recipe...

Nutella Thumbprint Cookies

Click here for a printable recipe

Because Nutella is not quite as sweet as jam, these are not super sweet cookies.  That may be one reason we loved them so much.  But if you like yours a little sweeter, just add 2 or 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar to the nutella.  

Adapted from a recipe by Joy of Baking
 
Makes about 20 cookies
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons Unsalted butter, room, temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, separated
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup toasted hazelnuts
1/2 cup Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread (store-bought or homemade)
Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast in a 375 degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until golden brown and fragrant.  When they've cooled, place them in a food processor and process until finely chopped.  You can also do this by hand; just be sure to get them chopped pretty fine.  Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the flour mixture to the batter and beat just until combined. If the batter is too soft to roll into balls, refrigerate for about 30-60 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy. Place the finely chopped nuts on a plate. Roll the dough into 1 inch (2.5 cm) balls. Taking one ball of dough at a time, dip first into the egg white and then lightly roll in the nuts. Place on the prepared baking sheet spacing about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Using your thumb or end of a wooden spoon, make an indentation into the center of each cookie.

Bake for about 12 -15 minutes, or until cookies are set and the nuts have nicely browned. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. (if the thumbprints have puffed up during baking, use your thumb to press them back in before they cool).

Place the Nutella in a small ziplock bag and snip off a tiny corner end.  Squeeze a teaspoon or two of the Nutella into each cookie.  Enjoy!