The Best Cookies You Will Ever Taste

Nutella Filled Cookies Nutella Filled Cookies

Chocolate and Hazelnuts. Does it get any better? These two just complement each other perfectly, the sweetness and nuttiness are a marriage made in heaven. The fact that this delicious flavour combination is available in the spreadable form of Nutella is, without doubt, better that sliced bread. I remember the first time I tried Nutella, I was about 6 years old and grocery shopping with my Mum when we were offered a small sample (I love free things, especially food, so I never say no to a sample!). Being  a chocoholic I had devoured mine within seconds and was instantly hooked, luckily my Mum also has a sweet tooth so it didn’t take much persuading to buy to a jar of the incredible stuff. The rest, as they say, is history – Nutella has been a permanent feature in our cupboard since then and a staple food group of one of my younger sisters, Hannah. I’m sure at one point she lived off of Nutella on toast!

As there was no theme for last weekend’s SBC I just couldn’t decide what to bake. Then I remembered some Nutella filled cookies my boyfriend had mentioned (more than once, and pointed out in Starbucks!). I knew immediately that I had to bake these as a little present for him. The result was amazing! I think they have to be the best cookies I have ever eaten and the recipe is another that is pretty quick, easy and doesn’t require anything you probably don’t have in your cupboards. The cookies are soft and chewy and have a wonderful gooey Nutella centre. Alex was extremely happy with this and has polished off about 20 in the past week, luckily for him (and rather enviously for me!) he has an incredibly fast metabolism and the 4 cookies he has been consuming each day won’t have made the slightest difference to his waistline. The recipe I used made a whopping 32 cookies so fortunately I managed to sneak a couple without his knowledge 😉 It also meant that there was a little bit of room for error which was helpful as I slightly over-baked the first batch I cooked. Forgetting that the cookies would continue to cook once I had removed them from the oven,  I thought they looked too soft after 10 minutes so left them in a little longer. This resulted in a more crunchy cookie without a gooey filling. Still delicious though! I urge anyone who likes Nutella in the slightest to try these, you will not be disappointed!

Nutella Filled Cookies

Ingredients

220g unsalted butter, left to soften at room temperature
150 g brown sugar
225g caster sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
440g flour
1 tsp salt
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
250g chocolate chips
1 jar of Nutella (I used about 2/3 of a 400g jar)

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas mark 4 and line a couple of baking trays with baking paper. (I needed 4 trays but only have 2 so had to make 2 batches).

2. Using an electric stand mixer cream the butter and both sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and then the vanilla, mixing well after each addition.

3. Turn the mixer down to a slow speed and add the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda mixing until just incorporated. Finally, add the chocolate chips.

4. Using a heaped tablespoon create balls of dough. Place each ball in your hand and flatten well. Place a teaspoon of Nutella in the centre of the dough and then fold over and pinch together the edges of the dough shaping it around the Nutella.

Nutella Filled Cookies

5. Place on baking trays and bake for about 10 minutes, until lightly golden. The cookies may not look fully cooked after 10 minutes but they will continue to firm up whilst remaining chewy after removing from the oven.

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White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Cookies

White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Cookies

I’m sorry I pretty much disappeared from here! I got back from my holiday to Florida the Sunday before last and life has been pretty hectic since as my boyfriend and I are currently looking at buying a flat. I did manage to squeeze in some baking last weekend but I just haven’t had a chance to write about it.

Florida was amazing! It was my first trip to America and I loved every minute of it, I can’t wait to go back. I think I must have put on about a stone as the food is amazing and the portion sizes are massive. I was having pancakes and chocolate peanut butter muffins for breakfast every day and would top that up with a further 6(!) (buy 3 get 3 free) to takeaway. Definitely appropriately named “mammoth” muffins that were the size of my hand and filled with gooey peanut butter…mmmm! They were amazing. I need to find a recipe to recreate them!

White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Cookies

White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Cookies

Whilst we were away my boyfriend introduced me to white chocolate and macadamia nut cookies. Albeit only from Subway they were delicious nonetheless. They were the perfect cookies, soft and chewy, indulgent, deeply satisfying and extremely moreish! What more could you want!? As last weekend was Valentine’s day the theme for SBC was to bake something you love but I have been trying to be good since overindulging in Florida so instead I decided to bake something for the one I love and he chose these. I used a recipe I found in the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook and just substituted pecans for macadamia nuts. The recipe is really simple and most of the ingredients I already had in my cupboard. They didn’t take very long to prepare nor did they create much washing up which is always a bonus and makes them taste just that extra bit more delicious!

Ingredients

250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
100g caster sugar
200g soft light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
400g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
100g white chocolate, chopped
100g macadamia nuts, chopped

Method

1. Using a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use an electric handheld whisk) cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.

2. Add the eggs one at a time and mix on a medium speed until combined. Scrape down the side sides of the bowl to incorporate any unmixed ingredients. Turn the mixer down to a slow speed and beat in the vanilla extract.

3. Add the flour, salt and baking powder and mix well until a smooth dough is formed. Stir in the chocolate and macadamia nuts until evenly incorporated.

4. Divide the dough in half and place each half onto a separate piece of cling film. Then shape each half into 2 equal rolls measuring 15-18cm in length and wrap the roll in the cling film. (My dough was quite sticky so this was pretty messy!) Place the rolls into the freezer to set for a couple of hours.

5. Once you’re ready to bake the cookies preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan/Gas mark 3. Grease or line a couple of baking trays (you need about 4, I only have two so had to cook in 2 batches.)

6. Remove the cling film and slice the rolls into discs about 2-3cm thick. Place the discs onto the baking trays ensuring they are evenly spaced out to allow for spreading whilst baking.

7. Bake in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, until quite flat and golden brown around the edges. Remove the cookies from the oven and leave to cool slightly before transferring them onto wire wracks to cool completely. The cookies should be soft and chewy…and delicious! 🙂

Chocolate and Caramel Ombre Extravaganza

Chocolate and Caramel Ombre Cake

Truth be told I’ve always been indifferent to caramel, it’s a nice flavour but not one that has ever particularly excited me and therefore I have never been inspired to incorporate it into my baking. As a result, when I discovered last week’s theme for the Sunday Baking Club was caramel, I wasn’t feeling overly enthused. That was until I discovered a recipe for a chocolate and caramel ombre cake! Any recipe that includes chocolate is a winner in my books and eager to use the Wilton’s Easy Layer Cake Pan Set I got for Christmas this was the perfect opportunity to test it out.

This would be a great cake to make for a celebration as ombre cakes look so impressive and are fairly simple to make. I had to alter the recipe slightly from the one I found on the BBC Good Food website as the Wilton layer cake tins are much smaller than a standard cake tin so if you wanted to make this using a larger tin the recipe would have to be doubled and the cakes would need to be cooked for around 20-25 minutes. The cake is really easy to make, the batter is made in two batches, a vanilla batter and a caramel batter, each of these are then separated and cocoa powder is added to half creating the chocolate and caramel chocolate layers. The moist, spongy layers of cake are then sandwiched together with a creamy salted caramel frosting and the entire cake is covered with rich, fudgy, chocolate ganache. Unfortunately I am detoxing before my holiday to Florida next week so will not allow myself to have any, however my boyfriend/chief taster/washer upper (who claims he doesn’t like cake!) was very impressed with the overall result and has assured me that it tastes even better than it looks.

Chocolate and Caramel Ombre Cake

Ingredients

For the chocolate and vanilla layers

115g butter at room temperature
115g caster sugar
115 self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 medium eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
1tbsp cocoa powder

For the caramel and caramel-chocolate layers

115g butter at room temperature
65g caster sugar
50g soft brown sugar
115g self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
2 medium eggs
1 tbsp caramel flavouring
1 tsp cocoa powder

For the salted caramel frosting

125g icing sugar
40g butter at room temperature
1 tbsp whole milk
A couple of drops of salted caramel flavouring

For the chocolate ganache

100g milk chocolate, finely chopped
100g dark chocolate, finely chopped
200ml double cream

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas mark 4 and grease your cake tins.
  2. For the chocolate and vanilla layers combine all ingredients, apart from the cocoa powder, in a large bowl. Mix together using an electric mixer on a medium speed until all the ingredients have combined to form a smooth batter. Scrape half of the batter into one of the tins. Then add the cocoa powder to the remaining batter, mix until fully incorporated and then scrape into another cake tin.
  3. For the caramel and caramel-chocolate layers repeat step two, again leaving the cocoa power out, halving the batter and mixing the cocoa powder into one half. Place all of the tins into the oven and bake for around 18 minutes or until a skewer poked into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  4. Whilst the cakes are in the oven make the chocolate ganache. Place the chopped chocolate in a large heat proof bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over a medium heat until it is simmering, do not let it boil. Remove the pan from the heat and pour over the chopped chocolate, leave for about 5 minutes for the chocolate to soften. After 5 minutes start mixing the chocolate and cream together and stir until all the chocolate has melted. Chill the ganache in the fridge so it firms up.
  5. Once the cakes have finished cooking place onto a cooling rack.
  6. Next make the salted caramel frosting. Using an electric mixer beat the icing sugar and butter together on a medium speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Then add the milk and salted caramel flavouring mixing on a high speed. Continue mixing for about 5 minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy.
  7. Once the sponges are cool spread a third of the frosting over the chocolate sponge and top with the caramel chocolate sponge. Spread over another third of the frosting and top with the Caramel sponge, then the final third of frosting and top with the vanilla sponge. Finally, cover the cake with the chocolate ganache.