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.

Muffin Top

Banana and Pecan Nut Muffins

Before I visited Florida I didn’t like pancakes. Everyone thought I was crazy but I just couldn’t get my head around putting lemon and sugar or chocolate spread on something made with the same batter as Yorkshire Puddings. Yuck! This all changed whilst I was on holiday. As you may know/have seen on TV, pancakes are a major breakfast staple across the pond. Almost every meal, on every menu, in every establishment I visited came with a side order of pancakes. Everyday our breakfast table would be covered with stacks of them – golden, fluffy and smothered in butter and maple syrup. Nothing like the crepe style pancakes I’m used to seeing at home on Shrove Tuesday. When my boyfriend suggested I try one I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious they were! I was even more pleasantly surprised to find ‘Banana Pecan Pancakes’ on the menu and in the healthy section (albeit “healthy” in American Diners tends to means around a whopping 750 or so calories (which may explain the muffin top I now have!)). The contrast between the fluffy pancake and the crunchy nuts scattered throughout just added to the deliciousness of them.

Upon discovering that the theme for last week’s SBC was ‘Favourite Pancake Topping’, I immediately knew my bake had to be banana and pecan flavoured. I did a little research and found a recipe online for banana and pecan nut muffins. As any baking fanatic will know, Mary Berry, the queen of baking, ALWAYS says to read the recipe twice. We all know this. Did I remember this key point before baking these muffins? No, I forgot. I did think a tablespoon and a half of salt was quite a lot for a standard 12 muffin mix but I pushed the doubt from my mind and continued with the recipe. It wasn’t until I was about halfway through that I took another look at the recipe and realised my error. My boyfriend (an armchair baker at most) took great pleasure in reminding me of Mary’s motto. Luckily, I realised before I had combined the wet and dry ingredients and I had enough spare flour so all was not lost. They ended up turning out really well, not too dissimilar from the pancakes I’d tried Stateside and I have received a lot of good feedback on them since which is always a nice feeling!

The recipe isn’t a complicated one so you may not need to read it twice but clearly I’m not the brightest crayon in the box. Either that or my eyesight is failing me at the grand old age of 23! Let me know if you try them out 🙂

Banana and Pecan Nut Muffins

Ingredients

280g plain flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
4 overripe bananas
170g brown sugar
170g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 medium eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
100g pecan nuts, chopped
Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170c fan/Gas mark 5 and lightly butter 2 muffin tins or line with muffin cases.
  2. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl mash 2 of the bananas well but leaving a bit of texture (kind of like lumpy baby food).
  4. In a freestanding electric mixer, using a whisk attachment, whisk together the remaining bananas and the sugar on a high speed for about 3 minutes. Add the melted butter, eggs and vanilla and beat well ensuring you scrape any unmixed ingredients from the sides of the bowl.
  5. Fold in the dry ingredients until just incorporated and then the same with the mashed bananas and chopped nuts until evenly distributed.
  6. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins/cases filling until about half full. Give the tins a rap on the counter to get any air bubbles out.
  7. Bake in the oven for around 18-20 minutes, until a knife stuck in the middle of the muffin comes out clean. Leave to cool for a few minutes before devouring.