While I was practicing intermittent fasting/crash dieting prior to my Hawaii trip, I was craving a lot of different things, which was both good in that I was able to really drill down on the foods I was craving to eat, and bad because I was craving food that actually tasted good, and was not a bland piece of chicken or something smothered in turmeric because turmeric is healthy for you. I saw a video thumbnail on Youtube of a hazelnut financier, studded with hazelnuts on top. And for some reason, it was making me want a cookie. Gooey in the middle, crispy and almost caramelized around the edges, studded with giant chunks of chocolate that would either burn my mouth if the cookie was fresh out of the oven or crack my teeth because I threw them in the freezer so get super crunchy chocolate bits. I didn’t care, I just wanted something UNHEALTHY in that moment. A while ago, I made these chocolate chip cookies with almond flour, and I really loved the crunchy texture of the cookie itself. In the case of my craving at that moment, I wanted to do a chocolate chip cookie similar to that one, but nuttier in flavor. Using brown butter would accomplish that, but adding ground and coarsely chopped hazelnuts being included would make these the chocolate-chip cookies of my dreams. I even used Azelia 35% from Valrhona, which is a hazelnut-flavored milk chocolate as well! But I could not just stop there. I used malted milk powder, toasted in the brown butter, to really lock in that toasty, nutty flavor that the hazelnuts have. And in addition to the cookie dough, I wanted a filling for these bad gender-unidentifiable-objects-because-they’re-cookies-for-fuck’s-sake-and-I-will-not-call-them-bad-boys-or-bad-girls as well.
I wanted to make these molten stuffed cookies. I also had Nutella from Germany(which somehow tastes better than American Nutella because you know, European dairy products), so I went ahead and made a ganache with them, froze that into little disks, and stuffed those into balls of cookie dough. The technique of getting the cookie to fully bake, but for the filling to remain unscorched, or not get so liquified to the point it will explode out of the cookies, was very tricky to say the least. I figured that since there is technically a thinner layer of cookie dough surrounding the filling, that the best way to go is high heat for a shorter span of time, just to give the Nutella filling less of an opportunity to burst/leak out of the dough. I want the cookie to be just barely set, with a crisp, crunchy exterior, gooey innards, and that molten Nutella goodness in the center that will make me forget about the dark ages that was my pre-Hawaii intermittent fasting. And before someone tries to say otherwise about me dieting, it was fully my choice to do that, and yes, I did bring that suffering upon myself, but I did it strictly because I knew if I did not, I would be packing on tons of additional weight during that Hawaii trick.
On another note, I will not lie, these cookies are on the more expensive side to make. Hazelnuts of any kind are not cheap, we’re using Valrhona chocolate, and I even finished mine with tonka bean salt to be bougie. If you did not know, tonka beans are fairly pricey, and they are the fancier version of a vanilla bean, which is already a pretty expensive ingredient. This is because tonka beans aren’t usually grown in America, and they are *technically* illegal because of how addictive they are on a chemical level – this recipe is the closest thing you will see to me baking with any addictive substances outside of, well, sugar and butter. However, if you want to make this recipe, there are several substitutions you can do so that you make these without completely breaking the bank. If you want to sub out the hazelnuts, do so with almonds, which are a little less expensive! You can substitute the Nutella with almond butter, and just double down on the dark chocolate for the molten filling if you wanted that molten chocolate experience, but you did not want to pay and arm and a leg for Nutella and hazelnuts. With the tonka bean salt, just use fleur de sel, and double down on vanilla extract in the cookie dough itself. I feel like this specific recipe is a great cookie to bake for a special occasion(such as telling your intermittent fasting to go fuck itself), but with the substitutions, you can totally make this a cookie you can have any and every day!
Makes 12 cookies:
For the molten Nutella filling:
2oz dark chocolate
a pinch of salt
Over a double boiler, melt everything together. Either pour the mixture into 1/2-inch silicone half sphere molds and freeze these solid(about 2 hours), or refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes, scoop out 1 tbsp-sized balls, and freeze those for 2 hours.
For the cookie dough:
1 sticks unsalted butter
3 tbsp malted milk powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup finely ground hazelnuts
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup finely chopped Valrhona Azelia(with more to garnish)
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips(with more to garnish)
1/3 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts(with more to garnish)
finishing salt(I used a chocolate-tonka bean salt, but fleur de sel or maldon salt work well here!)
In a pan, heat up the butter until browned. Take off heat and stir in the malted milk powder. Then pour the liquid into a mixing bowl. Start by whisking the eggs into the butter, then the vanilla, and lastly, the sugar. Continue to whisk the mixture until it is pale brown in color. Fold into that the ground hazelnuts first. Then sift in the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Lastly, fold in the Valrhona Azelia, dark chocolate chips, and most of the coarsely chopped hazelnuts. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour. Scoop the dough, using a blue-handled ice cream scoop, and press the frozen Nutella filling into each dough ball, making sure that the dough is completely surrounding the Nutella – if this is not the case, the Nutella will just leak out from beneath the cookies and make an expensive, but delicious mess. Press into the tops of each cookie some more coarsely chopped hazelnuts. Freeze the cookies for at least 15 minutes. Space the cookies out on a lined sheet tray, keeping them at least 2 inches apart – use another sheet tray if necessary. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes. While the cookies are still warm, you can round out the edges using a circular cookie cutter. Working quickly while the cookies are still soft and warm, press pieces of chocolate on top, and sprinkle over that the finishing salt.