Salty Chocolate Nutella Thumbprints

Tuesday December 20, 2011

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is to host a cookie exchange party.  I love doing this because it gives me a reason to look for new recipes to try and I get to enjoy a variety of yummy cookies for the holidays.

Every year the Washington Post puts out their annual holiday cookie guide, featuring 25 different recipes.  After perusing this year’s list, I opted to make Salty Chocolate Nutella Thumbprints.


Salty Chocolate Nutella Thumbprints

Source:  The Washington Post, December 7, 2011 / Huntsberger and Willis, of Whisked! in Washington

Yield:  30-35 Cookies


  • 2 cups (10 ounces) flour
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon (3.2 ounces) natural unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at a very soft room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups (9.3 ounces) sugar, plus 1 cup for finishing the cookies
  • 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone liner.

Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and salt in a small bowl.

Combine the butter and 1 1/3 cups of sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer. Beat for about 2 minutes on low speed, until fluffy, then add the egg yolks, cream and vanilla extract; beat on low speed until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat until just incorporated.

Place the remaining cup of sugar in a shallow bowl.

Scoop 30 to 35 heaping tablespoons of dough onto the baking sheets. Shape each mound of dough into a ball, then roll it in the remaining sugar to coat evenly. Space the balls 2 inches apart on the baking sheets, then use your thumb to make an indentation in the top of each cookie, gently flattening the cookies a bit as you work.

Bake one sheet at a time for 10 minutes or until the edges are just set; the tops of the cookies will be soft. (If the indentations have lost definition, press the centers again immediately after you remove the cookies from the oven.) Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool. Pipe or spoon the Nutella into the center of each cookie while the cookies are still slightly warm.

Serve or store once the Nutella centers have slightly set.

My Comments

Using a food scale makes it fast and easy to measure ingredients using the weights provided.

Definitely try and leave out your butter and eggs for a bit before starting.  If you forget, you can nuke the butter in 30 second increments on Power 30 — but do not do this with the eggs!

Unlike some recipes, this dough is NOT better chilled before scooping. It’s pretty thick and I broke my cookie scoop trying to use it on cold, hard dough.  I ended up using the large end of my melon baller and that worked as well.  I like my cookies on the small side, so my yield was higher than the amount listed above.

The Nutella was difficult to work with.  At room temperature, it was stiff and did not release well when piped.  I finally figured out to soak my jar in a hot water bath before transferring some to a piping bag.  I just used a basic open tip to squirt the Nutella out and fill the thumbprint — that worked much better.

Lastly, the Nutella does not harden so the cookies remain gooey, which makes them hard to stack.

But, overall, I loved the salty and sweet combo and thought these were a delicious chocolately treat!

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3 Responses to Salty Chocolate Nutella Thumbprints

  1. 1
    Shannon says:

    Yum, I *love* Nutella!!!

    Hope you had a wonderful holiday! Thanks for linking up to Friday Food!

  2. 2
    Cara says:

    I don’t recommend microwaving in 30 second incraments because you want soft butter not melted butter. I usually do about 6-7 second increments until it is just soft enough. I also found that a cup of sugar for finishing is a waste of sugar I tried a half of a cup and still had a lot left over, so the last time i put a couple of tablespoons in a small bowl and shook the bowl to coat the balls, this worked perfectly. very little wasted.

    • 2.1
      Kendra says:

      Hi Cara,

      I definitely wouldn’t do 30 seconds on high, but on a low power, like 30, it works for me. You are right, you want them soft, not melted. And like you, I don’t do a whole cup, I just add some sugar to bowl and replenish if/when needed. Thanks for stopping by!

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