Adventures in Recipe Testing: Nutella Edition

DSCN0523Since it's kind of World Nutella Week (but when is it NOT Nutella week, am I right?) I decided to make cookies for my work chums (aka recipe testers) using this heavenly hazelnut spread as my anchor. The test? Salted Nutella Oatmeal Cookies. DSCN0529Testing a recipe is kind of scary, isn't it? You honestly never really know how it's going to go until those cookies (or whatever you're baking) have are done. You could get the timing wrong, you could add too much flour and as a result they're too dry, you could have been heavy-handed with the vanilla, killing it. Tons of things could go wrong, and yet, tons of things could also go right. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and all that.

When I first started baking (that is, when I finally started making things that were actually edible, and couldn't double as door stops and paper weights...) I thought that my food heroes spent hours in the kitchen, taking different flours together and mixing it with ingredients. Kind of like a mad scientist with those really long rubber gloves, cooking chemicals on burners in their labs. But now, after lots of time watching the greats I realized: all the best recipes are based on the classics. For instance, the classic rice crispy treat recipe on the back of the cereal box. Great bakers take that recipe as the base and say: what makes this better? For one, brown butter. A great baker is one who takes a recipe, tries it, then improves upon it because at the end of the day, it's about making something taste out--of-this-world. The recipe I based these cookies off of was for a classic oatmeal raisin cookie.


I should be honest: I may or may not have just wanted to buy a tub of nutella so that I could eat it by the spoonfuls in my kitchen...which I did. Twice. But after that, I used about a cup worth of it to make these cookies...then scooped out the remainder of the jar with my finger. No nutella was wasted in the testing of this recipe.

DSCN0553Have I ever mentioned that sea salt is my favorite ingredient? Put it on some dark, dark chocolate with caramel, and I'll marry you. (No, I won't.) It was the perfect topping for cookies that are extra sweet. Not only is it a great contrast, but it also brings out the flavor of the nutella even more. It's like magic. Delicious, salty magic. I would also like to note that no matter how much you love sea salt, do not let yourself get carried away. I was so excited once that sea salt had taken my dark chocolate oatmeal cookies to the next level, that I pinched a bunch with my fingers and threw it in my mouth. That was a terrible decision. Learn from my mistakes.

Tomorrow my dear work chums will be my taste testers. After some workshopping, these babies will be up on the blog.

Happy friday!! Eat some nutella today. (by the spoonful. It's the weekend, who cares?)

P.S. This is my 100th post. I can't believe it.

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