Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Vegan Nutella Cookies with Sea Salt

Hello from Fall River, MA! I'm your guest blogger and Mama Ozzy's oldest daughter, Emma.

I was going through my pantry the other day when I noticed that I had two unopened jars of Nutella hiding behind the pasta sauce and garbanzo beans. This was obviously a wonderful surprise, because I love Nutella and I couldn't believe that I had not one but two jars stashed away.

Normally I eat Nutella on toast or pancakes or in its purest form - on a spoon - but I wanted to try something special this time around, so I decided to make cookies.

There are hundreds upon hundreds of recipes for cookies with Nutella out there, especially on the World Nutella Day website, but since I had no butter or eggs in my fridge I was at a loss.

After a quick text to Mama Ozzy, I learned that applesauce is a great substitute for eggs and that nut butters are delicious and healthy - well, healthier - substitutes for butter, so I decided to try my hand at vegan cookies.

I know that Nutella isn't vegan since it has skim milk in it, so this recipe is more lacto-vegetarian than anything else, but it is also absolutely delicious. The cookies are delicate and chewy on the inside and light and crispy on the outside, and the hint of sea salt makes them dance and sing. If you want to make these cookies truly vegan, they would be amazing with a vegan chocolate hazelnut spread, or any other nut butter.

(Mostly) Vegan Nutella Cookies with Sea Salt
Makes about 2 dozen 3 inch cookies

1 cup Nutella
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine flour and baking soda in a bowl and whisk lightly until combined. In a separate bowl, combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, applesauce, Nutella, and vanilla extract and mix with an electric mixer at low speed until smooth. Add dry ingredients and mix at low speed until combined. The dough should be sticky and easily removed from the bowl. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour and a half.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Roll the dough into tablespoon-sized balls and place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle each cookie with a small pinch of sea salt. Bake for about 10 minutes until cookies are puffed and crinkled. Cookies may appear to be underdone; don't worry, this is normal. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet for about 5 minutes. Remove from baking sheet and cool on wax paper or a cooling rack for an additional 5 minutes.

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