Banana Nutella Bread

I have a special weakness for banana bread. It’s super homey, and the smell of it baking permeates the house. It’s one of those foods that tastes good ANY time of the day. I also have a major weakness for Nutella. I often find myself dipping a spoon in the jar when I’m having a sweets craving. So… the idea of Nutella and banana bread together makes my mind explode. It’s a perfect marriage of two flavors I adore!

This is a very basic banana bread recipe, and you’ll likely have a good majority of the ingredients on hand. It freezes well and the recipe doubled makes 2 nice loaves, so don’t let those ripe bananas sit there any longer! :)

Banana Nutella Bread

Banana Nutella Bread
Yield: 1 9-inch loaf

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups mashed ripe banana (approx. 3 large bananas)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup Nutella

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9-inch loaf pan and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the mashed banana, followed by the eggs and vanilla. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix well.

4. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture until just combined. Remove half the batter and stir in the Nutella.

5. Add alternating spoonfuls of the regular batter and the Nutella batter to the prepared loaf pan. Swirl batter gently with a knife, chopstick, skewer or anything you can find. Bake 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Cool the bread for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.


Cook’s Notes

I’m going to share a culinary school trick with you all. It’s called “oven pop.” Simply preheat your oven to 25 degrees higher than the recipe calls for, so in this instance you would heat your oven to 375. After placing the loaf in the oven, set a timer for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, lower the heat to the correct temperature (in this instance 350) and then bake until done. This helps to give the yeast (or baking powder, for quick breads) a little boost which helps it to rise.

Brown Butter Nutella-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

12 Days of Cookies
– Day 1 –

The search is over. THIS is the ultimate chocolate chip cookie. The other Chocolate Chip Cookies and the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies that I made earlier this year are both incredibly good (especially the PB ones), but wow… I really can’t say enough about these cookies.

The cookie itself is crispy on the edges and chewy in the middle, exactly the way a chocolate chip cookie should be (in my opinion). Monique of Ambitious Kitchen took it to the next level by stuffing the middle with Nutella and then sprinkling a little sea salt on top. The result is seriously life-changing! She really outdid herself, and you all would be ridiculously silly to not heed my advice which is to go out and make these cookies NOW! You would be equally silly not to pay a visit to her blog. It’s really fabulous and filled with all sorts of yummy things to make!

I mean, look at that melty goodness…

Brown Butter Nutella-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Maybe dunked in a little milk? Or almond milk since I’m lactose-intolerant? :)

Brown Butter Nutella-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

You might wonder how the Nutella gets in the middle. Actually, you might even wonder what Nutella is. If you’re wondering what Nutella is, shame on you!! Just kidding. :) I do understand that not everyone knows about every culinary creation ever invented, but Nutella is one of those things that you must have in your life! It ranks up there with Biscoff Cookie Spread, or as Trader Joe’s fans know it, Speculoos.

Nutella is an ultra creamy chocolate hazelnut spread. It kinda makes me giggle because they recommend you spread it on bread, but I’d much rather just have a giant spoonful of it!! Cookie Butter, for those of you that don’t know, is a creamy version of those Belgian Biscoff Cookies that you might recognize from the airlines. They’re an airy, crisp shortbread-type cookie and they’re pretty much amazing! They make both a creamy and crunchy cookie butter and both are good, but I stick with the creamy as the other one leaves bits of cookies stuck in my teeth. Ick. By the way, there will definitely be more recipes to come in the future that incorporate Cookie Butter!!

Alright, back to how you get the super delicious stuff into the cookies. Monique suggests you refrigerate the Nutella in order to make it a bit harder, but my ex-professional kitchen days immediately told me I should freeze the stuff. So, I used a #70 scoop and scooped out half of the number of balls I needed onto a small, parchment-lined sheet. You see, the #70 is the smallest I have on hand, but it’s still too big for a cookie (unless you want it REALLY stuffed!). I wouldn’t recommend that, though, because it might just ooze out and make a burnt mess on your cookie sheet and we don’t want that. SO, I froze the little balls of tasty goodness and then cut them in half, yielding enough for my entire recipe. If you have some extra, then you’ll just have to eat them.

Darn. ;-)

The cookie dough (after being refrigerated 2 hours) is then scooped, flattened, filled with a frozen ball of Nutella, rolled back into a ball, slightly flattened, sprinkled with sea salt (if desired) and then baked. Easy, right? ;-) It sounds complicated, but let me give you an easy step-by-step breakdown that I think will help you in your cookie baking process.

Step 1 – Remove the frozen balls of Nutella and cut in half. Return the pieces to the freezer.

Step 2 – Scoop out 8 balls of dough (or however much fits onto one cookie sheet).

Step 3 – Flatten the 8 balls of dough and lay back on the cookie sheet. (By the way, I line mine with a silpat, but you can use parchment paper as well.)

Step 4 – Remove 8 pieces of frozen Nutella and place one piece on each cookie. (See first image below)

Step 5 – Taking one cookie at a time, wrap the dough around the Nutella. Roll around in your hand to seal the edges and then place on the cookie sheet 2 inches apart. (See second image below)

Step 6Slightly flatten cookies and sprinkle with a little coarse sea salt. (See third image below)

Step 7 – Bake cookies at 350 degrees F (176 degrees C) for 9-11 minutes, turning sheet halfway through baking, or until edges are slightly browned. My cookies took exactly 10 minutes, so I did 5 minutes, rotated the tray and finished for another 5.

Here are a few step-by-step pictures so you can see the assembly process:

Brown Butter Nutella-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Brown Butter Nutella-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Brown Butter Nutella-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

The result is SO worth the time spent, so don’t be scared by the fact that you can’t just scoop and bake these. I promise you will not regret the extra time!

Brown Butter Nutella-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Brown Butter Nutella-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen
Yield: 2-2 1/2 dozen

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar (*See Note)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon plain greek yogurt (*See Note)
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (*See Note)
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Nutella (approx. 1 cup is needed)
Coarse sea salt for sprinkling, if desired

1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. After a few minutes, the butter will begin to foam. At this point, you’ll want to whisk the butter frequently. You’ll start to see the bottom or edges of the pan get coated with browned butter. Whisk those bits off as they add to the taste. After a few more minutes, the butter will turn an amber color and will give off a nutty aroma. Remove from heat and immediately transfer to your mixing bowl to stop the cooking; set aside to cool. Click here for a picture of brown butter when it’s done.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt in another bowl; set aside.

3. Using an electric mixer, cream the cooled butter with the sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg, yolk, vanilla and yogurt and mix until combined.

4. Add the dry ingredients and beat on low until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

5. Chill the dough for 2 hours in the refrigerator. Alternately, you can scoop the cookies, place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

6. While your dough is chilling, scoop the Nutella onto a parchment-lined sheet and place in the freezer. They’ll only take about 15 minutes to get firm. Cut the balls in half and return them to the freezer for later use.

7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C). Scoop and flatten 8 cookie balls, or however many fit on your cookie sheet. Place a frozen Nutella half onto each cookie, wrap the cookie dough around it and then roll in your hand for a few seconds to seal the edges.

8. Place the cookies on a cookie sheet, spaced 2 inches apart, and slightly flatten. Sprinkle lightly with coarse sea salt and bake for 9-11 minutes, rotating halfway through baking, until cookies are light brown on the edges.

9. Allow cookies to cool for at least 5 minutes on the sheet before removing them. While they’re cooling, you can begin scooping, flattening and filling your next batch of cookies. Store cooled cookies in an airtight container up to 3 days (if they last that long in your house!).


Cook’s Notes

1. I normally prefer light brown sugar over dark brown, but for this cookie the dark brown sugar tastes so yummy! You can easily substitute light brown sugar, though, if that’s all you have.

2. I didn’t have greek yogurt on hand, so I just used a spoonful of sour cream and the result was awesome.

3. This recipe calls for 3 different kinds of chocolate chips and you only use a little of each. I’m not sure I necessarily tasted all the various chocolates, especially since the Nutella flavor is so strong, nor do I necessarily think all 3 types are essential. These cookies are awesome no matter what, so don’t stress if you only have 1 or 2 kinds of chocolate chip. You could probably play around with the amounts and kinds to your liking and they’ll still be fabulous, so have fun with it!