Oh, peanut butter and Nutella. I would eat both of these things out of the jar without abandon if I had the metabolism of a teenager. But I don’t. [never did, really!] I exercise extreme RESTRAINT when faced with jars of PB and/or Nutella, but when I was making these cookies I did sneak quite a few extra spoonfuls.
I read a GREAT book recently called The Emperors of Chocolate (by Joel Glenn Brenner). It chronicles the history of the Hershey and Mars candy companies — and the men and women who made history at both of these companies. If you are a candy freak like me, give it a read. It’s one of the best food books that I’ve read.
I bring this book up for a reason. I learned a really interesting piece of trivia regarding peanut butter (and hazelnut!). Mars doesn’t make very many peanut butter products. It took a lot of convincing for the family to agree to produce peanut butter M&Ms. And since then they’ve developed a peanut butter Snickers. But not much else. Why? The Mars children were raised in the UK, where peanut butter isn’t popular and isn’t well-liked. Americans are peanut butter freaks – and apparently the Brits much prefer hazelnut! The Mars family tried and tried to introduce hazelnut into their product lines, but it was never a successful venture. As my friend Amber pointed out, Mars should reconsider… considering America’s current love affair with Nutella!
Give the book a read — you’ll learn tons. Like how paranoid and tenacious the Mars family was/is; how quirky Milton Hershey was (real life Willy Wonka if I’ve ever seen one!); what the Ms stand for in M&M; and how our palettes for chocolate vary depending on where we live (Americans prefer Hershey’s bitter chocolate, as opposed to the Brits loving Cadbury’s silky sweet).
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
Approx. 1/4 cup Nutella
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Combine butter, peanut butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla. Mix until well blended.
3. Add flour, baking soda and salt. Drizzle Nutella on top of the dough then swirl it through the dough with a butter knife.
4. Chill dough 15 minutes in the refrigerator. Roll into balls by hand. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Using a fork, press down the balls to flatten slightly. Bake until edges are very lightly browned (about 7 to 10 minutes).
5. Allow to rest 2 minutes on cookie sheet before transferring cookies to a cooling rack.