Gooey homemade Nutella filling joins crumbly hazelnut cookies in these “Nutella” hazelnut chocolate sandwich cookies. Because two cookies are always better than one, and who in their right mind would ever say no to homemade Nutella?
As a scientist (in the making?), I like equations and nice, neat logical arguments. So here’s today’s favourite: if one cookie is great, two cookies are better, and if you put a filling in the middle, you have a winner. Another logical argument: everyone loves Nutella (fact), and everyone loves cookies (fact) – therefore it follows that everyone will love (to the power of about a thousand) these “Nutella” hazelnut chocolate sandwich cookies. Fact. Case closed. (And these are gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free sandwich cookies, how amazing is that?!)
There’s nothing uninteresting, or boring, or average about these sandwich cookies. They are everything sweet and crumbly and oh, there’s the gooey filling, and it’s chocolate and hazelnuts and we’re all simply over the moon with how delicious they are. Furthermore, just imagine how awesome people will think you are when you just oh-by-the-way mention that ‘Well, I’ve obviously also made the Nutella filling, as in, it’s homemade Nutella, no biggie, really.’ with the ‘I’m simply fabulous like that’ going unspoken but so so so glaringly obvious.
Because, yes, you’ll be making the Nutella filling. So scratch that “homemade Nutella” off your To-Do-(It-Will-Probably-Never-Happen-But-It’s-Nice-To-Imagine) List. Because we’re totally doing this, and it’ll be a piece of cake (pardon me, a piece of sandwich cookie… or ten of them – no judgement). But first, the cookies.
The top secret trick that elevates these sandwich cookies from mmm-they’re-really-good to oh-my-god-I’m-having-an-out-of-body-experience-they’re-so-so-so-I-don’t-even-have-the-words (that I’ll tell you all about) is… roasting the hazelnuts. I don’t care how you do it – in a pan on the hob, in a baking tray in the oven – just roast the hazelnuts. I’m being 100% serious, it really does make that much of a difference. One does not make light of such existentially crucial matters!
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We won’t be using butter or sugar today, nope, none of that. We’re going the dairy and refined sugar free way today. Therefore, soften that coconut oil (but don’t melt it – you can’t “cream” a liquid), add that honey and cream them together. Resist picking up the spoon and “just having a taste”. Yes, it is finger-lickingly delicious, but these sandwich cookies are worth the willpower exercise. Trust me. (Think of it as character building.)
An egg and an egg yolk (for extra decadence) are added, while gluten free flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt are sifted together, mixed with some ground roasted (!) hazelnuts and then everything is mixed mixed mixed together. A benefit of gluten-free baking? None of that pesky ‘be careful not to over-mix the cookie dough to avoid a rubbery texture’ here. No gluten – no worries. Perfectly crumbly sandwich cookies await you.
The cookies are then shaped and baked, and in the mean time we busy bees can get on with the homemade “Nutella” filling. Are you excited? I know I am! We’ll need the remaining ground roasted hazelnuts (but keep a bit for later – they’ll be needed for making the sandwich cookies look extra pretty and yummy and well… you get the picture). The hazelnuts are blended even finer, and then cocoa powder, a pinch of salt (hello, flavour boost), honey and vegetable oil are added. Then everything is blended and blended and blended until we get a creamy gooey luscious brown mess that smells and tastes even better than store-bought Nutella (as proven by extensive and repeated testing – you’re welcome).
Now, depending on how strong and fancy your blender is, you’ll either end up with an ultra-smooth, or an a bit chunkier, crunchier version of the filling. Both are absolutely fine (more than fine, actually). The filling won’t be very soft or pipeable (totally a word), but we want that! Why? Because we’ll be able to stuff more of this deliciousness into the sandwich cookies, duh. In fact, the easiest way to assemble the sandwich cookies is to smear a bit of honey on the bottom of each cookie, shape the filling into a ball roughly the size of the cookies (yes, we’re going all out, yes, this is an awesome recipe), and make the cookie sandwich. Ta-daaaah. Now just repeat this until no more cookies remain.
If you’ve “accidentally” made an odd number of cookies, or you’ve been conservative with the filling (why???) and there’s some leftover, now would be a good moment to reward yourself for all the hard work you’ve done so far.
And then, after the sugar kicks in, we’ll dip the sandwich cookies into chocolate (which we’ve obviously made ourselves, and it’s obviously dairy and refined sugar free, and yes, I do mean made from scratch, obviously), and then we’ll sprinkle on the remaining ground roasted hazelnuts. ‘Cause that’s just how we roll.
So next time somebody wrinkles their nose at the thought of gluten, dairy and refined sugar free cookies, just shove these “Nutella” hazelnut chocolate sandwich cookies under the aforementioned offending nose, and you’ll have a “free from” convert. You’ll probably also have (a lot) less cookies on your hands, but, well, the things one does for other people’s enlightenment.
- 150 g hazelnuts, roasted and ground (Note 1)
- 175 g coconut oil (softened, not completely melted)
- 150 g clear honey
- 1 egg and 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 325 g gluten free flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 150 g hazelnuts, roasted and ground (Note 1)
- 75 g cocoa powder
- pinch of salt
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 105 g clear honey
- 1 tbsp clear honey
- melted chocolate (Note 2)
- 50 g hazelnuts, roasted and ground
- Pre-heat the oven to 350F (175C) and line a baking tray/sheet with baking/greaseproof paper.
- Cream together softened coconut oil, honey and vanilla extract.
- Add the egg and egg yolk, mix thoroughly.
- In a separate bowl, sift together gluten free flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Mix in the ground hazelnuts.
- Add the flour mix to the wet ingredients, and mix well until a smooth cookie dough comes together. The dough will appear a bit oily – it's supposed to be like that!
- Shape individual portions of cookie dough, roughly 1 – 1½ tbsp in amount, into balls.
- Place the cookie dough balls onto the baking tray, leaving about ½ inch (about 1.5 cm) between them. Flatten them (very slightly).
- Bake in the pre-heated oven at 350F (175C) for about 12 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges.
- Leave the baked cookies to cool before sandwich cookie assembly.
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth (or slightly chunky/crunchy, depending on the strength of your blender – it will be delicious in all cases).
- The "Nutella" will be dense and gooey, and you will be able to shape it using your hands (or a spoon)
- Smear a small amount of honey on the bottom part of two cookies.
- Shape the "Nutella" filling into a ball roughly the size of the cookie balls before baking.
- Sandwich the "Nutella" filling between the two cookies, and repeat until no cookies and/or filling remains.
- Dip half of each sandwich cookie into the melted chocolate, letting any excess drip down.
- Dip the chocolate-covered half into the remaining ground roasted hazelnuts.
- Let the chocolate to set, and enjoy!
- The sandwich cookies keep well in a closed container in a cool dry place for about a week (but I give them a day, at most).
Note 2: You can simply melt store-bought (sugar free!) chocolate of your preference, or follow the procedure for my raw vegan chocolate truffles to make your own (but WITHOUT adding the water!).
Looking for more cookie inspiration? Why not try…
… The Ultimate Orange Cookies, or…
… and what about Chocolate Pecan Dairy and Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies?