These hazelnut milk chocolate chip cookies are incredibly easy to make and taste like Nutella in cookie form. They’re crispy round the edges, chewy-fudgy in the middle, made with brown butter, and packed with toasted hazelnuts and milk chocolate. They’re also gluten free!
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Friends, these hazelnut milk chocolate chip cookies basically taste like Nutella in cookie form, only better because there’s brown butter and crispy edges and a fudgy middle and the crunch of the toasted hazelnuts melding perfectly with the creaminess of the milk chocolate.
Yes, there’s a lot going on here – and it’s all out-of-this-world delicious.
I’m usually a firm believer in the superiority of dark chocolate over milk chocolate, but in these cookies, the milk chocolate just works. It’s mellow and creamy and almost nutty in flavour, making it the perfect complement to the toasted hazelnuts and the miracle that is brown butter.
I do recommend you use a high quality milk chocolate, and one whose flavour you really really enjoy. I swear by Guittard’s 38% milk chocolate (and their milk chocolate chips) – its flavour is simply amazing and I’ve used it in everything from these cookies to cake sponges and frosting. (In the interest of full transparency: this post isn’t sponsored – I just really truly LOVE Guittard chocolate, although I’ve previously worked with them on a number of projects.)
What makes these hazelnut milk chocolate chip cookies so amazing?
1. The brown butter – I love brown butter. Seriously, I’d love to give the biggest hug to whoever first thought to cook the butter until amber and nutty, making your kitchen smell simply mouthwatering. The brown butter pairs wonderfully with chocolate and nuts, especially the toasted hazelnuts used in this recipe. While the cookies would, of course, be delicious made with just melted butter, it’s the browned butter that truly takes them to the next level.
2. The hazelnut + milk chocolate combination – It’s magic. I mean, we all know that Nutella is AMAZING, and this is just a more refined version of it… in cookie form. Because milk chocolate is sweeter than dark chocolate, I’ve reduced the amount of sugar in the recipe slightly as compared to my tahini chocolate chip cookies and coconut chocolate chip cookies. The result are nicely balanced, delicious cookies that aren’t too sweet but rather… perfect. (If I do say so myself.)
3. The texture – You can easily tweak the texture of these hazelnut milk chocolate chip cookies by adjusting the baking time: my personal favourite are cookies that are crisp around the edges, and somewhere between chewy and fudgy in the middle. If you prefer gooey cookies: bake them for a shorter time. If you prefer crispy cookies: bake them for longer. Additionally, the chopped toasted hazelnuts give them an extra crunch, which makes their texture even more amazing.
4. Super easy to make – I know I say this for something like 90% of my recipes… but it’s true. These cookies couldn’t be easier to make. And while I recommend using a stand or hand mixer for convenience, you could also make them by hand.
5. Gluten free – Yes, these cookies are gluten free… not that you could possibly guess it from their appearance, flavour or texture.
Before we get to the bits and bobs of making these wonderful cookies – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!
How do you brown butter for these hazelnut milk chocolate chip cookies?
To brown butter, you need to cook it over medium heat with frequent stirring for a total of about 6 – 8 minutes. It will go through several stages:
- First, the butter will melt.
- Then, it will start bubbling, rising up in the saucepan – that’s why I recommend using a reasonably large pot or saucepan (so it doesn’t bubble up and over the sides of the saucepan and all over your stove). At this stage, the bubbles will be quite large; this is when most of the water content of the butter (about 15% of the total butter weight) will evaporate.
- The bubbles will slowly start getting smaller and you should see the formation of a thick froth/foam on top of the butter. Make sure to stir the butter pretty much continuously at this stage, especially along the bottom of the saucepan. The milk solids in the butter should start caramelising and browning – you’ll notice small light brown specks in the butter. Once the specks turn amber, remove the saucepan from the heat and, ideally, pour the browned butter into a bowl to stop it from cooking further and possibly burning.
I recommend you use a saucepan that is light in colour for browning the butter (rather than a non-stick saucepan with a black or dark interior). The light colour of the saucepan will allow you to follow the colour changes of the butter as the milk solids start caramelising, which is crucial for perfectly browned butter.
Do you have to chill chocolate chip cookie dough?
While I totally get that chilling cookie dough might not be your favourite thing in the world (trust me, I’m a super impatient baker as well!), you really do need to chill chocolate chip cookie dough.
You’ll notice that the finished cookie dough before chilling is rather soft and sticky, and pretty impossible to scoop neatly. Chilling the dough in the fridge for about one hour firms up the butter in the dough and allows the flour to hydrate, making the chilled cookie dough easier to handle and shape into neat little scoops.
Without chilling, the cookie dough is also more likely to spread out into a flat pancake of a cookie… which is something you really want to avoid. Finally, chilling also allows the flavours to develop and meld together into something even more delicious.
All this is to say: yes, you do have to chill chocolate chip cookie dough.
That said, sometimes you just want a cookie as soon as the cookie craving strikes. That’s why I like to make a larger batch of cookie dough, chill it, scoop it into individual portions, and the keep it in the fridge or freezer until needed.
Then, once the craving strikes, you can just pop the individual scoops of cookie dough into the oven, and feast on hazelnut milk chocolate chip cookie perfection in no time.
How do you make the cookies more crunchy/chewy/fudgy/gooey?
A lot of the cookie texture comes down to baking time. In general:
- for crunchier cookies: bake them for longer
- for gooier cookies: bake them for a shorter time
And as they cool, the cookies also change their texture. Specifically:
- if cookies are gooey when warm, they’ll be fudgy when cool
- if cookies are fudgy when warm, they’ll be chewy when cool
- if cookies are chewy when warm, they’ll be crispy/crunchy when cool
And finally: most cookies will get a bit softer and chewier the longer you keep them in a closed container, as they take on some of the ambient moisture and as that moisture gets more evenly redistributed within the cookies.
Why are your chocolate chip cookies too thick or too flat?
In general, the cookies can come out too thick if you’ve added too much flour to the cookie dough. So, if you follow the recipe below to the letter, this shouldn’t be a concern. (And don’t be tempted to add more flour when your end cookie dough – before chilling – is soft and sticky. As I’ve mentioned above, chilling is paramount to getting the cookie dough firm and easy to handle.)
Note that if you keep the cookie dough in the fridge or freezer for a longer period of time, the cookies might bake up to be a bit thicker, but not unpleasantly so.
If, however, your cookies come out too flat, it’s very likely that you didn’t chill your cookie dough long enough – so that the butter in the cookie dough is too warm the moment it hits the oven and/or the flour in the dough hasn’t had sufficient time to fully hydrate.
So, you just need to chill your cookie dough a bit longer, and that should fix the too-flat-cookies problem.
This just about covers everything you need to know to make the perfect gluten free hazelnut milk chocolate chip cookies. But if you have a question that wasn’t covered above: leave a comment, send me an e-mail or drop me a message on Instagram – I’m always happy to chat about baking.
I really hope you’ll love these cookies as much as I do. I’be been trying to figure out whether I prefer these or the coconut chocolate chip cookies… but for the life of me, I can’t choose a favourite. I guess another round of taste testing is required – all in the name of science, of course.
Happy baking, friends!
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Hazelnut Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free)
- 115 g (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 100 g (1/2 cup) light brown soft sugar
- 75 g (3/8 cup) caster/superfine sugar
- 1 UK medium/ US large egg, room temperature
- 1 UK medium/ US large egg yolk, room temperature
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
- 220 g (1 3/4 cups + 1 tbsp) plain gluten free flour blend (I used Doves Farm Freee plain GF flour mix, which doesn't contain xanthan gum. You can also mix your own with 50% white rice flour, 30% potato starch and 20% maize flour by weight.)
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum (omit if your gluten free flour blend already contains xanthan)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 100 g (~3/4 cup) hazelnuts, toasted, de-skinned and roughly chopped (Note 1)
- 100 g (3 1/2 oz, about a heaped 1/2 cup) chopped milk chocolate or milk chocolate chips
- To brown the butter:Add the butter to a saucepan (preferably one with a light-coloured interior that allows you to see the butter changing colour) and cook it over medium-high heat with frequent stirring for 6-8 minutes in total.The butter will first melt and then start bubbling and foaming. Finally, it will turn amber. You should see specks of a deep brown/amber colour on the bottom of the saucepan (those are the caramelised milk solids).Remove from heat, pour the browned butter into a bowl, and allow to cool until warm.
- Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla bean paste, and mix until fully incorporated.
- Sift together the gluten free flour blend, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two batches, mixing well after each addition. The final cookie dough will be soft and slightly sticky to the touch.
- Stir in the chopped toasted hazelnuts and milk chocolate.
- Chill the dough in the fridge for about 1 hour (in a bowl covered tightly with cling film) until firmed up and easily scoopable.
- Using a "2 tablespoon" ice cream or cookie scoop, scoop individual portions of cookie dough. Place them snugly next to each other onto a baking sheet lined with baking/greaseproof paper, cover tightly with cling film and chill in the fridge for a further 30 minutes.
- While the cookie dough is chilling for the second time, adjust the oven rack to the middle position, pre-heat the oven to 355 ºF (180 ºC) and line a separate baking sheet with baking/greaseproof paper.
- Arrange the chilled cookie dough balls on the lined baking sheet so that they have enough space (about 2 inches/5 cm) around them to spread out during baking – I usually bake 6 to 8 cookies at a time.
- Bake the cookies at 355 ºF (180 ºC) for 15-17 minutes, depending on your preferred cookie texture and consistency. They should be light golden on top and golden brown around the edges when done.At the 8-9 minute mark, take the baking sheet out of the oven and tap/bang it 5-7 times onto the kitchen counter. (Tapping the cookie sheet on the kitchen counter helps the cookies to flatten, thus giving them their characteristic shape and appearance. Omit the tapping if you want thicker cookies.)Return the cookies to the oven and bake until done. You can repeat the tapping/banging step once or twice more until the cookies are done.
- Immediately out of the oven, you can correct the shape of the cookies into a more evenly round one. To do this, use a round cookie cutter slightly larger than the cookie diameter to nudge the cookies into shape.
- Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 2 – 3 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Storage:The hazelnut milk chocolate chip cookies keep well for about one week in a closed container in a cool dry place.You can also store the raw/unbaked cookie dough balls in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 1 month. You can then bake the cookies directly out the fridge/freezer (no need to thaw them), but you'll need to prolong the baking time by about 3 - 4 minutes.