I’m celebrating one of the best days of the year with a jar of Nutella and a spoon, but, I suppose, you could also use Nutella to make some cookies too. The last time I was in Italy, my relatives made these simple cookies that hit the spot. They used a “pasta frolla” a dough that is similar to a shortbread and common in many Italian desserts. There are many different recipes for pasta frolla with the ratios of flour, butter and sugar altered to better accompany different fillings (such as ricotta, nuts or fruits). This pasta frolla recipe is one of many found in Great Italian Desserts by Nick Malgieri.
Nutella Butter Cookies
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
1 large egg
Nutella to your liking
You can make the dough by hand but I find the process lengthy compared to plugging in a food processor. Besides, Lidia does all her doughs in food processors, why can’t I? Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the food processor and buzz twice to combine and aerate. Chop butter into small pieces and combine with dry ingredients in the food processor until the dough has a bread-crumb like consistency. Add egg and combine until dough starts to come together. When you notice it start to gather a bit, stop the processor and pinch the dough with your finger to feel if it will stick together. If it easily combines, it is ready to come out. If it is still crumbly, you can add a few drops of water. Be careful not to over process the dough.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and work it quickly together in a flat disk. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. (The dough can be made ahead of time and can last in the fridge up to one week). When chilled, return the dough to a floured surface and roll out into a 1/4 inch thick sheet. I put a piece of parchment paper over the dough so it did not stick to the roller and I could avoid adding more flour. Cut out 1 1/2 inch rounds with a cutter. Leftover pieces of the dough can be stored again in the fridge to be rolled out again.
You can shape this dough anyway you please. With my rounds, I chose two shapes: a short of canoli shape that my relatives in Italy made and a turnover-style cookie. For the canoli shape, use a small spoon (and your fingers) to get the Nutella in a straight line down the middle of the circle. Fold both sides over the middle, pressing to secure the dough together. If it will not stick together, use a little water on your fingertips between the two ends. For the turnover shape, place a small dollop of Nutella in the middle of the circle and fold one side of the dough over to the other. Use a small fork to press the dough together.
Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes (turning the pan around halfway through) or until a light golden brown.
This batch didn’t last two days. Happy World Nutella Day!