Wow -sometimes life just takes a hold of you and you feel like you are on a high-speed roller coaster and you can't get off. My life went from very peacefully calm to not finding many spare moments. All from good things, being busy at work is good (bad for sleep, good for job security), housing search (um, that is a frightening and overwhelming new world), planning parties (lots of cupcakes to be baked tomorrow). But, my blogging and blog friend duties have suffered - I have over 250 posts in my google reader - I will get to those and comment away, pinky swear.
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup Nutella spread at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 ¾ cups unbleached-all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped skinned toasted hazelnuts
5 ounces good-quality semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into ¼ inch chunks, or 1 cup mini chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of the stand mixer and beat on medium speed until smooth and slightly lightened in color, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the Nutella spread and blend well. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well (15-20 seconds) and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and mix well.
3. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the butter mixture all at once. Turn the mixer to the lowest speed and blend slowly, just until there are no more patches of flour. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
4. Add the hazelnuts and chocolate chips or chunks, and mix on low just until blended. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir gently a few times with the spatula to make sure the nuts and chips are evenly distributed and there are no patches of unincorporated flour or butter.
5. Divide the dough in half. On a work surface lightly dusted with flour, gently squeeze and roll each piece to shape into logs about 13 inches long. Line one baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the logs on the sheet about 4 inches apart. Press down on the logs, flattening them slightly until they are each about 2 inches across the top. Place the second baking sheet under the first (to prevent the bottoms of the logs from browning too quickly). Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until the logs are firm to the touch and lightly golden brown. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the logs cool completely. (If you attempt to slice them while warm, the chocolate will smear the cookies and look messy).
6. Turn the oven down to 275 degrees and position two racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven. Carefully transfer the cookie logs to a cutting surface. Using a serrated knife, slice the logs on a slight diagonal into cookies 3/8 inch thick. Line the second baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the cookies, cut side down, on the parchment-lined sheets (you’ll need both sheets to hold all the cookies). Toast the cookies in the oven, switching the sheets between the racks and rotating front to back halfway through, for 30 to 40 minutes, until dry and lightly tinged with color. Transfer to a cooling rack.