Nutella Butter Cookies Covered in Powdered Sugar

Baking, Dessert

Nutella Cookies by Tiny Chili Pepper

A conversation with a friend about Christmas season and baking:

Me: “So Lindsay, we always have good conversations about history, tradition, and culture. Question for you. Do you think there’s a traditional connection between Christmas season and baking, cookies especially? Seems like many people get into this intensified baking mode this time of year.”

Lindsay: “I have no idea if the two are traditionally linked, but they were in my family. My mother would often make sugar cookies and almond sugar cookies. Plus, I’ve always lived in a cold climate, so baking gives an excuse to turn on the oven! It’s also a cheerful, indoor activity that can lift your spirits when it gets dark so early. So those are my reasons.”

Fresh from the oven drop cookies

Hmm, makes sense to me. Linked or not linked, holiday or any day, baked treats sound good. But like Lindsay said, these short, cold, winter days do create a perfect and inviting atmosphere for fresh-from-the-oven cookies, or pastries, along with steaming hot coffee or hot chocolate, don’t they? That and for bundling up!

Nutella Cookies

All these talks about baking cookies with Lindsay made me want to do it too! Jeff nodded enthusiastically when I asked if he’d helped last night. I leafed through a cookbook and found a truly very easy cookie recipe: Chocolate Hazelnut Drop Cookies. The recipe called for: butter, flour, powdered sugar, pure vanilla extract, and Nutella. That’s it! All we had to do: beat butter and some sugar with a mixer, added the flour and vanilla extract, formed the dough into tiny balls, dropped them on baking sheets, baked for 12 minutes, and rolled the cookies (after cooling down for a few minutes) in the rest of the powdered sugar. Not too sweet or chocolaty and perfect with coffee! 

Chocolate Hazelnut Drop Cookies

Click here to see the full recipe

Happy baking and have a nice weekend to all!

Warm thoughts to all of us in winter wonderland.

Mini Mascaporne, Hazelnut, and Honey Cup Loaf Cakes

Baking, Dessert

A good and descriptive storytelling could really captivate an audience attention and inspire her to try something new. My friend Leena and I would engage in a food talk once in a while. We’d discuss…well…good food, restaurants and their cuisines, and recipes. Recently, she talked about her favorite cupcakes in such great details that images of cupcakes started to float around in my mind. For days! And I wasn’t even a cupcake person. She’s really good, that Leena :). It was a sign for me to bake again.

So I studied a few recipes and combined the two that I liked the most. I wanted something that had a great combination and wasn’t too sweet. Inspired by Giada De Laurentiis’ Spiced Apple Walnut Cake (that she turned into a cupcake recipe in her Weeknights with Giada book) and Mascaporne Mini Cupcakes, I present my latest baked goods: Mini Mascaporne, Hazelnut, and Honey Cup Loaf Cake sans frosting.

Jeff and I simply love the firm and nutty texture of the cake. The aroma and taste of honey and hazelnut are just delightful. These little cakes make a perfect pair with morning coffee. Watch them disappear quickly from the tray 🙂

Here’s the ingredients list:

  • 8 ounces of Mascaporne cheese (1 cup)
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup of vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup of light brown sugar
  • ½ cup of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon of fine sea salt
  • 1 cup of chopped hazelnut (or Filbert)

Steps:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Line two 24-mini muffin tray with paper baking cups.
  • In a large bowl and using a hand mixer, mix Mascaporne, eggs, and vegetable oil until they become one creamy mixture. Add brown sugar, honey, and vanilla extract. Mix all wet ingredients well.
  • In another large bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt.
  • Mix the combined dry ingredients with the wet mixture. Fold the chopped hazelnut.
  • Using a spoon, scoop the batter to fill the mini cups well below the rim
  • Bake for 15  minutes. The cakes will have this beautiful light golden shade. (To make sure the cakes are done, I insert a skewer into the cake. When it comes out clean, I know the cakes are ready to cool down.)
  • Let the cupcakes cool down for 20 minutes before serving.

Make 48 mini cup loaf cakes