Cookies for Santa

Many families have a tradition of leaving a plate of cookies out on Christmas Eve for Santa to snack on as he goes about his way delivering presents the world over. Now, we don't really have a Santa tradition in our house, but I'm not about to suggest that "Santa" (e.g. Mom, who has gotten gifts, wrapped them, and put them out under the tree in a way that will maximize ooohs and aaahs come morning) miss out on some sweet treats! And since, those are likely to fall onto my to-do list as well, I might as well go all out:

Those, my friends, are triple chocolate cookies. A tender fudge cookie finds itself wrapped around a Nutella center and topped with dark chocolate chips. What's not to love? Warm out of the oven, the centers are a molten puddle of chocolatey goodness and they tend to nearly fall apart before they even make it to your mouth.

Lest you think they can only be enjoyed warm, understand that a cooled cookie becomes denser and the Nutella within becomes reminiscent of fudge. These truly are my favorite cookie and they will be the talk of the town, whether they find themselves on Santa's plate or a dessert table at your next gathering. They are definitely special occasion cookies.

Make sure you work freezing and chilling time into your baking plans. If you skip them, these cookies are likely to be a lesson in misery. The cold steps make the filling and dough easier to work with and keep them in a tidy package while baking. You can even just opt to prep both parts one evening and start baking the next day. Now, if only I could figure out how to get some other "Santas" to wrap the presents while I bake the cookies!

Seasoned Greetings to you and yours. I hope your traditions add sparkle and joy to time spent with family and friends!

Triple Chocolate Cookies

  • 12 teaspoons chocolate hazelnut spread (or 1 teaspoon per cookie)
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)

Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Drop the spread by individual teaspoonfuls onto the waxed paper, making sure there is space between each spoonful. Form them into slightly flattened patties and place the sheet into the freezer for at least an hour and up to a day.

Meanwhile, combine the butter and sugars and blend with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add the extract and egg and blend again. Add the flour, baking soda, corn starch, and cocoa powder and blend to form a dense, chocolatey dough. Place the dough in the refrigerator to chill until you are ready to bake the cookies. Cover the dough with plastic wrap if it will be more than an hour before baking.

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

To assemble the cookies, take one frozen chocolate hazelnut spread patty and carefully wrap it in about 2 tablespoons of the chilled chocolate cookie dough. I like to form a ball with the dough and then flatten it into a disc and wrap that around the frozen chocolate hazelnut spread patty. Then roll it gently between your hands to close any seams and place on a baking sheet covered with a silicone baking mat. Since these cookies spread quite a bit while baking, limit yourself to six cookies per baking sheet. After the cookies are placed on the sheet, press 3-5 chocolate chips onto the top of each cookie, if desired. It is recommended that you put the unused dough and spread patties in the refrigerator and freezer, respectively, between assembling a batch of cookies and removing them to a wire rack to cool.

Place the cookies in the oven and bake for approximately 10 minutes before removing them and allowing them to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely. Store the cookies in a tightly sealed container for up to a week, though I doubt they will last that long!

  • Yields: 12 cookies
  • Preparation Time: At least 2 hours and up to 2 days, with much pausing for chilling involved