Nutella-stuffed chocolate chip lava cookies

A lava chocolate chip cookie with a creamy Nutella center is so good you might just eat all the dough before you bake it.

The Pastry Chef's Baking
A Nutella center transforms an ordinary cookie into a chocolate chip lava delight.

Can you say yummy goodness? I can after this lava cookie experiment. I have to credit my sister with this idea, or rather the onset of her visit. My sister's favorite dessert is molten chocolate cake or lava cake. I've tried various recipes in the past and usually am thwarted in finding the recipe for lava cake goodness that I aspire to. My sister was coming up to visit one of her daughters (my niece who now goes to college in the area) and wanted "something chocolate." Rather than making another attempt at a lava cake, I decided to try and make a lava cookie instead. I'd wanted to try this brown butter chocolate chip cookie from Alli-n-Son's blog so it seemed like a good time to try out both.

First of all, I love just about anything with browned butter. The fragrant smell alone could bring me to my knees. And the super-deliciousness of its taste? Uber goodness. Second, instead of chocolate chips, I chopped up one of the blocks of milk chocolate I had brought back from Switzerland in July, thereby almost guaranteeing this was going to turn out well. You simply can't go wrong with Swiss chocolate. After I made this cookie dough, it smelled so good I almost ate the dough. And I never eat cookie dough, much preferring the baked version. So for me to consider snitching cookie dough because it smelled and looked so good is almost unheard of. If you're a cookie dough lover, make a pact with yourself that you will reserve some dough to actually bake. Otherwise, you're going to miss out on a really good lava cookie.

I used Nutella as the lava portion for the middle of the cookie but if Nutella isn't your thing, you can also use caramel, biscoff spread, or even melt some chocolate chips and add a little butter to keep it liquid for a pure chocolate center. The Nutella worked stupendously well in this cookie (I'm bringing out all the superlatives for this recipe because it was just that good). You can serve this with ice cream but I found it doesn't need it because it's a good standalone dessert even without ice cream. I may try a different version with a white chocolate chip cookie and biscoff spread next time.

These cookies are a two-step process, since you’ll need to chill the Nutella-stuffed dough at least overnight.

Nutella-stuffed chocolate chip lava cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon slices
2-1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt (I used fleur de sel but you can also use regular salt)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1-1/4 cups light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups milk chocolate chunks

Step 1:

In a small pot melt the butter over medium heat, whisking occasionally. Once melted, the butter will foam up, and then subside. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until light brown specks form at the bottom of the pot and the butter has a nutty aroma. Careful not to let it burn. Remove from heat and pour into a glass bowl. Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, sift together the bread flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

In a small bowl whisk together the milk, egg, egg yolk and vanilla extract, and set aside.

Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, on medium speed cream together the cooled browned butter and sugars for 2 minutes.

On low speed, add in the egg mixture, mixing until well combined, about 30 seconds.

Slowly stir in the flour mixture, mixing until well combined, scraping down the sides as needed.

Stir in the chocolate chunks. Form into dough balls, dropping a spoonful of Nutella in the middle and wrapping the dough around to cover the filling completely. Alternatively you can drop a spoonful of dough in a ramekin, drop a dollop of Nutella over it then cover with another spoonful of dough, filling the ramekin 2/3 full.

Chill the dough balls (or ramekins) in the fridge overnight or up to 48 hours.

Step 2:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Line two cookie sheets parchment paper.

Place dough balls about 2 inches apart on each pan. Flatten balls slightly. If using ramekins, place on unlined baking sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating the pans half way through for evening browning.

Cool slightly before moving to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve warm.

Related post on The Pastry Chef's Baking: Alton Brown's Chocolate Chip Cookies

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