Monday, July 15, 2013

The Evolution of a Recipe

Do you know the hot new place to look for recipes? Pinterest! You just type in an ingredient or recipe idea and voila, pictures upon pictures of recipes. Granted, some of them are only pictures, but most are connected to websites with the recipes. There are tons of bloggers and magazines with Pinterest sites. Food and Wine, Southern Living, and Martha Stewart to name a few.

When I was a little girl, my mom made cookies that were very popular. She gave her recipe to our neighbor, Jean Ambrose. And she gave the recipe to her daughter, Margaret, who took it with her to Montana. Any day now I expect to see that recipe, tweaked by all the people who made it along the way.

So when Nutella went on sale ($1 off!)  I thought it was time to try Nutella cookies. I went straight to Pinterest, where I found just the recipe I was looking for by Ellen at Indigo Scones. At the bottom of Ellen's recipe, she says "Sources: inspired by Sugar & Spice, who adapted from Kirby's Cravings, originally from JustJenn Recipes." Which brings me back to my original point. Each of us puts our own little twist on a recipe so this one has already been tweaked a lot. But now it's not just neighbors swapping recipes, they're being shared and tweaked through the Internet. What a small world it is now.

The real reason I chose this recipe (besides the wonderful photo) is Ellen's view of Nutella cookies. "Many people have thrown out their own take on these, usually consisting of tossing nutella into their favorite cookie dough and mercilessly whipping the hijeebies out of it.  The result is often a slightly more chocolate-y and tender chocolate chip cookie, but not something I'd merit by putting the word 'nutella' into the title."

So, instead of me making them forty-nine times until they're what I'd like, Ellen has done the hard work for me. The most difficult part of this recipe is measuring the Nutella. My spoon turned into a Hogwart's spoon that kept wanting to go to my mouth instead of the measuring cup. I fought a valient fight, succumbing only at the end when the baker gets to lick the spoon.

Ellen recommends taking a scant 1/4 cup of dough, halving it and rolling it into balls. I may have gone overboard with that measurement because it led to pretty big cookies. On the second tray, I eyeballed it and rolled them into 1 inch-ish balls. It's crucial with this recipe to under-bake the cookies just a teeny bit. They should be lightly browned, soft and puffy, and slightly crinkled on top.

Anyone who has read my books knows that Sophie always has cookies in the freezer ready to be baked in case the police swing by or someone is murdered. I froze the rest of the batch, just in case friends come to visit.

And this is the result~



Accordingly, I deem it only right to call them

Yield: about 2-3 dozen cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup Nutella (chocolate-hazelnut spread), divided
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside. Cream the butter with the sugar and brown sugar. Mix until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix. On a slow speed, add the flour mixture until just blended. Mix in 1/4 cup of Nutella. Fold in the chocolate chips. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of Nutella gently, leaving it in the dough in streaks.

Form 1-inch balls and place them on the cookie sheet. Bake 9-12 minutes. Do not over-bake!


13 comments:

  1. Helena GeorgetteJuly 15, 2013 at 2:54 AM

    I think I would like one right now with a glass of milk, if you please :D

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    1. Sending two right over. Because you really can't eat just one! ; )

      ~Krista

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  2. they look wonderful Krista! I used to laugh when I looked for a recipe on Epicurious--no one left the darn thing alone! You might find 100 tweaks below the original...

    I wonder what effect, if any, this will have on recipe copyright law?

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    Replies
    1. I think that's the inherent difficulty with copyright and recipes. I'd say if you want to keep your recipe secret, don't put it on the net! So often the tweaks improve on a recipe. They seem to be perpetually evolving. Especially with the emphasis on lower fat content today.

      ~Krista

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  3. Your description reminded me of that kid's game Telephone (yes, I'm dating myself)--sitting in a circle, you would whisper something to the person sitting next to you, who would then whisper it to the next person and so on, and the final person would announce what she had heard and everyone would laugh hysterically at the result. I can just see a recipe starting as nice cookies and somehow ending up as tuna casserole!

    But you had me at Nutella--I'm a sucker for anything with hazelnut flavor. And I'm getting a new stove on Wednesday (in the midst of a heat-wave, of course), so I will add this recipe to the list!

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    1. A new stove? I'm swooning! I hope we'll see photos!

      You're right about telephone. It *is* kind of like that. LOL!

      ~Krista

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  4. Krista, these look so delicious!!! I was so curious about your mention of Pinterest, I went there to see about the #recipe link. You are right. Wow, what a ton of them. I've been adding #recipe to any pins I take from this site and share. Many of them showed up in the list. Yay!

    So, all our readers, start adding #recipe to your pin. That will bring us more readers. :)

    Best to all,

    Daryl aka Avery

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    1. You don't have to use #recipe. Just go to the Pinterest search bar and type peach cobbler, or Nutella cookies. It's amazing what comes up!

      ~Krista

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  5. Pinterest is like having access to all those community cookbooks that you are asked to share recipes for. Only with pictures. I love it! Yesterday I was looking for a refrigerator pickle recipe and I found one that sounded good. Of course, I tweaked it and added a few more spices. I think they turned out very good! And then I used some of the brine that was left to make myself a dirty martini. It was very tasty, too!

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    Replies
    1. Elaine, I have a three-day pickle recipe in The Diva Digs Up the Dirt. I should post it here. I might, if it stop raining long enough for the garden to grow, and we actually see some cucumbers. We're way behind this summer!

      ~Krista

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  6. Wonderful post, Krista - I've been Jonesing for a cookie like this and those photos are making my mouth water! I'm also a big fan of Nutella. (I make my own.) And this recipe is a great use for it. Thanks for sharing and have a delicious week... ~ Cleo

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    1. I can't wait to see how you make Nutella, Cleo. To be honest, it's one of the things I don't buy often because if it's in the house I'll eat it!

      ~Krista

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  7. Oh my. I'll be dreaming about these tonight, Krista. I think they will be a huge hit.

    Thank you!

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