Watch out! Extreme cuteness comin' right at ya! I LOVE how these cookies turned out once I decorated them. Cute cute cute!!! Seriously, when I was done decorating them, I let out a little tiny scream and stuck my hips out to the side with my hands in the air. I'm definitely making these next Christmas because they look so festive! There's another cookie I'm definitely making next year too, but you'll have to wait another day for that gem my pretties.
Today I'll tell you how I took a shortbread cookie recipe and turned it into what I really wanted: something that I could bake that tasted like Nutella. You know, that smooth, wonderful, heaven-like substance in a jar? Yeah, THAT Nutella. I know, you forgot it was in your cupboard, right? Ha! Now you gotta go grab your peanut butter and crackers and go to town with it, don't ya? Sorry!
I remember the day my boyfriend introduced me to Nutella. I had sort of heard about it (this was just when I started watching the Food Network - pretty much when it first came on - and Giada started talking about it every other episode), but I never really thought to go out and get some. Well, me being a complete chocoholic, Mark thought that I just MUST try it. Well THAT was a mistake because I LOVED it! Now I have to hide it from myself so I don't eat it every day. I do end up forgetting about it for a while, which is a good thing.
So back to the cookies. I wanted to make gingerbread men because I love how they look. I even love how they taste, but I really really wanted to make something using Nutella because we bought the value pack at Costco, so baby we had a lot. And that's when my Nutella Men were born.
I started with this shortbread recipe and changed it up a bit. Instead of coffee granules and various chocolate chips, I added 4 HEAPING TABLESPOONS of Nutella. Yum! Now, I'm actually kind of new to baking. I've always been a cook, but recently I've started to want to learn more about the sweet side as well. Therefore, I wasn't sure if adding this much Nutella would work in a cookie. Would it bake right? Would the cookies ever firm up? I didn't know, so I just gave it a shot and thankfully - it worked.
I started by creaming the butter, sugars, and Nutella together.
I then added the flour and salt to make a stiff batter. With some flour, however, it was definitely roll-able.
I rolled out the dough and cut out my little Nutella Men. I baked them at 300 degrees for 25 minutes. I've attached my reconstructed version of this recipe so you can see exactly how I made them. They taste very chocolately and just a little sweet - not a lot. They have that taste that makes you want to eat them with coffee or tea.
Also, keep in mind, when you pull these out of the oven, they're going to almost look like they're not done and they'll be a bit soft. Just use a spatula and place them on a cooling rack. They start to harden almost instantly and turn into crunchy chocolate cookies.
When I went to decorate them, I used this Royal Icing recipe. However, I added a bit of milk to the mixture because the frosting was way too stiff and really didn't want to mix together without a little more liquid in the bowl. I think I added about 1/4 cup of milk.
After beating the icing for like 8 minutes on high using my stand mixer, it was ready to put into the decorating bag and apply to the cookies. I tried doing the outline thing before doing the eyes, mouth, and buttons... Yeahhhhh, that didn't work out. I ate that one - sorry no picture! haha... So I decided to go the simple route and made them super cute by placing colored candies as the buttons. I think the color really made them pop.
Everyone seemed to like them. They must have because they're all gone!