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Sunday, March 3, 2024
March 3, 2024

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Buttery sandwich cookies perfect for Valentine’s Day

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Truth be told, these buttery sandwich cookies with the romantic name had me at “Nutella.”

A culinary Valentine to Italy’s most famous star-crossed lovers, these chocolate-and-vanilla shortbreads are glued together, Oreo style, with a thick and irresistible layer of the addictive chocolate-hazelnut spread. As someone who can (and has) enjoyed entire jars of Nutella by the spoonful, I couldn’t resist taking the recipe for a test drive when I ran across it in Epicurious more than a decade ago.

World Nutella Day on Feb. 5 just happens to fall on my Nutella-loving twin daughters’ birthday, which helped seal the deal.

Another truth: The original recipe, which I’ve made many times over the years, wasn’t so Nutella-y. I’m embarrassed to admit that when I decided to bake the cookies earlier this week as an early birthday present for my kids, I made the rookie mistake of rushing through the recipe without actually reading it from start to finish.

As a result, I ended up spooning the one cup of Nutella called for in the ingredient list into the batter instead of reserving it for the sandwiching.

As an experiment, I threw them in the oven anyway. And lucky for me, the cookies still turned out pretty great, if a little on the sweet side. That makes them the perfect treat for World Nutella Day, when social media fans declare their undying love for the sugary spread first introduced by Italian chocolate and confectionery company Ferrero International in 1964. But really, it’s perfect for any day you need a little sweetness in your life, including Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14. (Hint, hint.)

And if you’re not an uber Nutella fan? Simply omit the spread from the ingredient list and fill the “sighs” and “kisses” instead with raspberry or cherry jam, or melted bittersweet chocolate.

Romeo’s Sighs and Juliet’s Kisses

Makes about 2 dozen cookies. Gretchen McKay, Post-Gazette

For Romeo’s Sighs:

4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted

For Juliet’s Kisses:

4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted

1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted

11/2 cups Nutella or other hazelnut-chocolate spread, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper.

Make Romeo’s Sighs: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla extract. Add salt and flour, beating just until each addition is incorporated. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto one of the prepared pans.

Make Juliet’s Kisses: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla. Stir in salt, flour, cocoa powder and 1 cup Nutella, beating until each addition is incorporated. Drop by level teaspoonfuls onto the second prepared pan. (These cookies spread more than the Romeos.)

Place the pan of Romeos and the pan of Juliets in the center of the oven. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until the Romeos just start to brown at the edges. Let cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Spread Nutella onto the flat side of a Romeo and sandwich together with a Juliet. Repeat with remaining cookies.

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