My initial attempt at Nutella cookies produced good flavor but not enough puffiness. Use more transfat, said Mamacita. Consider using baking powder in addition to baking soda, said Letitia. Add more flour, said my mother. All three made sense, so I began looking for a recipe for peanut butter cookies that used both baking power and baking soda, shortening instead of butter, and relatively more flour than the recipe I adapted for my first attempt. I couldn't find a peanut butter cookie recipe that had all of these attributes, but I did find one that was close from The New Best Recipe from the people who put out Cook's Illustrated magazine. It uses butter instead of shortening, though, so that was an easy substitution. Here's what I ended up making:
12.5 oz (2.5 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
0.5 teaspoon baking powder
0.5 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shortening (one of those prepacked sticks)
7 oz (1 cup packed) dark brown sugar
7 oz (1 cup) granulated sugar
14.5 oz Nutella
1 cup chopped hazelnuts
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Beat the shortening in with the paddle attachment of the mixer until it's broken up, then cream it with the two sugars until all is integrated and fluffy. Mix in the Nutella, followed by the chopped hazelnuts. Beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add this dry mixture to the mixing bowl in three increments, integrating each one before adding the next. The resulting dough should be fairly dry and should barely stick to the mixer paddle. Chill dough while oven preheats to 350 degrees F. Scoop out dough with ice cream scooper around 1.5 inches in diameter onto a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper -- they should be around 2.5 inches between cookies, and I can get 3 rows of three on a standard-sized cookie sheet. Press down each cookie with a fork dipped in flour, then sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating cookie sheet 180 degrees after 5 minutes. Recipe makes around 48 cookies.
These cookies were indeed poofier than the first batch. They were also drier. I think I didn't add quite enough Nutella. But they were pretty tasty.