Monday, March 7, 2011

(My) Clooney's Nutella-filled butter cookies

Yesterday we had a picnic at George Clooney's.


 I didn't say we actually shared sandwiches and camembert with him, but we did take a drive to Lake Como, we sat and gazed at the amazing view (not Clooney, for all I know he is not even around right now) from Cernobbio, fed the ducks and swans with our left-over bread and then drove by his 100% paparazzi proof gates villa. It was a beautiful, warm and sunny day, the real first hint of spring we have had this winter.

I baked these sweets for my very own George Clooney, my handsome Italian husband, the only man I have eyes for (although I will admit I frequently eyed the motorcycles riding by our car and craned my neck to see where the basketball court of Laglio is, where George is rumored to play with the locals).

But back to the cookies. For someone who declared not to be much of a cookie baker, I have been on quite a roll lately. It all started because I had a whole, new jar of Nutella sitting in my kitchen that I had bought when I was caught up in the excitement of the Nutella muffins I made a while back.

Now, you must know there is a favorite cookie in Italy called Grisbì that has a lovely soft, Nutella-like center. For some reason I decided I wanted to attempt making them on Friday night, I was set on creating a button of rich, buttery dough that hid a creamy nutty, chocolatey heart. I searched online and found just a few, very approximate recipes. I proceeded to make them quickly, by hand. They turned out rustic and moreish and oh, so good.

Both kids loved them (have I mentioned that my daughter is not a cake/muffin lover and only eats about 10% of what I bake these days?) and my husband F asked me last night if I could pretty please make them again...not bad eh?

150gr softened butter
7tbsp sugar
400gr flour
3 eggs (1 whole, 2 yolks)
cocoa powder (unsweetened)
Nutella (about 200gr)

Mix all of the ingredients together, as if you were making shortcrust. The amount of cocoa powder was not specified and I only used a couple of tablespoons. I will be sure to use more when I make these next time (because there will be a next time for sure) to get a dark brown, intensly coloured cookie. When the dough is ready, form little balls with your hands, about the size of a walnut. Flatten them out by hand, place a little under a teaspoon of Nutella in the center and pinch them closed. Place them on a lined tray, seam side down, in a preheated oven at 180°C for 10 minutes. This makes about 20. Next time I may coarsely grind some hazelnuts and mix them into the dough.

 If you want a less homey looking cookie, something a little more dainty and refined, you will have to roll out your dough thinner. I didn't have the time (what else is new?) or the patience but let me know how they turn out if you do.


  1. A pleasant afternoon out and there was always the chance you might have seen George, maybe next time. :0

  2. I had the best Xmas years ago meeting my family and friends who had a house on lake Como; what a delight that was, no and George Clooney was a toddler then! Anyway, your cookies did remind me of the Italian cookies I buy and what a great idea to make them at home! recipe is drool-worthy!

  3. Those cookies look too good for words! I can just imagine how delicious they must be! :)

  4. I am not that into chocolate but these cookies have made me seriously re-think my position.

    Too bad about missing George Clooney. I suppose it's best, really. Meeting the stars in "real life" is inevitably disappointing once you realize that they're real people after all. (I had an extrremely irritating encounter once with Spike Lee. I was in a hurry but stuck in line at a stationary shop in Soho in New York. He was at the head of the line with a huge wad of cash and kept dawdling. So annoying! I'm convinced that he was waiting for the clerk to notice him. Of course, New Yorkers are studiously indifferent to stars and this woman was no exception, hence the long line and my impatience.)

    Your pics of Lake Cuomo are so breathtaking! I'd really like to visit there sometime.

  5. Lucky me, I just bought two big jars of Nutella. The cookies will be baked pretty soon! Thanks.
    Your little ones are adorable.

  6. Being Italian I know Grisbi' quite well and LOVE them! And I off course grew up on Nutella... so your cookies seem like the perfect combination for me!!! I have saved your recipe and will try and make them! Oh, how I miss Lago di Como... I used to go there often when I was living in Italy (I am from Milano)... <3 Thanks for the post and the lovely pictures!

  7. Lindy - it was a beautiful afternoon and luckily I have my personal George ;o)
    ToB - there wasn't much of a recipe to follow, but they are pretty fool-proof since they turned out scrumptious anyway. Lovely, a week end with family and friends on lake Como...sounds like a wonderful memory.
    Nancy - Don't even get me started.
    Stevie - As a New Yorker, as you rightly point out, I don't get star struck...I mean sure, I wouldn't turn the other way if I saw George, but I certainly wouldn't go out of my way to see him. I promise we were there for the real view
    MyKintheR - I order you to make them immediately, you don't know what you are missing!
    Manu - ciao (no pun intended)! Good to meet you and share our love for Nutella and Grisbì

  8. You are such a nice mom! Roman ate some of my brunello cookies, but I haven't shared nutella with him yet. Glad you were able to get some nice weather for your excursion! These cookies look so addictive.

  9. I so want to make these-they look amazing! With or without George Clooney! :D

  10. Not bad at all! None of it! I know I say we live parallel lives across the ocean from one another...but these pictures prove otherwise...yours is clearly better! LOL!

    Beautiful cookies and pictures!

  11. Maybe you'll catch him next time :-). In the interim I'll be enjoying the cookies you've created. They really look scrumptious. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  12. Nicole - I know what you mean. My first child wasn't allowed near sugar for her first two years. With the second, things change because they see their siblings...but this was practically his first real taste of Nutella (licking off the spoon I used) and he has only started tasting our homebaked sweets recently. Candy, chocolate and co. are actually no-no's.
    Lorraine - a jar of Nutella and a spoon beats Clooney any day.
    DD&W - Not when I see what you have been cooking up lately...but I will admit the landscape in this country ain't too bad.
    Mary - I would love to know how this little experiment turned out for all of you...

  13. I do not usually like to use abbreviations in email - but OMG - those look delicious! What a great day - I made chicken noodle soup this weekend because it was rainy and grey in NYC on Sunday! xx

  14. I hate to bake, the word is not even in my vocabulary and now I must try to make these cookies. I'll let you know how they turn out. xoxo

  15. I never thought George Clooney is hot....until you mentioned his name next to those cookies!!! I'd rather have these edible ones than the smoky actor. ;-)

  16. Mrs Smith - chicken noodle soup. Mmmh, warms the soul.
    Anonymous - could that be P? Hi! If it is you, I know someone around there who would make night raids to eat them.
    Sophia - what can I say, I like brown eyes, brown hair, brown cookies...


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