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Posted on Wed, Mar 27, 2013 : 8:34 a.m.

Nutella fudge brownies - rich chocolate hazelnut goodness

By Jessica Webster


Delicious fudge-like brownies with a layer of Nutella frosting, topped with chocolate ganache.

Jessica Webster |

One of the recipe websites I follow on Facebook recently posted a photo of a decadent looking brownie with the question: “Adding nuts to brownies: Love it or hate it?” The link took me to a recipe for peanut butter fudge brownies.

They looked delicious, but peanuts? They’re not nuts. They’re legumes. They’re closer to kidney beans than they are walnuts. I closed the recipe and went on with my day.

But that photo of the brownie haunted me. A few days later, I found it again and gazed at it longingly.

“If only it wasn’t peanuts,” I thought to myself. “If only I could make it with walnuts. Or hazelnuts. But that wouldn’t go with peanut butter. And I don’t even like peanut butter.”

And then it hit me. Nutella! I could replace the peanuts with hazelnuts, and I could replace the peanut butter with Nutella! Everything is good with Nutella, everything!

I grew up on chewy, cakey brownies, so this recipe, absent of any leavening agents and with a whopping 17 ounces of chocolate, had me skeptical. But the lure of the Nutella brownie persisted, and wow are these things good.

Be warned: these brownies are rich. They are so rich, you’ll probably want to eat them in very small portions. The 9x13-inch pan of brownies will seem insurmountable. Never fear. You’ll have a line of friends and neighbors waiting at your door, hoping for a taste. And if you still have brownies left after that, they freeze well.

Because the recipe has so much chocolate and sugar to begin with, and because the Nutella was going to be mixed with butter and powdered sugar to make frosting, I chose a brand of chocolate hazelnut spread that’s a little lighter on the sugar: Justin’s is available in most local grocery stores. Though I normally turn up my nose at Nutella substitutes (or No-tella, as a friend recently referred to it), Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter has a great nutty, not overly sweet taste.

If you have trouble locating toasted hazelnuts, it’s easy enough to toast them in a dry skillet over medium-low heat. When they start to brown, remove them from heat to cool, then toss them in a clean dry dish towel and rub them together until the skins come off. I tossed them with about 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

Nutella Fudge Brownies adapted from a recipe by Dorie Greenspan in Bon Appetit


  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup toasted, salted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped


  • 1 cup hazelnut chocolate spread, such as Nutella
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

For brownies:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Line 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with foil, leaving long overhang; butter foil.

Place 3/4 cup butter in heavy large saucepan. Add both chocolates; stir over low heat until smooth. Remove from heat. Whisk in sugar, vanilla, and salt, then eggs, 1 at a time. Fold in flour, then nuts. Spread in prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 30 minutes. Place pan on rack; cool.

For frosting and ganache:
Using electric mixer, beat hazelnut chocolate spread and 1/4 cup butter in medium bowl to blend. Beat in powdered sugar, salt, then milk and vanilla. Spread frosting over brownies.

Stir chocolate and 1/4 cup butter in heavy small saucepan over low heat until smooth. Drop ganache all over frosting; spread to cover. Chill until set, about 1 1/2 hours.

Using foil as aid, transfer brownie cake to work surface; cut into squares. Bring to room temperature; serve.

Jessica Webster leads the Food & Grocery section for Reach her at You also can follow her on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Wed, Mar 27, 2013 : 2:58 p.m.

These look sinful....I'll have to wait until after Lent to make them.


Wed, Mar 27, 2013 : 2:14 p.m.

Oh WOW! Great photo!

Jessica Webster

Wed, Mar 27, 2013 : 2:44 p.m.

Thanks, Arboriginal! I really wanted to capture how rich and decadent these things are. They're ridiculous.

Danielle Arndt

Wed, Mar 27, 2013 : 1:38 p.m.

I can attest to the fact that these are insanely delcious. Brownies are one of those desserts I never have the will power to turn down, and I only first tried Nutella about a year ago (don't ask me why it took me until I was 25 to discover this wonderful multi-purpose spread, it's almost a crime) -- but I currently have a love affair with it and will say I agree with Jess -- everything! There is really no need for syrup, chip dip, fruit dip, vegetable dip, sandwich meats or frosting when you have Nutella. But the toasted hazelnuts in place of peanuts is a great idea because I don't care for peanuts all that much either. "Why peanuts?" is always my response too when I find them in my food. There are so many better nuts out there. So thanks for this recipe! Can't wait to make them for my hubby!

Kellie Woodhouse

Wed, Mar 27, 2013 : 1:31 p.m.

Hmmm... these look familiar. I think they made it to a staff meeting recently:) Did you hear that students at Columbia University are supposedly stealing thousands of dollars worth of Nutella that's being served in a dining hall. People will do crazy things for this spread.