You know those people who stop eating and lose weight and when they’re stressed? The kind of people I kind of hate? Like my husband? I am not one of those people. I wish I were. But when I get stressed, chocolate, Vanilla Diet Cokes from Sonic, bread, and pasta suddenly become my best friends (well, maybe more “best” than they already were).

When Sara and I were traveling a lot earlier this year, it was stressful. Definitely good stressful, kind of like moving or house renovating–fun and exciting, but still…there were a lot of frayed nerves, especially at first. Our first book publicity trip in late January/early February was particularly stressful (there was a small rental car crash, lots of weather delays, and it just felt like there was not enough time to get everything done). One of the highlights of our trip, a little shelter from the craziness, was the night we had dinner with Maria and Josh from Two Peas and Their Pod. Their home was gorgeous and peaceful,  the food was delicious, and even though it was the first time we met them in person, it felt like we were just meeting up with old friends and picking up where we left off.

The dinner was fabulous, but really, I was mostly in it for the cookies. The Pioneer Woman even calls Maria the Cookie Queen and she totally is. Being the stress eater that I am, I took care of about 4 of these bad boys and thought they were possibly the best chocolate cookies I’d ever eaten.

As we renovate our kitchen (which has now kind of turned into renovating the dining room, which kind of pushed my husband over the edge), I’m having lots of the same good stress feelings–it’s fun and exciting and expensive and terrifying and messy and we are eating a lot of cold cereal and peanut butter sandwiches right now. So what better to remedy my stress? Those magical Chocolate Nutella Cookies that got me through the first time.

You’ll need flour, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, real butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, hazelnut extract (if you have it/can find it–I couldn’t, so I just used a little more vanilla), Nutella, and milk. Surprisingly, you don’t need eggs. I found this shocking. I’d never made cookies without eggs before. My friend Jeni, whose kitchen I borrowed to make these cookies, witnessed firsthand an angst-ridden Kate wondering aloud if there was a mistake in the recipe, if I should tweet Maria and ask if there should be eggs, if I was going to fail at Nutella cookies. I decided to have faith and follow the recipe as directed and I was not disappointed–they were just as magically delicious, crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, as they were when we ate them at her house.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Set the mixture aside. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes or until smooth. Add the extracts and beat for another 30 seconds or so. Add the Nutella and beat until smooth.

With the mixer running, add half of the flour mixture and mix until combined. Add the milk, mixing until combined completely, then add the remaining flour mixture and mix completely. Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least 15 minutes (and as long as 2-3 days).

When you’re ready to bake the cookies, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll tablespoons of dough into balls and place them on the lined cookie sheet, allowing about 2″ between the dough balls.

Lightly press the dough balls with the bottom of a drinking glass and then bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are crackly on top and soft, but starting to set. Remove from the oven and allow them to stand for about 5 minutes and then transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely.

Now…I’ve gotta say…these are really yummy when they’re warm–they’re very brownie-ish. But when they’re completely cool, they are divine. The texture is unbelievable. Add in a glass of milk and you’ve got the perfect afternoon snack. Or sneaky breakfast before your kids wake up. Not that I know from firsthand experience.

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