Ultimate Nutella Brownies

Take your brownies up a level with a layer of Nutella baked right inside.  With Nutella mixed in the batter and sandwiched in the middle, these are truly the ultimate Nutella brownies!  

squares of nutella brownies cut and arranged on a marble serving board

Nutella brownies.  But not just any Nutella brownies.  Nutella stuffed brownies.

These aren’t just brownies with a little Nutella mixed into the batter (although we’ll be doing that.)  These also aren’t brownies that are a few ingredients, getting most of the chocolate flavor from a jar of Nutella.

No, these are Nutella brownies… stuffed with an entire layer of Nutella running right through the middle.

Like this.  ↓↓↓  See that?  Yes, this is what we’re making. 

nutella brownies stacked on a dessert plate with a thick nutella layer in the middle and additional brownies and milk jugs visible in the background

This is also a choose-your-own adventure type of recipe. 

Do you want melty, gooey Nutella literally oozing out from the middle of the brownie?  The kind where you’ll have to lick the Nutella off your fingers, as though you dipped a finger right into the jar?

Or do you want something neater and tidier?  Something you can cut into perfect squares and pack in a container and bring to work without making a mess?  We can do that, too.

Same recipe, different outcomes, based on how you store them.

(Spoiler alert: you can’t go wrong either way. A coworker of mine declared these the best brownies he’s ever had.)

squares of nutella brownies arranged in rows with one brownie from each row flipped on its side to show a thick layer of nutella in the center of the brownie

Baking with Nutella

I love Nutella.  The popularity of some of my other Nutella-based recipes tells me you guys love Nutella, too.  And yet… Nutella is kind of hard to bake with, because the flavor often seems to disappear.

I’ve been trying to perfect Nutella recipes for years, and I’ve learned that any time you bake with it in a wet batter (like cake batter or brownie batter), even a thick layer of Nutella will melt into the batter as it bakes.  The final product has Nutella in it, but it’s diffused, rather than a thick layer.

(Want to see what I mean? Check out my Nutella Bundt Cake — the slice of cake shows how the Nutella layer really spreads out and mixes in with the cake, almost frosting the inside.  Delicious, but not a thick layer.)

What do we want here? A big, thick, gooey layer of pure Nutella to bite into.  Something that doesn’t blend in with the chocolatey brownies – something distinct.  But how are we going to achieve this?  It’s time for my favorite subject… kitchen chemistry!

Kitchen Chemistry

Freezing the Nutella before baking prevents the Nutella from melting into the batter.  By lowering the temperature of the Nutella, the rest of the batter starts to set before the Nutella melts.  As the brownies heat, the top and bottom layers will solidify as the egg proteins coagulate, the flour absorbs water and gelatinizes, and the gluten loses its elasticity.  The structure of the cake is loosely set once the center of the brownies is warm enough to melt the Nutella, resulting in a solid layer of Nutella trapped inside the brownies.

We’re going to spread a layer of Nutella in our baking pan and freeze it, and then sandwich that frozen Nutella between brownie batter.  And it’s going to be amazing.

Because we’re adding a frozen layer to the middle of the brownie batter, we’ll add a few extra minutes to the total bake time.  If using an instant read thermometer, aim for the brownie batter to reach around 180 °F before removing from the oven.

step by step photos showing frozen nutella on parchment paper, spreading the bottom layer of brownie batter, placing the frozen nutella on top, and covering with more brownie batter

Stuffed Nutella Brownies

In my first “Brownie of the Month” recipe in January (these Frosted Sprinkle Brownies), I mentioned the value in different kinds of brownie recipes.  Even if you always love fudgy brownies, sometimes there’s a reason why you might need a slightly cakier recipe.

Today is that day, friends.  With a super gooey layer of Nutella in the middle, we need a brownie with a little more structure. 

Not too much — this isn’t a Nutella stuffed chocolate cake!  But a super duper gooey brownie + a super duper gooey filling = a big mess.  We at least need to be able to pick up the brownie to eat it.

To achieve these slightly more set, but not at all dry and cakey brownies, we’ll use some cocoa powder (instead of melted chocolate) and just a tiny pinch of baking powder. 

Cocoa powder can be overly drying in baked goods, so to combat this, we’ll compensate by making sure we have enough butter, sugar, and eggs, and add a little less flour than we would for a normal cakey brownie recipe.

The end result is a brownie with a perfectly crackly top, rich chocolate flavor, and just enough structure to support a thick layer of Nutella… that can be as gooey or as solid as you like.

Gooey Nutella Layer… or Not

Now let’s talk about how to achieve the Nutella texture of your dreams.

a stack of brownies stuffed with gooey nutella that is oozing out from the middle of the brownies

First up, pictured above, we have brownies that are barely containing the layer of soft, melty Nutella that just flows out after the brownies are cut.  These brownies were cut 2.5 hours after they were baked, while still slightly warm. 

They are messy and gooey and decadent.  The brownies crumbled while being cut, resulting in a more ‘rustic’ looking brownie, with uneven sides. 

nutella stuffed brownies with a thick layer of nutella on a marble serving board with a milk jug in the background

Next up, we have the brownies after refrigeration.  This will cause the layer of Nutella to harden, allowing for perfectly even cuts with a serrated knife.  That Nutella isn’t going anywhere. 

Eating the brownies straight out of the refrigerator is definitely an option — it makes them taste even fudgier.  The Nutella flavor shines through, but the texture is solid, rather than the soft, smooth expected consistency of Nutella.

three brownies stacked on a white dessert plate with a thick layer of soft nutella in the middle

And finally, what is probably a happy medium.  These brownies were stored in the refrigerator to solidify the Nutella for easy cutting.  Then before eating, the brownies were microwaved just long enough to warm up that inner core just a little. 

Not so much that the Nutella was flowing everywhere, but a normal soft Nutella consistency, with a very slightly warmed brownie.  

it’s like Goldilocks and the Three Bears – except it’s you and the Three Nutella Brownies.  You get to choose which one is juuuust right.

Tips and Tricks for the Best Nutella Brownies

  1. If your Nutella is hard and crumbly, melt it slightly (30-60 seconds in the microwave, stirring after 30 seconds) before spreading in the prepared 8×8-inch baking pan to freeze.
  2. Line the baking pan with parchment paper, creating a slight overhang, before spreading the Nutella.  Once the layer is frozen, use the ends of the parchment paper to lift the Nutella out of the pan, and place the sheet of parchment paper in the freezer.  Allow the pan to come back to room temperature before using for baking.
  3. Bake immediately after spreading the top layer of batter over the frozen Nutella.  The Nutella will thaw quickly and we want to make sure the batter starts to bake before the Nutella melts!
  4. Don’t overbake the brownies!  It’s better to err on the side of underbaking than overbaking — and refrigerating the brownies will help them further set if they are slightly underbaked.  The tops will be puffy and crackly and a tester inserted into the center will come out with Nutella, but no batter, stuck to it.
  5. For super gooey brownies with melty Nutella, cut the brownies while still just slightly warm, 2-3 hours after baking.  The brownies will crumble while cutting, but the warm brownie/melted Nutella combination is delicious!
  6. For clean cuts and easier transporting and storage, refrigerate the brownies before cutting with a serrated knife.  Once brownies have been cut, they can be stored in the refrigerator for a fudgier texture or kept at room temperature; the Nutella layer will not spill out of the sides of the cut brownies unless heated.
  7. Nutella brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.  For a gooey center, microwave cold brownies for 20-30 seconds before eating.

More Nutella Recipes:

Ultimate Nutella Brownies: Take your brownies up a level with a layer of gooey Nutella baked right inside! With Nutella mixed in the batter and sandwiched in the middle, these easy made from scratch brownies are truly the best! #bunsenburnerbakery #brownies #nutella #nutellabrownies

Ultimate Nutella Brownies

Yield: 16 brownies
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Take your brownies up a level with a layer of Nutella baked right inside.  With Nutella mixed in the batter and sandwiched in the middle, these are truly the ultimate Nutella brownies!  

Ingredients

  • 525 grams Nutella (approximately 1 3/4 cups), divided
  • 170 grams (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • 300 grams (1 1/2 cups) granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs, large
  • 63 g (3/4 cup) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • `120 grams (1 cup) flour

Instructions

  1. Freeze the Nutella. Line an 8" square baking dish with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on all sides. Spread 375 grams of Nutella (approximately 1 1/4 cups) directly on the parchment paper, using a spatula or spoon to push the Nutella all the way into the corners. If the Nutella is too hard, microwave for 30 seconds to soften. Place the baking dish with Nutella in the freezer for 30 minutes; then carefully lift the parchment paper out of the dish and return to the freezer for an additional 30 minutes while the pan returns to room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 °F.  Line the 8" square baking dish with aluminum foil, extending the foil over the edges to form handles, and grease the foil.
  3. Make the brownie batter. While the Nutella layer freezes, prepare the batter. Combine the melted butter and sugar together in a small bowl, whisking until smooth and shiny. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and vanilla extract. Beat with a wooden spoon for 5 minutes, until well combined and the eggs are well beaten. Add the butter and sugar mixture to the large bowl, along with the remaining 150 g (approximately 1/2 cup) of Nutella and stir until smooth. Add in the flour, stirring just until the flour is incorporated and no dry streaks remain.
  4. Spread half of the brownie batter in the prepared pan. Remove the frozen Nutella layer from the freezer and flip upside-down on top of the brownie batter in the pan. Peel off the parchment paper and quickly spread the remaining brownie batter over the top of the Nutella. Bake immediately, before the frozen Nutella warms to room temperature.
  5. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs of batter and Nutella, but no raw brownie batter. Cool for at least 2 hours, then either cut and serve warm or refrigerate until chilled. Cut into 16 brownies.

Notes

  • For super gooey brownies with melty Nutella squeezing out, cut the brownies while still slightly warm.
  • For clean cuts and easier transporting and storage, refrigerate the brownies before cutting with a serrated knife. Once brownies have been cut, they can be stored in the refrigerator for a fudgier texture or kept at room temperature; the Nutella layer will not spill out of the sides of the cut brownie unless the brownie is heated.
  • To warm brownies before eating, microwave for 20-30 seconds, if desired.

Nutella brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen in a freezer storage bag for up to 3 months.

A Bunsen Burner Bakery Original Protocol

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 brownie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 378Total Fat: 19.8gCarbohydrates: 47.3gProtein: 4.5g

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Ultimate Nutella Brownies: Take your brownies up a level with a layer of gooey Nutella baked right inside! With Nutella mixed in the batter and sandwiched in the middle, these easy made from scratch brownies are truly the best! #bunsenburnerbakery #brownies #nutella #nutellabrownies