In her cookbook “My Two Souths,” chef Asha Gomez marries what she's learned in her new home of Atlanta with flavors from the state of Kerala, where her family has a compound near the southern tip of India. Fried chicken gets a coconut-mango drizzle and pork vindaloo gets sweetened and slathered on cornbread.

One particularly intriguing recipe was a chocolate-hazelnut cookie that used Nutella—an innovative take on a classic chocolate cookie.

We decided to skip the chocolate-hazelnut spread in favor of ingredients that gave us more control over the finished texture. Natural almond butter and high-quality milk chocolate yielded a rich, nutty flavor.

We made a few small tweaks—adding cocoa powder and semisweet chocolate to deepen the cookie’s flavor and color without overwhelming the lighter milk chocolate flavor—but otherwise kept the recipe simple and straightforward.

For added crunch, we pressed sliced almonds into the tops of the cookies. A final sprinkle of flaky sea salt heightened the other flavors. The result was delicious but intense, so we scaled down the cookie’s size, making it a decadent two-bite treat.