Monday, April 23, 2012

Flourless Chocolate Cookies with Chocolate Chips & Cocoa Nibs

Franny made these for us last night. Not sure how I've kept from eating them all, except I'm pretty sure she keeps a secret tally. ;>)

It's true I am a bit naive when it comes to baking or any other kind of cooking, but am I the only one who has never heard of toasting walnuts before adding them to a recipe? I get the adding flavor thing. I've just never heard of toasting walnuts.

The recipe came from

Flourless Chocolate-Walnut Cookies
Adapted from Francois Payard via New York Magazine*

- Intended to make 12 large cookies or more on a smaller scale according to your preference (about 20 for me) -

2 1/4 cups walnut halves
2 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large egg whites, at room temperature*
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

* I dialed down the amount of walnuts and sugar in the recipe. The original calls for 2 3/4 cups of walnut halves and 3 cups confectioners' sugar. Also note that you may not need to use all the egg whites, as per the instructions below.

Start by toasting the walnut halves. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place walnuts in a baking sheet to bake for about 10 minutes until they are golden brown and fragrant. Let cool slightly and coarsely chop.

Lower oven temperature to 320 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer on low speed), whisk confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder (sift in if very lumpy), and salt together, followed by the walnuts. Gently whisk in (or on medium speed in the mixer) the vanilla extract and half the egg whites. Start with about half the egg whites and add more as necessary until the batter is just moistened. Switch over to a wooden spoon if necessary and stir until the batter is thick and scoopable like brownie batter. Do not overbeat or the batter will stiffen.

Spoon or scoop the batter into 12 large mounds (or 20 smaller ones) onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 14-16 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time. The cookies are done when they are shiny and the tops are lightly cracked. Remove the pans from the oven. Slide the parchment paper, with the cookies, on to wire racks to cool completely before removing. Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

...And for those who want to play around, here's the other version:  click for the second recipe and to read the interesting commentary.

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