Monday, December 6, 2010

Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies

I baked cookies all weekend.  Tons o' cookies.  I was training, hardcore, for our first annual office cookie competition.  I had scouted recipes for weeks and picked a couple I thought would be original and tasty.  You see, my coworkers get cookies from me all the time.  Some of my finest work has been distributed through those halls.  I had to up the ante for the competition.  So I baked all weekend.  And today, competition day.  I am giving you a cookie recipe that my coworkers enjoyed weeks ago, because it tops anything I cranked out this weekend.  Boooooo.
I'll fill you in soon as to how the competition went down, what cookie recipe I submitted and how it fared.  But for now, here is an awesome cookie recipe that my coworkers delighted in, in the off season.
This is my slightly tweaked version of a famous cookie recipe that has been floating around the blogosphere for a couple of years now. It is a simple recipe with simple ingredients but the results are outstanding.  And these happen to contain no flour or dairy so they are a great option for people with those allergies.
Simple, allergy friendly, delicious, original...I wish I had known about this cookie competion before I busted out these big guns.

Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies

Notes:  These are simple to make but you must follow the directions properly.  The key is to prepare all your egg whites, but only use as much as you need.  Pour in a little at a time until you have what seems like a thick brownie batter.  You should be able to scoop up the batter and not have it be drippy.  I altered the recipe  slightly because I wanted the final product to be large and chunky, instead of flat puddles, (they are sometimes known as puddle cookies).  I leave my walnuts whole (halves) and I beat the egg whites with a hand mixer just for a minute to add some volume to the whites.  This creates a chewy, gooey mound of cookie with big bites of walnut.  It's divine!


2 3/4 cups walnut halves
3 cups confectioners sugar (icing sugar)
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsweetened good quality cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large egg whites, at room temperature, whisked vigorously or beaten for 1 minute
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Spread the walnut halves on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 9 minutes, until they are golden and fragrant. Let cool.

Position two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and lower temperature to 320. Line two large-rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.  Lightly grease parchment paper with a neutral flavoured oil or a bit of butter.

In a large bowl, whisk (or combine in an electric mixer on low speed) the icing sugar with the cocoa powder and salt followed by the walnuts.

While whisking (or beating with electric mixer on  medium speed), add the egg whites and vanilla extract and beat just until the batter is moistened (do not overbeat or it will stiffen).  Only add enough egg whites to form a thick batter coating the walnuts.  It won't look like a lot of batter but just trust.

Spoon the walnuts/batter onto the baking sheets in 12 evenly spaced mounds, and bake for 14 to 16 minutes, until the tops are glossy and lightly cracked, shift the pans from front to back and top to bottom halfway through to ensure even baking.

Slide the parchment paper (with the cookies) onto 2 wire racks. Let cookies cool completely, and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

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