10 April 2012

Francois Payard's Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies

These rich and gooey chocolate-walnut cookies are almost too good to be kosher for passover. The egg whites add a light, almost meringuey texture, but the brownie-like fudginess from the powdered sugar and cocoa powder (happily) takes over. They're available all year long at Payard's upper east side patisserie, but at nearly four dollars a cookie, why not toss together the whopping six ingredients yourself and save the money for something else - Payard's equally delicious but significantly-more-difficult-to-make-yourself pistachio macarons, perhaps?

2 1/2 cups walnut halves, toasted
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup + 3 tbsp dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 large egg whites ***
1 tbsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350, and coarsely chop toasted walnuts
Stir together sugar, cocoa powder and salt, then add the nuts.
Add the vanilla and the egg whites, one at a time, until the mixture resembles a thick brownie batter
(***depending on the size of the egg, two may be enough - the batter should be difficult to stir, and will take a few minutes to come together)
Spoon the batter in 12 - 14 mounds on prepared baking sheets (I'd highly recommend using a silpat. If you use parchment paper, set the paper on top of a damp towel once the cookies have cooled - it will be much easier to remove them)
Bake for 15 minutes, or until the tops are cracked and glossy but the center is still a little gooey
Let cool completely, then remove from baking sheets

12 to 14 cookies

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