Friday, August 28, 2009

Flourless Chocolate Cookies

Anika and I made Francois Payard's flourless chocolate cookies this weekend in an attempt to make a gluten-free dessert. If you have any need to make a gluten-free dessert, you should definitely try these. The texture is definitely different than regular cookies, but the flavor is awesome. They taste as chocolatey as brownies and have a faint nuttiness from the walnuts.

The great part about these cookies is that they require no bizarre flours - just normal ingredients. You need 3 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon vanilla, 4 egg whites, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

You also need some walnut halves. The recipe calls for 2 3/4 cups, but somehow we ended up with a lot less - perhaps 1 1/2 cups. To start this recipe you need to place your walnuts on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 9 minutes. This will enhance their flavor a lot.

Now add 3 cups powdered sugar and 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons cocoa powder to your electric mixer.

Separate your four eggs, using separate bowls for your yolks and whites.

Just like this. I always find a bunch of yolks sitting by themselves to be kind of funny. Not sure why.

Now toss in those toasted walnuts (ideally 2 3/4 cups) and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix on low speed with paddle attachment for 1 minute. This will break up the walnuts a lot and by the end of the mixing process the walnuts will be as small as pebbles.

Now, with the mixer running, slowly add the four egg whites.

Add 1 tablespoon of vanilla and then mix on medium speed for 3 minutes.

You can see little specks of walnut on the paddle. Yum - this batter was delicious and very chocolatey. Now spoon it out onto a nonstick baking sheet. This batter is pretty loose, so space your cookies far apart. Trust me. We made six cookies per sheet.

Now bake them in a 350 degree oven for 16 minutes and they get nice and crispy. You want to have one rack at the top of the oven and one rack on the bottom. Halfway through the 16 minutes (that's 8 minutes, folks) you want to switch the cookie sheet from the top rack to the bottom. I'm not sure what that's about, but I'll ask Francois next time I see him.

The only problem is that it's a bit difficult to get these cookies off the pan. We used a silicon baking mat for one batch and it didn't help. Maybe parchment paper would do the trick, but we didn't have any. Still, the cookies tasted great, and with no flour, that's an accomplishment! Here is the recipe for the next time you want to make something easy and gluten-free for dessert.

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