Second to my love of ice cream is my love of cookies. Typically I am a chocolate chip cookie kind of girl but recently I have found a few other cookies that make my mouth water. One of them is this Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookie. These cookies were introduced to me by Shawn Askinosie, founder of Askinosie Chocolate (and my boss) after he visited a chef in New Mexico who is using Askinosie Cocoa Powder to make these cookies. They have all of the qualities of a perfect cookie — crunchy edges, chewy center, chocolaty but not too rich.
Over the last month I have baked a lot of these cookies, trying to perfect the recipe for a class we were having at the chocolate factory. On the second Thursday of every month, we host Chocolate 101. During the class Shawn teaches the details of how we turn a cocoa bean into a chocolate bar and often we feature other topics that pair nicely with chocolate – such as baking. We chose to feature this recipe as one of the desserts because it is very, very simple but full of chocolaty goodness. The original recipe for these cookies is from Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard, a James Beard award-winning chef. The simplicity of the recipe is a gift in itself but the flavor makes these cookies worth baking again and again.
The essential parts of this recipe are good ingredients and patience. With so few ingredients, it is important to make sure they are of good quality. Of course, I used Askinosie Cocoa Powder. Our cocoa powder is natural and is not Dutch-processed which means it is not alkalized (or chemically altered). It has a rich chocolate flavor and is shows up handsomely in simple recipes like this one. I also used locally grown walnuts and they paired nicely with the cocoa powder; neither overwhelmed the other. Secondly, patience is a requirement for this recipe. I am not the most patient person but after a botched batch of these cookies, I knew I had to slow down. The key is to mix the batter long enough to create a consistency that is thick enough to hold it’s form on a baking sheet. Your patience will be rewarded with a slightly fluffy, but still chewy chocolate cookie. The original recipe calls for walnuts as the inclusion but pecans are another option as well as roasted cocoa nibs. These cookies were a hit at our Chocolate 101 class and again with my family.
Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies
- original recipe from Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard
adapted from Luna Cafe
makes 12-15 cookies
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons Askinosie Natural Cocoa Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon good sea salt
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups walnuts, toasted and chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. The parchment paper is essential in order for the cookies to come off the baking sheet in one piece.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Mix to combine.
With the mixer running, in three stages add the egg whites. Then add the vanilla. Mix on medium speed for 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture becomes slightly thick (batter should not run; don’t under mix). I tend to mix on the longer side because I like my cookies a bit fluffier. Stir in the toasted and chopped walnuts and mix thoroughly by hand.
Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, scoop 2-inch dollops of the batter onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Place nine dollops per sheet, about 2 inches apart. Place baking sheet in oven and lower the temperature to 320 degrees. Bake for 14-16 minutes. The cookies are done when small cracks appear on the surface. Remove baking sheet from the oven. When cookies are still slightly warm, remove from parchment paper and cool cookies on wire rack. Store cookies in an airtight container for a few days.