Flourless Brownie Cookies

These Flourless Brownie Cookies are absolutely irresistible with their crisp, crackled exteriors and chewy, fudgy centers.

I think we all should stop and give ourselves a pat on the back for making it through the strange and turbulent month that was March. It seems we are in for more social distancing this month, and I am ready to comply. The next 30 days will surely have its challenges, but whenever I feel stressed or anxious I like to put on my metaphorical ears – it’s time to be logical. Or at least try to be as much as possible. With level heads and strong hearts, we can do this!

Although I have some flour on hand (and bread recipes are sure to follow) I’m still favoring flourless recipes. I wonder, what are you baking right now? And what ingredients are you having trouble finding? Today I’m sharing this deeply chocolaty cookie recipe that only requires one fresh ingredient: egg whites. (Or, fresh-ish egg whites, the carton of liquid whites I had in the back of my fridge worked perfectly in this recipe!)

The recipe is adapted from chef François Payard’s famous cookies. It begins very simply with powdered sugar and cocoa. Egg whites are added in a variable amount – you’ll need about 2, although I used 2 1/2. The amount of cornstarch in powdered sugar varies across brands, which is why you’ll use more or less egg whites.

You’ll need the muscle of an electric mixer for this batter, because it will be thick and sticky. Upon completion it should resemble thick brownie batter.

Dollop batter on your largest parchment-lined cookie sheet, about four inches apart. These cookies will spread as they bake!

I added coarse pieces of English walnuts to the batter because my favorite brownies also have a hearty amount of walnuts in them. I highly recommend adding a few walnut pieces on top of the unbaked cookie batter, because the nuts toast as they bake.

If you really want to elevate these cookies, add a sprinkle of coarse or flake sea salt immediately after removing them from the oven. I used the I made last Christmas – so, so good!

My husband, who can be spare with praise, has proclaimed these as his new favorite cookie. I agree that they are exceptional. Their success relies on following the rules of using room temperature egg whites, and resting the batter as directed.

Yields about 13

1 1/2 cups (170g) powdered sugar
6 tablespoons (35g) unsweet cocoa (I used dark cocoa)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons egg white (about 2 to 2 1/2 egg whites) room temperature
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup (95g) coarse walnut pieces, plus more for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350◦F. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper. Lightly spray paper with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, cocoa, and salt. Add 1/4 cup egg whites (2 whites) the oil, and the vanilla extract and mix on low speed using an electric mixer. Increase mixer speed to medium as the sugar and cocoa is absorbed into the liquids. The mixture should be very thick. If the mixture looks too dry, beat in additional egg white 1 tablespoon at a time. Add the walnuts and fold together using a rubber spatula. Allow the batter to rest for 15 minutes. The dough should be thick and viscous.

Portion mixture well-spaced on the baking sheets using a cookie scoop or by the heaping tablespoon. Dot tops of cookies with additional walnut pieces, if desired. Let the dough rest on the pans 5 minutes.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the tops are glossy and crackled. Watch them carefully so they don’t over-bake, especially if your oven tends to run hot. Allow the cookies to cool on the pans. When the cookies are completely cooled, gently peel them from the parchment paper. They will be soft and delicate, so do this carefully.

Keep cookies in an air-tight container, and they will stay fresh for about 3 days.

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