To a lot of people out there, gluten free = not so delicious. Spoiler alert: I’m one of those people. And I’m ready to admit that’s a pretty narrow view of gluten free sweets. Things have come a long way since the trend/fad/legitimate movement picked up steam. In my mind there’s nothing out there now or in the near future that can compete with the evolved science of true gluten protein, but I have to tip my hat to lots and lots of very talented gluten free bakers out there that make some really delicious stuff.
This recipe really isn’t my own. The original belongs to Francois Payard, famed French pastry chef from NYC. I may have tweaked it here and there since I first came across it, I honestly don’t remember, but he deserves the credit. Merci Francois! In any case, it’s a great cookie, flourless or not. It’s dense and chewy like the best kinds of fudgy brownies but has a thin, crisp shell that gives it some nice texture balance. Add the fact that you can throw just about anything you want into it (dried fruit, nuts, other stuff) and this becomes a very solid cookie.
With a lack of gluten structure or chemical leavening to help this cookie rise, it’s all about the egg white protein and air. The cocoa powder in this recipe will help to absorb some water and at least act as a dry ingredient to thicken. The powdered sugar in the recipe (and there’s lots of it) will partially dissolve into the water of the egg whites creating a syrup that will help to thicken and stabilize the cookie too. That leaves air, the ultimate leavener, to do the lifting (get it?????) in the recipe.
Since air is going to be important, and whisking is how you’re adding the air, the only real trick to this recipe is in the mixing time and speed. Under mixing this batter will cause the cookies to spread during baking, almost uncontrollably. Mixing too fast will dry the batter out causing it to stiffen too much and leaving an unattractive finish on the cookie when it’s baked.
In terms of recipes, be sure to use a high quality dutch processed cocoa powder. It will be less acidic in flavor which will give your finished cookies a rounder, more pleasing flavor profile.
I add chocolate to the cookie because I tend to go heavy when it comes to chocolate in a cookie. Don’t let that stop you from adding some alternatives. The original recipe (good ol’ Payard’s) calls for walnuts. I’m more of a pecan man and wasn’t disappointed when I tried that out. Toss a little peppermint extract or candy cane in and you’ve got a smokin’ hot Christmas cookie. Sky’s the limit, and don’t forget to share your creations with the DFK community!
flourless chocolate cookies
470g powdered sugar
90g cocoa powder
190g egg whites
10g vanilla extract
400g chocolate, 64%
If you’re using blocks of chocolate, roughly chop it up and reserve it for later. If you’re using chips, just measure them out and then hold on to them.
Combine the egg whites and vanilla extract and bring the mix to room temperature. Oh and combine your powdered sugar and cocoa powder and sift them.
Start whisking the egg whites and add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder and salt.
Whip the mix on medium high speed for 8 to 10min. At first the mixture will just look like delicious chocolate soup. As the whip keeps whipping, the batter will lighten and thicken as the mixture incorporates more air and stiffens up.
Add the chocolate and keep whipping for another 5-7min. The batter will thin slightly after adding the chocolate but should still be thick when it’s done.
Pour the batter into a container and add plastic wrap to touch on top. Throw it in the fridge for 8-12hours to chill and keep thickening.
When it’s time to bake, use an ice cream scoop to dish out the cookies onto a sheet pan (I line mine with a non-stick baking mat). It helps to dip the scoop in water once in awhile to keep the batter from sticking it too much.
Bake the cookies at 350F/177C for 12 to 15 minutes, rotating the sheet pan halfway through the baking time.
There you have it! This is the best type of cookie, simple and delicious.