This recipe is a typical flourless, butterless, yolkless, chocolate cookie found in almost every French pastry chef’s repertoire. I made them at hotel school and was reminded of them again, when a BB visitor, requested a replication of the recipe, made famous by chef-patissiere Francois Payard’s in New York. The recipe is quite classic but Payard has made them legendary. Anyone who has them becomes immediately addicted. As good as this recipe is, I was not thrilled with their rather modest appearance. They are almost as flat as pancakes and far too large for my taste. Hmmmm. BB Test Kitchen went to work. I make these very special French cookies in tiny tartlet molds (use tiny muffin tins if you like). The molds contain the soft, foamy batter and result in a crisp-edged, fudgey centered, incredible cookie/macaroon – ah heck, it is unique. There is no word for the chocolate heaven that you wind up with. These are simply divine. Use the best quality cocoa you can find.
¾ cup cocoa powder, measured, then sifted
2 ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups walnuts, toasted lightly, and finely chopped
2 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 egg whites
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray about 20 miniature tartlet tins, preferably nonstick, with nonstick cooking spray. Place on the baking sheet.
In a bowl, hand stir the cocoa, sugar, salt, and walnuts to blend.
In a mixer bowl, whisk the egg whites on slow, then on high speed until they are quite stiff. Then fold in the egg whites and vanilla into the dry ingredients. You will have a thick but soft batter.
Using a small ice-cream scooper, deposit batter into prepared tartlet molds.
Place in oven, immediately reducing temperature to 325 F and bake until cookies just set up and puff, about 12-15 minutes.
DO NOT remove right away. Let cookies stand, lightly covered with parchment paper, overnight. Next day –they simply pop out.
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