Since Passover is approaching, I thought it was a good time to remind everyone about these extra-chocolatey, flourless cookies from renowned pastry chef François Payard. With only six ingredients, they are incredibly easy to make, yet luxuriously indulgent. With a cracked, slightly crunchy exterior and a soft, brownie-like center, they might just become a new favorite any time of the year. If possible, use a high quality cocoa powder, such as Valrhona – it will make all the difference.
Makes 12 large cookies
- 2 3/4 cups (275 grams) walnut halves
- 3 cups (350 grams) confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons (70 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 large (120 grams) egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract or paste
- Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350˚ Spread the walnut halves on a large baking sheet and toast in the oven until they turn golden and are fragrant, about 8 minutes. Allow them to cool enough so you can handle them. Leave the oven on.
- Transfer the walnuts to a cutting board and coarsely chop them. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Combine the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and walnuts in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until well combined. With the mixer running, slowly add the egg whites and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until the mixture has just slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Cover the bowl and allow the batter to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes to firm up a little more.
- Using a 2-ounce (60-ml) cookie scoop or a large spoon, scoop the batter onto the baking sheets in 12 mounds, spacing them 3 inches apart. Put the baking sheets in the oven, immediately lower the temperature to 325°F, and bake until the tops are glossy and lightly cracked, 14 to 16 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking. Slide the parchment paper (with the cookies) onto two racks to let the cookies cool completely before removing them from the parchment. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.