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February 6, 2017
This is about...
Francois Payard Flourless chocolate cookies
        COOKIES!   I LOVE COOKIES!   Even though I own a cupcake shop and I'm pretty much swallowed up by those little cakes on a daily basis, I never seem to give in to them the same way I do cookies. When that cookie jar is staring me in the face, especially when I'm working the shop, I just can't say NO!
       Seems that I'm always stuck between healthy and not so healthy. Can't ANYONE out there come up with a way to MAKE BROCCOLI AND CHICKEN TASTE LIKE COOKIES?? Well, these flourless ones will not win any "healthy" awards. But they do eliminate that nasty white flour that everyone seems to be avoiding of late. And, I promise, you won't ever miss it.
        I've known about these cookies for decades, long before gluten-free was gluten-free. For 12 years, every Tuesday, I used to deliver some 5000 of my vegan cookies YIKES! to pretty much every health food store in NYC. On my way up Lexington Ave, I would always stop at Francois Payards to get "something." As far as I can remember, they used to only make these cookies during Passover, which means there wasn't much of an opportunity for me to indulge in them. But today, they're right next to the register whenever I stop in.
       Ever since I first got my hands on these VERY YUMMY, Gluten-Free Guys, I've been trying to recreate them. I HAD MY OWN THEORIES. I thought that the recipe probably called for gently heating egg whites and sugar together before beating them into a thick, marshmallowy consistency. I assumed that that would take the place of the flour, creating the glue that would hold the cookies together. From there, it would just be a simple matter of folding in the rest of the ingredients. BUT I WASN"T EVEN CLOSE! When Payard published his recipe in "Chocolate Epiphany," I could see how far off I actually was. IT'S SOOOO MUCH EASIER than I thought--- pretty much a dump and stir concoction that anyone can perfect and enjoy.

LESSONS Learned:
1. Use parchment paper to line the baking pans. Let them cool completely first before removing them from the pans.
2. Use a 2" ice cream scoop (1/4 cup ) to portion out the batter, that way every cookie will be the same size and bake evenly.
3. Like most other cookie recipes, you can PLAY with any number of other mix-ins. Switch out the walnuts for other nuts, add chocolate chips, dried fruits, candied ginger, potato chips and on and on.

Francois Payard's
(from Chocolate Epiphany)

2 1 /2 cups walnut halves
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons dutch processed unsweetened cocoa powder
       (I like Valrhona)
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Make the cookies:
       Position 2 racks in the upper and lower thirds of oven. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats. Place the walnuts on a separate large baking sheet and toast until fragrant, about 9 minutes. Let cool, and then coarsely chop them and set aside.
       In a medium mixing bowl, combine the sugar, cocoa and salt. Stir in the walnuts. and mix well. Add the egg whites and the vanilla; beat with a spoon or an electric mixer on medium speed until the batter is just moistened. (Do not overbeat or the batter will stiffen.)
       Using a 2 inch ice cream scoop (1/4 cup volume), portion 6 cookies on each pan. Bake cookies until tops are lightly cracked and glossy, about 15-18 minutes, rotating pans front to back and bottom to top halfway through. Once baked, slide the cookies with the parchment paper onto wire racks to cool completely. Store in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks.

Makes one dozen. YUM!
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