Flourless Chocolate Cookies

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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!

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.