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the chewy parts of life

Recipe: flourless chocolate walnut cookies

We have emerged on the other side of the holidays more or less unscathed. People are crazy, and there is nothing like Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day to really drive that observation home. Jeremy and I filled the past few weeks with many flavors of skiing, catching up on work, exercising the pups, long and thoughtful discussions, doing our best to eat like sensible adults, and avoiding other people. It was great.

christmas morning, an uphill ski on the mountain with our crazy pups

calendar girl, yuki (rezdawg rescue’s 2020 calendar)

national bacon day and a -10°f skate ski with my denver erin

new year’s day uphill ski

frost flowers on a cold skate ski in crested butte

skiing down the mountain with this crazy pack

During the holiday downtime, we came to the realization that Yuki is now an adult (despite behaving like a puppy) and that travel might just become a reality for us again. And I decided it’s time to put Twitter and Facebook into full neglect mode. The only reason I keep a Facebook account is to access the driving conditions page for our local canyon – otherwise it is a hugely unproductive time suck. So for now, if you want updates on new posts, you can follow me on Instagram at @jenyuphoto (personal) or @userealbutter (just the blog), subscribe to this blog (there is a link at the top of this page), or periodically check here.

Also? I sorta got my cooking mojo back! There were recipes that piqued my interest enough to want to make and even photograph to share here. I’ve always got one eye open for decent gluten-free recipes. I eat the hell out of gluten, but there are a handful of people I really like who cannot. If I like you, I will bake for you. If I really like you, I will cook for you. Don’t let the gluten-freeness of these flourless chocolate walnut cookies deter you if you dig on gluten. These gems are not only delicious and perfectly textured, they are easy to make (i.e. hard to fuck up). It’s like the ghetto version of a French macaron.

walnuts, powdered sugar, vanilla, salt, cocoa powder, egg whites

Apparently, there is great flexibility to the recipe according to the Food52 post. You can omit the nuts, change the flavorings, add chocolate chips. I haven’t tried any ingredient variations yet. First, you want to toast the walnuts which involves a quick 9-10 minutes in a moderate (350°F) oven. Chop them up and let them cool. If you mix the cookie dough with a stand mixer, the nuts will get bashed up by the paddle during mixing. If you mix the dough by hand – which I haven’t done – you may want to chop the walnuts a little finer as they won’t receive as much of a beating. I do recommend weighing your ingredients rather than measuring by volume because: 1) it’s more accurate and 2) fewer dishes to wash.

coarsely chop the toasted walnuts

combine the dry ingredients in a bowl

Slowly pour the egg whites and vanilla into the dry ingredients while the mixer is running on its lowest speed. It incorporates within a few seconds and the batter will become dark. When most of the dry ingredients have disappeared, increase the mixer speed to medium and let it go for about 3 minutes until the dough becomes thicker.

add the wet ingredients

thick and glossy

The recipe yields a dozen large cookies. Using a 1/4-cup scoop, you’ll get about 6 cookies per standard half-sheet because they spread quite a bit. I baked half of the batch as large cookies and the other half as small cookies (1-ounce scoop or 2-tablespoons). I prefer the smaller cookies because I like a greater ratio of chewy exterior to fudgy interior. My cookies didn’t spread as much as they should have. I suspect I needed more egg white. I keep a jar of egg whites in my refrigerator (because I use a lot of egg yolks for pastries), so I don’t crack 4 eggs to get 4 egg whites. Instead, I estimate that the average large egg white in the U.S. weighs about 30 grams and measure out 120 grams of egg white. So I’m going to increase that measure in the recipe to 140 grams. But really, it’s so hard to mess these up!

scoop and space the dough mounds on parchment or silpat

let cool on rack completely before removing

chewy, crackly exterior and a gooey, fudgy interior

And that’s it! These are dangerously easy and fast to make. As folks have said, this cookie is the love child of a French macaron and an American brownie, but way the hell less fussy! I squirreled a few away in an airtight container overnight to see how they fared in storage. You definitely lose the contrast in textures as the cookie takes on a more uniform profile, but the taste is bang on.

go forth and make cookies

Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies
[print recipe]
from Food52

2 3/4 cups (275g) walnuts (chopped or halves)
3 cups (350g) powdered sugar
1/2 cup + 3 tbsps (70g) Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
4 large (140g) egg whites at room temperature
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F, setting racks at lower and upper thirds of the oven. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast them for about 9-minutes until fragrant. Let cool and coarsely chop. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat sheets.

Place the walnuts, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Stir on lowest speed to combine. While mixer is still running on lowest speed, slowly pour the egg whites and vanilla extract into the dry ingredients. When most of the dry ingredients have been incorporated, increase mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes or until the dough is slightly thickened. Scoop 1/4-cup (2 oz.) or 2-tablespoon (1 oz.) mounds of dough onto lined-baking sheets – 3-inches apart for the larger scoops or 1.5-inches apart for smaller scoops.

Put the baking sheets in the oven and reduce the temperature to 325°F. Rotate and swap the sheets after 8 minutes. Continue to bake another 6-8 minutes until tops look glossy and begin to crack (total bake time about 14-16 minutes). Remove from oven and slide the parchment or silpat sheets directly onto a cooling rack. Let the cookies cool completely before removing. Makes 12 large cookies or 24 smaller cookies. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

more goodness from the use real butter archives

chocolate almond macarons (sucre cuit method) flourless chocolate hazelnut cupcakes chocolate cloud cake (flourless) the concorde: chocolate meringue mousse cake

7 nibbles at “the chewy parts of life”

  1. Kristin says:

    Oh, these look delicious! I don’t think I will be able to make a version that my nut hating husband will eat, so I guess I will have to share with friends!! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Jill Hyde says:

    Love how you two spend the holidays! Isn’t it wonderful to be just with your pack?
    Your calendar girl is a beauty. How sweet that she’s advertising now. Great cause.

    OMG these cookies…I do think this is something Tom and I could handle, especially with the disclaimer that they’re hard to mess up! And I am going to share with my baking friends.

    xoxo, jill

  3. Pey-Lih says:

    Ha! I made a batch of very similar cookies yesterday using a box of Devil’s food cake and instant pudding. Yes, very unorthodox I might add, but desperate times calls for desperate measures when there is only two days left before my exam and I’m craving for something chocolatey quick. I love the picture of your pup with his paw over your 2020 calendar. You must have the best 2020 calendar with all your adventurous photos taken. BTW, I chuckled when you wrote, “If I like you, I will bake for you. And if I really like you, I will cook for you.” Right on…

  4. Mary Karen Euler says:

    Those look crazy delicioso! Great to “catch up” with you and the family, and I applaud you for achieving your noble Holiday goals. Congrats to Yuki on her selection as “Miss October”…and to you for the lovely photo, which I’m sure had quite a bit to do with it!

  5. Marcy Blair says:

    I’ve been following you since I left Ouray in 2006. I still love your postings although, I must admit, I enjoy your daily thoughts and pictures more than the delicious recipes. Life is short. Do what makes you happy. And you are. Kudos!!!!!

  6. jenyu says:

    Kristin – I think you can substitute other ingredients and even omit the nuts (according to the original Food52 video). Maybe give it a try?

    Jill – xxoo

    Pey-Lih – The calendar is published by the rescue organization that Yuki came from, so it’s full of rescue pups and cats <3

    MK - These cookies are quite addictive and easy to make :)

    Marcy - Thank you xoxo

  7. Kristin says:

    Oops, you said that right in the post! Guess I was distracted by the photos!

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