Every February, with a few notable exceptions, I focus on chocolate. Chocolate cakes and cookies and pies and other delicious little things because it seems appropriate. Visions of chocolate hearts cloud our vision during these four weeks. Plus it’s cold and I think chocolate is a proper distraction until the beautiful summer fruits start appearing. Sheepish admission here … I’m not much of a chocolate person so I figure if I’m going to eat chocolate, it better be good. I’m getting a late start this month but I’m kicking off with a bang. These cookies are good.
There’s no real big story behind these. I’ve been doing a lot of testing and corporate recipe development lately and rediscovered them. My task was to develop healthy sweets which, if you know me, is hilarious. I typically look toward “healthy” desserts with a skeptical eye as they usually contain all kinds of unpronounceable ingredients to replace real food and are slapped with all sorts of healthy labels I don’t really believe. I’m firmly in the camp of just eat and enjoy the real stuff, in moderation if you must. Use real butter, whole eggs, real chocolate. The less you mess with something, the better. Life is short; enjoy it.
So I approached this project a little differently and decided to focus on the positive aspects of real ingredients. Dark chocolate, really dark 72% quality stuff, superfoods and ingredients high in antioxidants. Research has suggested that enjoying dark chocolate in moderation appears to reduce risk factors for heart disease, help lower blood pressure and improve vascular functions. So rather than research starches and additives and replacements, which aren’t my forte, I started with a big block of 72% quality chocolate. It was a good place to begin my work.
I dug up my notes from years ago, originally based on a Martha recipe, and got to work. I had forgotten how easy they came together – one bowl and no fancy tools beyond a strong arm. The cookies are rich in cocoa, dark chocolate chunks and cocoa nibs for an extra boost of chocolate flavor (and magnesium it turns out). They are a full on frontal assault of chocolate.
They’re fat free, made with just egg whites, but there’s still a generous amount of sugar so I wouldn’t say they’re guilt free per se, but they are gluten-free if that’s a concern. And a really good, truly good, gluten-free cookie is a tough find. They are also incredibly flexible – add chopped dried fruit, maybe a pinch of cayenne for a kick, stir in some other warm spices like cinnamon, cardamom or ginger or throw in some of those superfoods – every batch I made was wonderful. Crunchy edges, chewy centers and deep dark chocolate throughout; they’re incredibly addictive.
The only downside is the batter is a little sticky and messy to work with. I use a 1” scoop to make consistent shapes but found it doesn’t release easily from the scoop so a spoon might be easier. If you prefer a scoop, wet it first by placing under running water and give it a good shake to remove any excess. Continue scooping until it starts to stick and repeat the process.
The most important thing with these cookies is to keep an eye on the baking time – you want the outside just set, crisp and shiny but the centers should remain soft. If you bake too long you’ll have something more like chocolate meringues rather than chewy cookies. Not what you’re going for here.
So for that special Valentine in your life, or just yourself, bake up a batch. Then kick back, put your feet up and pat yourself on the back. You just made something delicious.
STRESS THERAPY BAKING FACTOR: HALLELUJAH! These are beautiful cookies. I’m not even going to bring up the health benefits of the ingredients because the fact is, they’ll make you happy regardless. Deep chocolate flavor, crunchy and chewy all at the same time and fill every chocolate craving you have. They will knock your socks off.
On this blog six years ago: Khachpuri (Georgian Cheese Bread)
On this blog five years ago: Marmalade Yogurt Cake
On this blog four years ago: Mexican Hot Chocolate
On this blog three years ago: Double Chocolate Alfajores
On this blog two years ago: Chocolate Pear Clafouti
On this blog last year: Buckwheat Blini
Other fantastic chocolate cookie recipes: Mexican Chocolate Cookies, Valentine’s Fancy Pants Cookies, Peppermint Patty Brownies, Chocolate Lizer Cookies, Whatchamacallit Brownies, Double Chocolate Cookies (with flour), Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies,
FLOURLESS DOUBLE CHOCOLATE COOKIES, adapted from this recipe
makes about 4 dozen small cookies
3 cups powdered sugar
¾ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
5 ounces high quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped (65% cacao or more)
¼ cup cocoa nibs
3 large egg whites, room temperature
½ vanilla extract
- In a large bowl, sift together powdered sugar and cocoa powder.
- Stir in the salt, chopped chocolate and cocoa nibs.
- Add egg whites and vanilla; stir with a rubber spatula until just incorporated (do not overmix).
- Line two heavy sheetpans with a silicone baking mat (or parchment paper) and spray lightly with cooking spray.
- With a damp 1” scoop (or a spoon), scoop out balls onto the prepared pan, about 2” apart. Rinse the scoop occasionally – a slightly wet scoop with make work much easier. You may use several sheetpans. (If you don’t have a lot of refrigerator space or enough pans, line a sheetpan with parchment and place the scoops about ½” apart but tightly packed. After chilling, carefully transfer to prepared sheetpans.)
- Cover with plastic wrap and chill 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 325°
- Bake until cookie tops are dry and crackled, about 12 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through – top to bottom, front to back.
- Transfer sheets to wire racks and let cookies cool completely. (To store, keep in an airtight container, up to 3 days.)
- Cookies are best the day they are made but will keep up to three days tightly wrapped. The dough doesn’t freeze particularly well – the cookies lose their shine and chew a bit when the dough is frozen. Not horrible, just not as great.