In case you missed it, I joined another baking group last month. We're baking thru Chocolate Epiphany: Exceptional Cookies, Cakes, and Confections for Everyone by Francois Payard. Some of the recipes in the book are quite extravagant — to me, a little on the difficult side — but probably because I read thru the book rather quickly.
I got to choose this month's Chocolate w/Francois creation. I wasn't really up for a challenge yet so I chose something super quick & easy. As stated in the cookbook:
Their crackled surface gives them an elegant look, and because they're so easy and take barely any time [or effort] to make, they are great for last-minute entertaining. They have a slightly crunchy texture and a soft, almost brownie-like interior.Enough said. These were awesome!
• 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
• 3 cups confectioners' sugar
• pinch of salt
• 2 3/4 cups walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
• 4 large egg whites, room temp.
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Place a rack each in the upper and bottom thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Combine cocoa powder, confectioners' sugar, salt and walnuts in the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 1 minute. With the mixer running, slowly add the egg whites and vanilla. Mix on medium speed for 3 minutes, until the mixture has slightly thickened. Do not overmix it, or the egg whites will thicken too much.
With a 2 ounce cookie or ice scream scoop or a generous tablespoon, scoop the batter onto the prepared baking sheets, to make cookies that are 4 inches in diameter. Scoop 5 cookies on each pan, about 3 inches apart so they don't stick when they spread. If you have extra batter, wait until the first batch of cookies is baked before scooping the next batch.
Put the cookies in the oven, and immediately lower the temperature to 320 degrees F. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, or until small thin cracks appear on the surgace of the cookies. Switch the pans halfway through baking. Pull the parchment paper with the cookies onto a wire rack, and let cool completely before removing the cookies from the paper. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
NEXT MONTH: Pine Nut Turron Cake