This is a curious recipe, based on the famous featherweight chocolate cookies at the (now defunct) Payard New York City patisserie. The cookies it produces are utterly chewy, studded with flecks of walnuts, and very, very chocolatey. They're rich without being too sweet, and so chewy you almost feel like you're eating a caramel. This, in our opinion, is a very good thing.
The recipe, it turns out, is really just a modified meringue, with barely-beaten egg whites, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar. There's no fat except for what's in the nuts. It's the strangest cookie recipe we know. The thick, goopy batter always looks very unpromising. But then it turns out these shiny, crackly cookies, with a minimum of work and an incredibly chewy texture and chocolate taste.
We learned the recipe from Orangette and haven't looked back. This is one of the first recipes we reach for when the weather gets cold and we want a cookie with our coffee. It's also a splendid treat for gluten-free folks, as long as the powdered sugar is gluten-free (some aren't certified GF).
Here are the recipes, one the original version from Payard, and the other from Orangette.
A couple notes:
• If you make these, don't automatically add all the egg whites. You want the batter to be thick and goopy — not wet and runny. So if it's thick, goopy, and scoopable, stop there.
• The parchment is absolutely essential. Also, let the cookies cool for at least 10 minutes before trying to peel them off the parchment. Otherwise, they will stick. If you let them cool completely the paper will peel off without taking a crumb.
Have you ever made these delightfully chewy cookies?
(Images: Faith Durand)