These chocolate meringue cookies appeared in the LA Times Culinary SOS a while back, and I wrote them down in a notebook because I was intrigued by the title and lack of flour. The recipe sat in my notebook for a few years, partially because they required so many egg whites, but one day I finally decided to make them. When I did, I understood why they named these Chocolate CHEWIES. If you are looking for a flourless chocolate cookie that is chewy, look no further than this recipe! This is chewy to the max.
On crackly tops: I love shiny and crackly tops on cookies and brownies, and part of me thinks they taste better because of how they look. These cookies will yield crackly and shiny tops! As a scientist, I think about the whys of life quite often, most often to do with baking and cooking. Why crackly tops? How? I ascribe somewhat to King Arthur’s theory about crackly tops. My hypothesis is similar but slightly different; the shiny and crackly top is due to the sugar being well dissolved. Just as sugar that is on its way to caramelization has completely melted and is smooth and shiny, the sugar in this cookie is also dissolved well and starts to melt upon going into the oven. However, the sugar syrup is dispersed in stuff that gets in the way of that completely smooth surface, such as cocoa powder and/or eggs, hence the shiny and crackly top. Who knows if this is true? If you have a different theory, chime in, please!
Reasons you should make this cookie:
1) It is way less fattening than a brownie, and just as chocolatey, if not more
2) It has so few ingredients
3) The exec chef AND the owner (who apparently rarely eats dessert!) of the place I stage at tried and enjoyed them..the exec chef ate 4! Wee! Ultimate validation of cookie-making-abilities
4) Its super duper chewiness is not due to butter
Torrance Bakery Chocolate Chewies
Ever so slightly adapted from LA Times section
2 3/4 powdered sugar
7/8 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup egg whites
1/2 lb walnut or pecan pieces
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2) Mix powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and egg whites together with a hand or stand mixer at medium speed, for at least 7 minutes. No less! If you do it by hand, you probably want to double the time. It will be a stiff batter, so be prepared for a workout 😉
3) Stir nuts in by hand.
4) Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a parchment or Silpat-lined baking sheet.
5) Bake 10 minutes at 375 degrees F until the cookies have gone from opaque blobs to being crackly and shiny on top. Don’t overbake. Cool a few minutes on Silpat before transferring onto a cooling rack.
-If you don’t have Dutch-process cocoa powder, natural cocoa powder would work fine. But, I love the Dutched taste!
-As with all cookies, store in an airtight container.
-Several-day old cookies are great crumbled over ice cream 😉
-Make sure you don’t skimp on the nuts! It seems like a lot, but it’s so perfect with the amount of nuts they recommend.
-This recipe makes a ton, Mr. ABC Chef and me can only eat so many, and I don’t know what freezing the dough would do, so I’ve halved it for you. These are best eaten the day of, so don’t let them sit around in an airtight container for too long! (Though, I’d be surprised if they lasted that long).