Baking gluten-free can be challenging, so Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies make for a yummy cookie treat. Perfect for Passover!
The Jewish holiday of Passover challenges the creativity of many a baker.
During Passover, observant Jews will eat an unleavened bread called matzo (literally, the "Bread of Affliction"), a bland cracker-like flatbread.
No other grains are permitted, and you can't leaven products with baking powder or baking soda.
It's generally speaking a baker’s nightmare.
Getting creative for Passover
Clever bakers have come up with all sorts of ways to work within these dietary restrictions.
Substituting matzo cake flour (essentially finely ground matzo) and potato starch can be used for cakes. And of course whipped egg whites can provide lift.
Or, just leaving off the idea of making a Passover-friendly cake and go a different route. Chocolate Mousse is perfect for dessert (and it's dairy-free!), and Salted Matzo Toffee (aka Matzo Crack) is quite a treat.
But sometimes only a cookie will do, so having Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies fits the bill nicely. Toasted walnuts, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and egg whites give these cookies their crispy, chewy, fudgy texture.
The ingredients are basic and usually at hand. No special trips to the store are required.
How to make Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies
Making a Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookie recipe is a simple, basically one-bowl method. You only use egg whites in this recipe, although not as a meringue, so no whipping is required.
Step 1: Prepare the walnuts
Toasting the walnuts deepens their flavor, and complements the sweetness of the chocolate. Chopping the walnuts (not too finely), gives structure to the cookie.
You need something to chew on!
Step 2: Mix the batter
Here's that one bowl I mentioned. Whisk the dry ingredients together, stir in the walnuts, then add the egg whites and vanilla.
Sifting the powdered sugar and cocoa powder together first (I like using this sifter) helps to avoid chasing lumps around your bowl.
Step 3: Scoop out the batter into mounds
The batter will be sticky, so line your pan with either a Silpat silicone mat or parchment paper sprayed with baking spray. If these cookies are for Passover, use one that follows the dietary rules, like this kosher for Passover baking spray.
Letting the batter dry out a bit really helps to keep the cookies tall and mounded like when making French macarons. If you don't, the cookies will flatten out a lot more. Don't skip this step!
Step 4: Bake and cool the cookies
The cookies get a wonderful crispy, chewy shell as they bake.
After baking, sprinkle the cookies with sea salt and let them cool completely on the pan. They are delicate while warm, so let the cookies firm up before attempting to move them.
A better way to separate eggs
In regards to the egg whites, there are many ways to separate eggs. Usually I just dunk my hand into the bowl and fish out the yolks.
When I have a few to catch (and I want to be accurate), I use an egg separator. If you’re careful how you break the eggs, this tool makes quick work of keeping the yolk whole.
Because you aren't making a meringue with the whites, it's ok if a little bit of the yolk gets in there. But if you are needing to whip up those whites into meringue, like when making macarons, then you have to be extra careful that no yolks break at all.
Luckily here we're ok.
Questions asked and answered
Here are some questions that you might have...
I keep saying that these cookies can be eaten during Passover because they’re flourless, but they do use powdered sugar which contains cornstarch. Depending on how observant you are, the prohibition against eating rice, beans, and corn has been lifted, so using powdered sugar might be acceptable. If, however, you want to play it safe, use kosher for Passover powdered sugar, or make your own using the method in the recipe notes.
The baking spray I use contains flour, which isn't allowed during Passover. Use a baking spray that just contains vegetable oil, or get a kosher for Passover baking spray if that's an issue for you.
Yes, although the resulting cookies will be much flatter (like with these gluten-free ice cream sandwiches). The nuts help provide structure. You can replace the nuts with chocolate chips for a slightly better cookie mound.
A crispy, chewy, chocolatey cookie
Chewy on the outside, soft and fudgy on the inside, with a crunch of nuts and a hint of salt, these Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies have a wonderful texture.
You’ll never know they’re gluten-free, although I can’t claim them to be guilt-free.
Perfect for Passover, or anytime, really!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!
Passover is tough on a baker, having to leave off using flour and leavening. But that doesn't mean sweets are off the menu during Passover. Here are some ideas...
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Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies (Gluten-Free)
- 2¾ cups walnuts, whole, see Recipe Notes
- 3 cups powdered sugar, see Recipe Notes
- ⅔ cup cocoa powder, natural or dutch-process
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- sea salt flakes, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Spread the walnut halves on a half sheet baking pan lined with a Silpat slicone mat or parchment paper and toast them for about 9 minutes, until they are golden and fragrant. Let the walnut halves cool slightly, then transfer them to a work surface and coarsely chop.
- Position two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and lower temperature to 325°F. Line two half sheet baking pans with a Silpat slicone mat or parchment paper. If you're using parchment paper, spray it with baking spray to ensure the cookies don't stick (see Recipe Notes).
- In a large bowl, use a sifter to mix the powdered sugar with the cocoa powder. Stir in the salt, then the chopped walnuts.
- Add the egg whites and vanilla extract and stir with a spatula just until the batter is moistened. Try not to overmix the batter or it will stiffen (we’re not trying to whip these egg whites as we would for a meringue).
- Scoop two tablespoons of the batter onto the baking sheets in evenly spaced mounds using a small cookie scoop. Let the batter rest at room temperature on their trays for 30 to 60 minutes to dry before baking. It’s also fine to bake them right away, but they’ll not be quite so mounded.
- Bake the cookies for 14 to 16 minutes, until the tops are glossy and lightly cracked. Rotate the pans and swap the pan's positions in the oven halfway through to ensure even baking.
- Lightly sprinkle the cookies with sea salt flakes, then let them cool completely before removing from the pan.