Baking gluten-free can be challenging, so Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies make for a yummy cookie treat. Perfect for Passover!
The Holiday of Affliction
Growing up, I always anticipated the coming of Passover with a mix of excitement and dread (and a dash of jealousy…I mean, who wouldn’t want jelly beans over matzah!).
The excitement was for seeing my extended family (all my aunts, uncles, cousins, and most importantly, my grandparents) at our family Seder (the celebratory meal).
The dread, of course, came from having to give up bread, and rice, and beans, and only eat matzah and things labelled “kosher for Passover” (dreaded words, believe me) for the week.
Now, I won’t go into all the dietary restrictions that made up Passover in our house, but suffice it to say that they were not something with which to be overjoyed....matzah isn't called the "bread of affliction" for nothing.
Getting creative for Passover
Passover challenges the creativity of many a baker. The constraints against using flour, or being unable to leaven products with baking powder or baking soda, is especially limiting.
Oh sure, you can substitute matzah cake flour and provide lift with whipped egg whites with reasonable success, but even those tricks are…uhm…tricky.
This is the one time of year that I truly appreciate flourless cakes and cookies, so having Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies on hand for munching fits the bill nicely.
Handy-Dandy cookie tips
There are many recipes for Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies, and I zeroed in on these two from Smitten Kitchen and Mamagourmand simply because I had previously pinned their recipes to my Passover Pinterest board (that’s a mouthful!).
One helpful hint that both recipes mention is to let the cookie batter rest for at least 30 minutes before baking, thus allowing the batter to dry a bit and creating more of a lifted cookie (like when making French macarons. If you have the time, don’t skip this important step.
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 chocolate mousse, then you have to be extra careful that no yolks break at all.
Luckily here we're ok.
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.
How to make cookies for Passover
The method for making Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies is simple, basically one-bowl. You only use egg whites in this recipe (although not as a meringue, so no whipping is required).
Preparing cookies sans flour...just cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and egg whites to give these cookies their unique texture.
Toast and chop the walnuts (not too finely).
Here's that one bowl I mentioned earlier. Mixing the dry ingredients, adding in the walnuts, then the egg whites and vanilla.
Letting the batter dry out a bit really helps to make the cookies tall. Don't skip this step!
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).
Also, I used my bake some now/freeze some & bake them later method so that I could have fresh cookies when I was ready (probably later this week!).
I’ve even used them (sans walnuts) to encase vanilla ice cream for gluten-free ice cream sandwiches. Oh, the possibilities…
Happy Passover and Happy Easter to all that celebrate, whether it be with jelly beans or Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!
Recipes for Passover desserts
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...
- Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies - Gluten-free
- The Best Dark Chocolate Pudding - No eggs needed, but this recipe contains cornstarch, so it may or may not be appropriate depending on your level of observance
- French Macarons
- Melt-in-your-mouth Pecan Pralines
- Easy Dark Chocolate Truffles
- Dairy-Free Chocolate Mousse
- Smoffee (Salted Matzah Toffee)
- Irish Whiskey Marshmallows
- Chocolate Mint Chip Gelato
- Easy Kahlua Chocolate Fudge
- White Chocolate Marshmallow Pecan Fudge
Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies (Gluten-Free)
- 2¾ cups walnuts, (10 oz, 280g)
- 3 cups powdered sugar, (12 oz, 340g)
- ⅔ cup cocoa powder, natural or dutch-process (2 oz, 58g)
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- sea salt flakes, optional
- Heat oven to 350°F. Spread the walnut halves on a half sheet baking pan and toast in the oven for about 9 minutes, until they are golden and fragrant. Let cool slightly, then transfer the walnut halves to a work surface and coarsely chop them.
- In a large bowl, whisk the powdered sugar with the cocoa powder and salt followed by the chopped walnuts. Add the egg whites and vanilla extract and stir with a spatula just until the batter is moistened (do not overmix 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.If you can spare the time, 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 (they’ll just flatten out more).
- Bake the cookies for 14 to 16 minutes, until the tops are glossy and lightly cracked; shift the pans from front to back and top to bottom halfway through to ensure even baking. Let cookies cool completely before removing from the pan.
- Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.