Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies are easy-to-make cookies with egg whites and needs only one bowl. These fudgy, chewy chocolate cookies are perfect for Passover or anytime you want gluten-free cookies!
Why this recipe works
- Flourless chocolate cookies have a crispy, chewy, fudgy texture
- Perfect for Passover or for those wanting a gluten-free cookie
- You can make walnut chocolate cookies, or use chocolate chips instead for a nut-free cookie
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 yeast, baking powder, or baking soda.
It is, 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 for cakes and cookies. One possibility is to substitute matzo cake flour (essentially finely ground matzo) and potato starch for the flour. 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. And, of course, there are Macarons that contain almond flour and egg whites, both fine for Passover.
But sometimes only a chocolate cookie will do, so having fudgy, chewy Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies fit the bill nicely.
What you need
These walnut chocolate cookies get their structure from powdered sugar, egg whites, toasted chopped walnuts, and cocoa powder. Together, these ingredients give these cookies their crispy, chewy, fudgy texture. Vanilla, salt, and a sprinkling of sea salt add flavor.
The ingredients are basic and are usually at hand. No special trips to the store are required.
How to make flourless chocolate cookies with walnuts
Making a flourless chocolate cookie recipe has a simple, one-bowl method. This is a cookie recipe with egg whites, although not as a meringue (like with French Macarons), so no whipping is required.
Step 1: Prepare the walnuts
Spread the walnut halves on a half sheet baking pan lined with a Silpat silicone mat or parchment paper and toast them at 350˚F 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 them (photo 1). Lower the oven to 325˚F.
Toasting the walnuts deepens their flavor, and complements the sweetness of the chocolate. Chopping the walnuts coarsely gives structure to the cookie. You need something to chew on!
Step 2: Mix the batter
Here's that one bowl I mentioned. Use a sifter to mix the powdered sugar with the cocoa powder, then whisk to combine (photo 2). Sifting the powdered sugar and cocoa powder together helps to avoid chasing lumps around your bowl.
Stir in the salt, then the chopped walnuts (photo 3).
Add the egg whites and vanilla extract and stir with a spatula just until the batter is moistened (photo 4). Try not to over-mix the batter or it will stiffen.
Step 3: Scoop out the batter into mounds
Use a small cookie scoop to portion the batter into 1 tablespoon mounds onto your half sheet baking pans. 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 a baking spray that follows the dietary rules.
Let the batter dry at room temperature on their trays for 30 to 60 minutes before baking (photo 5). It’s also fine to bake them right away, but they’ll not be quite so mounded. If you have the time, don't skip this step.
Step 4: Bake and cool the cookies
Bake the cookies at 325˚F for 14 to 16 minutes, until the tops are glossy and lightly cracked. Rotate the pans and swap their positions in the oven halfway through to ensure even baking. The cookies get a wonderful crispy, chewy shell as they bake.
After the cookies come out of the oven, lightly sprinkle them with sea salt flakes (photo 6). These cookies need to firm up after baking, so let them cool completely on the pan. If you try to transfer them too soon, they can fall apart or leave half the cookie behind. Just be patient, and you'll have pretty, mounded cookies.
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: For the 3 cups of powdered sugar needed for this recipe, grind 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon (10 grams) potato starch in an electric coffee or spice grinder until powdery. Measure and use as needed.
Yes, although the resulting cookies will be much flatter (like with these gluten-free ice cream sandwiches). The nuts help provide structure. For a nut-free cookie, you can replace the nuts with chocolate chips for a slightly better cookie mound.
Pro Tip: 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. Then they're ready for another use like lemon curd, pudding, or maybe Boston Cream Pie (although after Passover).
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.
Chewy, fudgy gluten-free chocolate cookies
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 flavor and 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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Fudgy Chewy Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies
- baking spray see Recipe Notes
- 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 with two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
- Spread the walnut halves on a half sheet baking pan lined with a Silpat silicone 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.
- Lower the oven 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 so the cookies don't stick (see Recipe Notes).
- Sift the powdered sugar and cocoa powder into a large bowl, then whisk to combine. Stir in the salt, then the chopped walnuts.
- Mix in the egg whites and vanilla extract until the batter is just moistened. Don't over-mix the batter or it will stiffen (we’re not trying to whip these egg whites as we would for a meringue).
- Scoop one tablespoon of the batter onto the baking sheets in evenly spaced mounds using a small cookie scoop. Let the batter dry at room temperature on their trays for 30 to 60 minutes before baking. It’s also fine to bake them right away, but they’ll not be quite so mounded. If you have the time, don't skip this step.
- Bake the cookies for 14 to 16 minutes, until the tops are glossy and lightly cracked. Rotate the pans and swap their positions in the oven halfway through to ensure even baking.
- After the cookies come out of the oven, lightly sprinkle them with sea salt flakes. These cookies need to firm up after baking, so let them cool completely on the pan. If you try to transfer them too soon, they can fall apart or leave half the cookie behind. Just be patient, and you'll have pretty, mounded cookies.
- Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.