Recipes for flourless chocolate cookies have been catching my eye for a while now, and since they seemed similar to the extremely popular flourless peanut butter cookies (both are simply peanut butter or cocoa, egg whites, sugar, and vanilla) I had very high hopes for the outcome.
But I found, batch after batch, that the cookies - although texturally were as promised with crispy, chewy exteriors and gooey fudgy interiors - tasted too much like plain cocoa to me. It was definitely deeply chocolately.. but seemed to be missing something taste-wise.
I wanted to keep the intensity of the chocolateness, but add a smoothness so that it didn't seem so cocoa powder+egg whites in flavor. Throwing some peanut butter into the mix seemed like the perfect solution: it adds a bit of fat (to what was essentially a fat-free cookie) which smooths out the flavors while still complimenting the dark chocolate element.
Chocolate and peanut butter.. they belong together.
Normally I skip sifting ingredients when making cakes or cookies, but I found that with this recipe it was necessary was to break up any lumps from the icing sugar and cocoa powder and avoid unpleasant pockets of cocoa powder.
Once the sugar and cocoa is sifted, the peanut butter and egg whites are stirring in to form a thick, dark, sticky batter. I love using crunchy instead of smooth peanut butter to add a bit of texture, but either works long as it's the natural peanut butter. The kinds with added sugar or oils change the texture of the pb and throw the recipe off balance
Since most eggwhites will vary in volume, I found that for some batches I needed to throw in a little extra powdered sugar to get the dough to the right texture. Anywhere from a couple teaspoons to a couple tablespoons if the eggwhites were really big.
You can adjust this based on what sort of cookie texture you're looking for:
Extremely Sticky dough = very gooey insides, lots of spread while baking which makes for larger, flatter cookies.
Sticky dough: Gooey insides, spreads while baking but doesn't get as flat <-- Goal!
Less sticky dough: Thicker layer of crunchiness on the outside, cookies remain tall and mound-shaped while baking
So don't be afraid of the dough sticking to the spoon or your fingers, sticky dough is your friend. But also know that you won't ruin it by adding a little extra powdered sugar.
They can be a bit delicate right out of the oven, so it's easier to just slide the whole sheet of parchment paper onto the cooling rack and letting them sit until they are firm enough to pick up off the paper.
When it's all said and done you'll have a batch of crackly, crispy cookies with dark fudgy centers and crunchy peanut pieces. They're so rich and decadent tasting that I was surprised to calculate that they only end up being around 125 calories per cookie, which is a plus..because you're going to want more than one.
1 2/3 cups icing sugar
6. Bake the cookies for 10 -13 minutes at 350. Once the tops are shiny and crackled, remove them from the oven. Baking the cookies for 10 - 11 minutes will give you a crispy outside and a soft, fudgy inside. Baking for 12- 13 minutes will start to set the inside of the cookies more firmly. Do not over-bake or the cookies will become hard and chewy throughout. They will be very soft, do not try to remove them from the parchment paper. Instead, take the entire sheet of parchment paper with the cookies on it off of the baking tray and place on a wire cooling rack. After the cookies have cooled for 10 minutes use a spatula to remove them from the parchment paper.