Thursday, March 26, 2015

Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies for Passover

Top pastry chef Francois Payard makes keeping kosher for Passover easy, offering a range of non-leavened, gluten-free desserts for the holiday. This is a fabulous and easy recipe for Passover or any time. As always the quality depends on the cocoa! Thanks, Chef Francois, for the recipe and photo!

Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies

1/2 cup  plus 3 tablespoons (68 grams) Dutch-process cocoa powder
3 cups (350 grams) confectioners’ sugar
Pinch of salt
2 3/4 cups (272 grams) walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 tsp (15 grams) pure vanilla extract

Place a rack in upper and bottom thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Combine cocoa powder, confectioners’ sugar, salt, and walnuts in bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 1 minute.

With mixer running, slowly add  egg whites and vanilla. Mix on medium speed for 3 minutes, until mixture has slightly thickened. Do not overmix or egg whites will thicken too much.

With 2-ounce cookie or ice cream scoop or generous tablespoon, scoop batter onto prepared baking sheet to make cookies that are 4 inches in diameter. Scoop 5 cookies on each sheet (these are big cookies, about 3 inches apart so they don’t stick when they spread. If you have extra batter, wait until first batch of cookies is baked before scooping next batch.

Put cookies in oven, and immediately lower temperature to 320°F. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, or until small thin cracks appear on surface of the cookies. Switch pans halfway through baking. Pull parchment paper with cookies onto wire cooling rack, and let cool completely before removing cookies from paper. Store in airtight container for up to 2 days.


François Payard is a third generation pastry chef, who, after honing his skills by his family’s side and in the finest pastry kitchens in France, moved to New York where he was named “Pastry Chef of the Year” by the James Beard Foundation. Francois Payard has won numerous awards, such as the “Ordre du Mérite Agricole” by the French Government in 2004, he became a member of Relais Desserts International in 2006, an association of the 85 best pastry chefs in the world and in 2010 received the Dom Perignon Award of Excellence. 

Branches of Payard have opened at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Japan and Korea. In November 2009, the François Chocolate Bar opened in New York City. Described as “a chocolate jewelry shop,” this shop was devoted to Chef Payard’s chocolate creations. In September 2010, François opened FPB, a casual bakery on West Houston Street in downtown New York City. FPB is the first of several collaborative projects from François and restaurateur Marlon Abela of Marlon Abela Restaurant Corporation (MARC), whose portfolio also includes the A Voce restaurants in New York City, as well as other restaurants in the U.S. and London. A second location of FPB opened in Battery Park City in October 2012 and a third location opened in May 2012 at Columbus Circle. Francois opened his first FP Patisserie at the Plaza Hotel in the Todd English Food Hall in the spring of 2012. In October 2012, he opened his flagship location of FP Patisserie on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. FP Patisserie features an elegant bar, pastry shop and salon de thé. 

Not just a chef, François is also the author of the popular cookbooks Bite Size: Elegant Recipes for Entertaining, Simply Sensational Desserts and Chocolate Epiphany: Exceptional Cookies, Cakes, and Confections for Everyone. His most recent cookbook, PAYARD DESSERTS, was released in 2013.


Mae Travels said...

For someone who is totally serious about Passover dietary laws, ordinary powdered sugar would not be kosher -- so the procedure would have to begin with making special-purpose powdered sugar.

Ms. Goodbutton said...

Hi, thanks for having a recipe for these cookies by weight. I did find one discrepancy: 15 grams of vanilla extract is not 1 tsp, but 1 tbsp. Thanks again!