I’d never have believed it if I hadn’t tried them myself, but a cookie without butter? Sounds like a sin, like a “diet” cookie that couldn’t possibly satisfy, but after seeing the recipe on Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks, I had to give them a try, just because I love recipes with weird omissions. And you know what? They turned out to be one of those rare recipes that delighted everyone who tried one. The texture was just as Heidi described, a brownie-chew of a center with the delicate crispness of a hard meringue on the outside. And since I love walnuts, the toasted nuttiness made these cookies extra special. You can play with how much you toast the nuts based on your preference, and a milder toasting imparts more of a sensation of chocolate chips…an acceptable compromise. What I also like is that the recipe creates a batter rather than a dough, resulting in a natural spread-out for awesome-sized cookie satisfaction.
Chocolate Puddle Cookies
3 c. walnut halves, toasted & cooled
4 c. (or 1 box) of powdered sugar
1/2 c. plus 3 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
scant 1/2 t. fine grain sea salt
4 large egg whites, room temp
1 T. vanilla
Preheat oven to 320F and position racks in the top and bottom third. Line three (preferably rimmed) baking sheets with parchment paper. After your walnuts have cooled, chop them coarsely and set aside. Sift together the sugar, cocoa, and salt. Stir in the walnuts, then add the egg whites and vanilla. Stir until well combined.
Spoon the batter onto the prepared sheets in mounds of about 2 tablespoons each, allowing for PLENTY of room between cookies. Don’t try to get more than 6 cookies on each sheet, and avoid placing the batter too close to the edge of the pan.
Bake until they puff up. The tops should get glossy, and then crack a bit – about 12 -15 min. You may want to rotate the pans top/bottom/back/front.
Slide the cookies still on parchment onto a cooling rack, and let them cool completely. They will keep in an airtight for a couple days… if they last that long.
Makes 18 large cookies.