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Francois Payard's Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies

few words to say about these cookies except...


the best compliment in the world came from my ever so  fabulous chocoholic mother, who just so happens to be my greatest 'constructive' criticizer...

at first i hear nothing...silence.  then...

"hmmmm...this tastes like one of those $5.00 cookies"

these little, or rather large, gems have been around the block a few times and i have made something similar a while back, BUT i have never used this recipe and exact method...and i made sure i used grade A fabulous Dutch cocoa powder.  well worth the trip to the culinary store (SLT) to get the good stuff.

like i said...few words.  not only do i implore you to add these to your holiday treat list, BUT these are so easy to make, they are a huge chocolate lovers dream AND a big hit for those GLUTEN-FREE peeps that often have to miss out on a good thing.

a few quick notes...
do not over beat.  this should be a little runny, gooey and sticky.
when taking them off the parchment...peel them as though you are peeling an annoying sticky price tag off.  these DO stick to the parchment a don't be in a rush with the spatula. 
these keep well if completely cooled and stored in an airtight container.  do not stack.  i put a double piece of parchment in between the layers and was very careful not to put one directly over the other.
they get chewier the second day, but still have a crisp to them.

recipe found here and copied for your convenience below

2 3/4 cups walnut halves...i only had about 2 cups
3 cups confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)
1/2 cup plus 3 Tbsp. unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 large egg whites, room temp.
1 Tbsp (TABLESPOON) pure vanilla extract
i also added 1/3 cup chopped dark chocolate...GOOD for extra WHAM factor.

preheat oven to 350 F. to toast your walnuts.
lay your walnuts out on a sheet pan and toast your walnuts, approx. 9 minutes.
(i did them in my Breville Smart Oven on # 2) them closely.
let the walnuts cool and coarsely chop.  set aside.
position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and...
in a large bowl, or on low in a stand mixer,  whisk the powdered sugar, cocoa and salt followed by the chopped walnuts.  while whisking, turn your speed to medium and add the egg whites and vanilla extract.  beat until just combined.  DO NOT OVER BEAT OR THE BATTER WILL STIFFEN.  
spoon the batter onto parchment lined cookie sheets.  Francois says 12 evenly spaced mounds...i got 8 per tray (2 trays) and did a second baking with 4, making 20 total.  as you can see mine were fairly large.  
bake them for 14 - 16 minutes until the tops are glossy and lightly cracked.  shift the pans bottom to top and front to back halfway through to ensure even baking.
slide the parchment paper with the cookies onto 2 wire racks and cool cookies completely before attempting to remove. 
as stated above...don't rush to use a spatula.  these will be semi stuck to the parchment.  peel the parchment slowly from the bottom of the cookie.
store in airtight container.  do not stack without parchment or something in between.
i know they will disappear quickly, but i kept a couple aside and the 3rd day they were still outstanding.

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