I started baking when I was twelve. I discovered baking long before I discovered cooking. Back then, I had no idea how exact a science it was. I spent whole weekends in the kitchen in blissful ignorance, mixing up batches of peanut butter cookies that could have been used as hockey pucks, and burned cakes that oozed batter from the middle. My mother stood by patiently and said nothing while I wasted a scandalous amount of sugar and eggs. Eventually my frustration mounted to the point I abandoned baking altogether, turning to dishes I learned to make relatively easily, such as crepes and frittatas.
I didn’t give up on the kitchen but for a long time, I gave up baking. Even when it comes to my blog, I’ve tended to stick to desserts and the odd pastry because I can blend the dough in the food processor. I can whip up a mean dessert but the perfect cookie has eluded me–until now.
Somehow my going gluten free has unleashed the creative side of me and I have a newly awakened desire to bake again. To experiment with healthier flours and ingredients to come up with something as delicious as I used to eat when I ate wheat–or even more so.
These double chocolate almond cookies are chewy and light, made of little more than chocolate and egg whites. Egg whites whipped into stiff peaks are a boon to the flourless baker. So is melted chocolate. Combining the two has led to the discovery of rich ganache-type cakes baked in water baths and fudgy brownies with chewy centres and crackled surfaces. A good meringue has the ability to bring lightness and fluff that is often missing from gluten-free baking.
Cookies have never really been my thing and I have a savoury tooth more than a sweet one, but these. They are at once soft and chewy and deliciously textured, with that crinkly brownie-like tops that shatter into delicious shards as you eat them. The almonds add a bit of extra crunch and visual appeal. And if you are a girl, you should know that men love them. If you make them with guys around, they’ll disappear before you can slip them from the pan. Guys are good at that.
- 225 g / 7.9 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
- 4 large egg whites, room temperature
- 195 g / 1 1/2 cups icing (powder) sugar, divided
- 90 g / 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 35 g / 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- icing sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 400F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- Combine half the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, sea salt in a mixing bowl.
- Melt about 115 grams/ 4 ounces of the chocolate chips on the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Allow to cool while you beat the eggs.
- Beat egg whites in a large bowl, starting at low speed and increasing until they form stiff peaks; beat in the other half the sugar and continue to beat on high for 2 more minutes.
- Decrease mixer to low speed and incrementally beat dry mixture into the egg whites.
- Blend in melted chocolate with a spatula until well incorporated, followed by the rest of the chocolate chips.
- Drop dough onto the cookies sheets. Press almonds gently into cookie dough. Bake for 8 minutes, until the cookies spread and the tops crack.
- Cool on a wire rack and then sift icing sugar over the tops.