Friday, May 6, 2011
Chocolate Soufflé Cookies
After a run of ice cream making and then some escapades with flan, I seem to have arrived at a moment where I’m up to my elbows in egg whites. While it may seem odd to plan a baking session wholly based on this sort of excess, I happened to remember a cookie recipe I’d been wanting to try from cookie goddess, Alice Medrich. To be sure, the designation of cookie goddess is well deserved. Alice Medrich has some of the best compilations of cookie recipes on the planet.
This recipe belongs to Alice Medrich and of course it’s about chocolate, her singular obsession. These are small, 2 or 3 bite cookies that are made with just a few basic ingredients. Chocolate that has been melted and cooled is gently folded into a light meringue along with finely chopped walnuts. It's exactly like preparing a soufflé or a mousse. The result is a light little cloud of a cookie that is crispy on the outside and moist and chewy on the inside with lots of chocolate intensity. Pass around a platter of these and they will take flight in no time.
- This is the time to use your favorite good quality chocolate.
- The best method for making meringue is to start with egg whites that are at room temperature, so don't forget to set out your egg whites. Once the chill is off, place them in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on medium speed. Add a pinch of cream of tartar or some other acid such as lemon juice or vinegar, which stabilizes the meringue by preventing the bubbles from bursting once you stop beating. When they are foamy, increase to medium high speed and continue whisking until they are opaque and form a soft peak. Slowly add sugar a bit at a time and continue whipping until the meringue forms stiff shiny peaks that hold their shape. Egg whites will lose their shine, look dry and start to separate into clumps when they are over beaten. Be sure to bake as soon as possible because meringue will start to deflate fairly quickly when handled.
- I used a truffle scoop to portion my cookies.
- I don’t recommend trying to double this recipe. The cookie batter needs to be scooped and baked right away.
- I’d be very tempted to add some cinnamon to this cookie next time around. I would also lightly toast the walnuts.
- These cookies are best eaten on the same day but will keep 2 - 3 days when stored in an airtight container.
Chocolate Soufflé Cookies
adapted from Alice Medrich at Fine Cooking
Makes about 40 1 1/2" cookies
6 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
2 large egg whites @ room temperature
1/8 t cream of tartar
1/2 t vanilla
1/4 C sugar
3/4 C finely chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silpats.
Chop the chocolate into very small pieces and place in a heatproof bowl. Melt the chocolate over a bain marie, making sure the bowl is not touching the water. Take off the heat and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool.
Whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until they are opaque and soft peaks form. Continue whipping and gradually add the vanilla and sugar until the egg whites hold stiff peaks but are not dry.
Gently sprinkle the nuts and pour the cooled chocolate over the whipped whites. Fold the mixture together until the color is just about uniform, doing your best not to deflate the egg whites.
Immediately drop level teaspoons of batter onto the baking sheets, leaving at least 1” spacing between the cookies. Bake until cookies are shiny and cracked, about 10 to 12 minutes. They should be firm on the outside but still gooey inside when you nudge them.
Transfer the cookies to wire racks and cool completely.