Test Kitchen: Passover-Approved Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies

By Stephanie Smith, Nutrition student with Journalism focus

Something I always look forward to is exploring new cultures and religions. Learning about a way of life unlike my own is interesting and exciting. At BU, we’re fortunate to be surrounded by many different cultures and religions that we can learn from.

At the test kitchen last week, we made Passover-approved flourless chocolate walnut cookies. I’ve never really been familiar with all that Passover entails, but this year I got to learn a lot about the holiday’s meaning and the traditions that many families practice.

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During Passover, those who celebrate cannot eat any wheat, barley, rye, spelt, oats, or any leavened bread. This custom stems from the Passover story in which the Hebrew slaves had to escape Egypt so quickly that their bread didn’t have a chance to leaven. That’s why matzo is a popular bread substitute during Passover—because it does not contain yeast to leaven. To be sure that the food eaten during Passover is not tainted with any bit of these products, you can look for a label that says “Kosher for Passover” in the grocery store.

I heard from a few Jewish students at the test kitchen that it is hard to find sweets acceptable to eat during Passover. We were all excited to find this recipe from the Smitten Kitchen for Passover Chocolate Walnut cookies.

The recipe did not use any sort of flour and called for only a short list of ingredients: walnuts, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt, egg whites, and vanilla extract. All of which were “Kosher for Passover.” Sometimes, it can be difficult to find the powdered sugar that is “Kosher for Passover,” so there’s a recipe included if you cannot find it.

IMG_6367Everyone loved the cookies – they were quickly devoured. They were a great flourless, sweet, kosher treat for those that do not eat leavened bread during Passover. Everyone agreed that they tasted like thin brownies, we also agreed that they were very sweet. We came to a consensus that next time, we’d be a little adventurous and reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe.

Overall, they are a great flourless cookie alternative – not only to be made during Passover, but anytime!

Sargent Choice Flourless Chocolate-Walnut Cookies
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen blog
(Adapted from Franlois Payard’s Chocolate Epiphany)
Yield: approximately 28 cookies

Ingredients:
2 ¾ cups walnut halves
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Spread the walnut halves on a large-rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 9 minutes, until they are golden and fragrant. Let cool slightly, then transfer the walnut halves to a work surface and coarsely chop them.
2. Position two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and lower temperature to 320. Line two large-rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
3. In a large bowl, whisk the confectioner’s sugar with the cocoa powder and salt followed by the chopped walnuts. Add the egg whites and vanilla extract and beat just until the batter is moistened (do not overbeat or it will stiffen).
4. Spoon the batter onto the baking sheet in14 evenly spaced mounds, and bake for 14-16 minutes, until the tops are glossy and lightly cracked; shift the pans from front to back and top to bottom halfway through to ensure even baking. Slide the parchment paper (with the cookies) onto 2 wire racks. Let cool completely. Enjoy!

Recipe for Passover Powdered Sugar (if unable to purchase):
1/3 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon potato starch
Grind sugar and potato starch together in an electric coffee or spice grinder or blender until light and powdery. This can be scaled up in equal ratios.

Nutrition:

                                  1 cookie

Calories 130
Fat 7 g
Saturated Fat 0.5g
Protein 2 g
Carbohydrates 15 g
Fiber 1 g

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