I had an awesome, low-key birthday. I always feel like Thanksgiving is my secret birthday party, in that I get to see all of my friends, eat and drink well, and have a ton of fun, but nobody realizes that my birthday is just around the corner (or sometimes, had just passed the day before). It’s nice, because nobody really needs to know! There’s no birthday pressure and I don’t feel like I’m supposed to go crazy or get drunk – I can just enjoy some good company and relax. We did celebrate a bit early this weekend when my brothers were still here, first, by going to see Grace on Saturday on Broadway with Michael Shannon and Paul Rudd. I should have known it’d be weird with Michael Shannon involved, but it was good all the same and it’s always exciting to go see a play. We can really only afford to go to one a year because of how outrageously expensive they are, and I think we made a good choice. On Sunday, we headed over to The Tenement Museum, which if you know me, you’ll recognize as a place I’ve been wanting to check out for a while and is right up my alley in the cool-old-New-York-stuff department. I did major in American history in college, after all! Following the museum, we went for oysters and cocktails at The Grey Lady, conveniently located right next door. We finished our oysters and wrapped up my brothers’ trip with one of my favorite bars in Brooklyn, Noorman’s Kil, where we had bourbon and grilled cheese sandwiches with tomatoes and mustard (don’t knock it ’til you try it). I’m sad that my brothers are gone, but hopefully they will be able to make another trip out soon. On Monday, which was my actual birthday, Kramer and I were absolutely exhausted from our four day weekend, so we had a quiet dinner from The Meatball Shop (the meatballs are great, but their polenta is amazing) and watched this week’s episodes of Homeland and The Walking Dead. I’m an old lady at 24 years now, and I don’t think I could have had a better birthday.
I made these cookies what seems like ages ago, but I figured that they’d be best served as a holiday cookie recipe and saved them until now. I baked them before going to a friend’s birthday party (Danielle of Least Likely) who has to eat gluten-free, and to be honest, I was a bit troubled as to what to make. I’m not a gluten-free or vegan baker. I have no idea what substitutes are good to use because, in all honesty, I’ve never used any. I was trying to think of something tasty but without a bunch of weird flours and whatnot, as well as without peanut butter, because I worry about bringing something like that to a party where I don’t know how severe other peoples’ allergies may be. I landed on these flourless chocolate cookies. They were absolutely perfect; chewy on the inside, slightly crisp around the edges, with a light, almost meringue-like texture. It doesn’t hurt that they are absolutely exploding with rich, gooey chocolate. The key to these is to use a high quality cocoa powder, as that is the only base with which the cookies are held together. I chose Rodelle, who has been kind enough to share their products with me. The cocoa powder is truly delightful, with a strong cocoa flavor, unlike some of the chalky, less expensive brands. Now, I’m not going to worry about using a cheaper brand when the recipe calls for a teaspoon or two of cocoa, but these flourless chocolate cookies require something with more depth of flavor. Thankfully, I’ve got a big ol’ container for Rodelle’s cocoa powder and a tube of their lovely vanilla beans to give away to one of you. Just comment here – you can tell me how you can’t wait to make these particular cookies, or what you’re looking forward to baking in general this holiday season. I’ll pick a winner a week from now and ship out the products just in time for your cookie baskets to go out!
- 2½ cups powdered sugar
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2½ cups semisweet chocolate chips or roughly chopped chocolate
- *feel free to add walnuts, pecans, M&Ms, or any other add-in
- sea salt, for sprinkling (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 (or 4, if you’re like me and pop another tray in right when the first has come out of the oven). If you’re baking for someone with a gluten allergy, don’t do this, but if not, sprinkle the parchment with a bit of flour (or, if you have it, rice or almond flour), as the cookies can be a bit sticky when coming off of the parchment. I didn’t do this, but I think I will in the future. You’ll definitely need a spatula to wiggle them off the parchment later on.
- In your mixer (or, honestly, in a big bowl with a heavy wooden spoon), mix together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and salt. Beat in the egg whites until well combined, followed by the vanilla, then fold in the chocolate. Don’t freak out – the batter is supposed to look deflated and weird.
- Scoop about 2 teaspoons worth of dough about 2-inches apart from one another onto your trays (they will spread). Sprinkle with just a touch of sea salt, if you like, and bake for 13-15 minutes, until the surfaces are set and slightly cracked. Allow to cool completely before removing from the trays with a spatula. These will keep well in an airtight container for up to 1 week at room temperature.