Cookies,  Desserts,  Gluten-free,  Other,  Passover,  Snacks

Leah’s Fudgy, Flourless Chocolate-Almond Macaroons

There’s no denying it—every fudgy bite of this flourless almond cookie says it’s the Macaroon’s Macaroon.

I grew up thinking macaroons were those sugary coconut mounds sold in cans during Passover. They were such a holiday ritual that there should have been a spot for them on our Seder Plate. They were okay, but who’d ever want to eat them the rest of the year?

Then along came “macarons,” the French almond-meringue, attitude-filled confections that look like pastel rainbows in pastry cases. They no doubt dropped the “o” to distance themselves from their macaroon relatives and signal that they are très cher. They make a lovely occasional treat, but nothing I’d ever crave.

Now, here’s a macaroon that is craveable, no matter how many o’s in the name. Leah Greenwald, Chocolate Confectionery Consultant at the Recipephany Test Kitchens, has developed this simple recipe for a deep, dark fudgy macaroon that is a special occasion cookie all year round. In true Recipephany style, Leah’s chewy chocolate bites showed me what a macaroon is supposed to be.

Leah developed this recipe as a gift to those of us who feel compelled to make flourless chocolate cakes for Passover. (My go-to is Zell Schulman’s Chocolate Mousse Torte from Israel). Leah’s macaroons are an easy, yet satisfying, alternative to a large, rich cake and the fuss it entails. These smallish macaroons will fulfill the holiday demand for chocolate in all its fudgy goodness and yet still give those around the table a chance to exercise portion control. Recipephany, however, cannot guarantee that you will stop at one. (Our legal department requires this disclaimer.)

And if you really want to amplify the wow factor, bring out some of Leah’s Blood Orange Sorbet (Without an Ice Cream Machine). A scoop of this gorgeous sorbet alongside the macaroon might just reset your concept of what dessert should cap off a Passover seder—or any special dinner for that matter. And it may throw out the concept of portion control.

Leah’s Fudgy, Flourless Chocolate-Almond Macaroons

Leah says, “These are distantly related to ones from François Payard in Paris. I use super-fine almond flour which you can buy in a supermarket, but you could buy simple ground almonds or grind whole ones yourself (be careful not to grind too long or they’ll start to become almond butter). Also, this recipe probably works with hazelnuts, walnuts, etc.”

Suggested equipment:

Stand mixer with paddle attachment

Tablespoon cookie scoop (such as the Zeroll 2040, 1 9/16 inch, for producing 2-inch cookies)

Makes about 50 1½-inch cookies, or about 32 2-inch cookies

  • 3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder (68 grams) (we use Hershey’s Special Dark)
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar (350 grams)
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 ¾ cups almond flour (272 grams)*
  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (15 grams)

1.  Place a rack each in the upper and bottom thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees on regular bake (not convection) setting. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (If using parchment paper on a rimless baking sheet, put a dot of vegetable oil on the sheet to stick the paper to it.)

2.  Combine cocoa powder, confectioners’ sugar, salt and almond flour in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 1 minute. With the mixer running, slowly add the egg whites and vanilla.  Mix on medium speed for 1/2 minute to 1 minute, just until the batter is moistened and the mixture has slightly thickened. Do not overmix it or the egg whites will thicken it too much. This makes a dense, sticky batter; think of it as chocolate epoxy.

3.  Scoop the batter onto the prepared baking sheets by about tablespoonfuls, with at least 1.5” between them. (A cookie scoop makes it easy to release the sticky dough and produces nice mounds.) If the batter is too thick to settle into smooth mounds, use wet fingers to neaten the shapes to something close to a hemisphere. If you are using small cookie sheets and have extra batter, wait until the first batch of cookies is baked before scooping the next batch.

4.  Put the cookies in the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 320 degrees.  Bake for 14 to 17 minutes, or until small thin cracks appear on the surface of the cookies. Switch the pans halfway through baking.  Pull the parchment paper with the cookies onto a wire cooling rack, and let cool completely before removing the cookies from the paper. They will stick to the paper slightly because the water from your fingers when you shaped them liquefied a tiny bit of batter, which gets sticky when it bakes. Just push them off or use an offset spatula if needed.

5.  Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. These freeze well.

*We’ve used Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods’ 365 brand. We got a prettier cookie with the Whole Foods’ brand, but we can’t say that was the cause.

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