Chocolate Puddle Cookies

Chocolate Puddle Cookies Recipe

I came across a cookie when I visited Portland a couple years back. It was a crackle-edged puddle of chocolate with a texture that made me think of a collision between soft meringue and a fudgy brownie. I kid you not, love is not too strong a word to use here. I fell hard for this cookie.

Chocolate Puddle Cookie Recipe

Without getting too serious, I've been having an internal debate about whether or not I should post this recipe. When I post sweets or treats, I like them to have some sort of whole grain twist, or feature a natural sweetener. I mean, that's usually how I cook and bake. But I have a big-time crush on this cookie, and I figured I'd post the recipe in all it's powdered sugar, chocolaty glory in case some of you want to make a batch. In short, there are just six ingredients between you a baking sheet of these, no mixer necessary - just a big bowl and wooden spoon.

As far as the origins of this recipe? I came across a recipe shortly after my return from Portland that sounded very close to the cookie I tasted there (they seemed to be a version of the François Payard's Flourless Chocolate-Walnut Cookie), but the recipe I was working from didn't work all that well for me. The good news is, it did provide a good starting point. I adjusted a few ingredients and my technique, and now I've been able to make them reliably. That being said, please read the head notes before making these, they have a few quirks that aren't like other cookies - and I've outlined the exact ingredients I've tested and had success with.

Chocolate Puddle Cookies

I've used both 365 organic powdered sugar from Whole Foods, and Hain organic powdered sugar with success. I prefer to use non-alkalized cocoa powder (Scharffen Berger or Dagoba) but also tested with Droste, which is a Dutch-process cocoa powder. All with success. On the nut front, be mindful of how you toast your walnuts - it's the single factor that impacts the personality of these cookies most. Using deeply toasted walnuts makes for a much more intense, nutty cookie. Lightly toasted walnuts can sometimes be mistaken for chocolate chips, and make for a much more mild cookie. Both good! Also, cooking time - you don't want to over or under bake here - over bake, and your cookies will cool too a crisp, under bake, and they are too floppy and crumbly. Also, underbaking makes it more difficult to remove the cookies from the parchment paper after baking - you get the swing of it after a batch or two. Use large eggs, I suspect if you use extra-large, the batter will run, and you'll have to compensate with more powdered sugar.

3 cups / 11 oz / 310 g walnut halves, toasted & cooled
4 cups / 1 lb / 453 g confectioner's (powdered) sugar

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons / 2 oz / 60 g unsweetened cocoa powder

scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 tablespoon real, good-quality vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 320F / 160C degrees and position racks in the top and bottom third. Line three (preferably rimmed) baking sheets with parchment paper. Or you can bake in batches with fewer pans.

Make sure your walnuts have cooled a bit, then chop coarsely and set aside. Sift together the confectioner's sugar, cocoa powder, and sea salt. Stir in the walnuts, then add the egg whites and vanilla. Stir until well combined.

Spoon the batter onto the prepared sheets in mounds of about 2 tablespoons each, allowing for PLENTY of room between cookies. These cookies are like reverse Shrinky Dinks - they really expand. Don't try to get more than 6 cookies on each sheet, and try to avoid placing the batter too close to the edge of the pan.

Bake until they puff up. The tops should get glossy, and then crack a bit - about 12 -15 minutes. Have faith, they look sad at first, then really blossom. You may want to rotate the pans top/bottom/back/front.

Slide the cookies still on parchment onto a cooling rack, and let them cool completely. They will keep in an airtight for a couple days.

Makes 18 large cookies.

Prep time: 20 minutes - Cook time: 15 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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Comments

  • Do you think there is anyway to make these refined sugar-free with liquid sweeteners like honey or and stevia?

    Ari- Food Intolerances Cook
  • I haven't made the cookies from this post yet, but they look and sound a lot like the chocolate brownie cookies in Claudia Fleming's The Last Course. Also a fabulous light-but-decadent cookie.

    Margaret
  • well, i probably won't make these sinful cookies but i think it's fun that you're posting them. and i do have to admit that i added dark chocolate chips to my recent batch of your "special zucchini bread". i guess we all have a soft spot for chocolate sometimes. :)

    kristen
  • They look great! And naturally gluten free! I've made a similar cookie that includes shaved coconut and chopped walnuts, but I'll have to try this one too.

    Mary
  • Delicious! I vote for deeply toasted, when it comes to nuts, and actually that pecan suggestion sounds like a winner! I'll report back if I end up making them...

    Bethany
  • I live in Portland and they have these cookies from Nuvrei bakery at the stumptown in the ace hotel, which is block from my work. I love these cookies and I feel the same way about them.... slightly guilty that they include no whole grain or natural sweetener. I experimented with the recipe for weeks before finally getting to a point where I was happy with it. To keep the cookies from expanding when they bake, and to keep them a bit more dense like the ones from Nuvrei I spoon them out onto parchment lined baking sheets and then let them set up for 30 minutes before baking them. I also sprinkle sea salt on top before baking.

    Chelsea
  • those look like heaven on a plate.

    catherine Khalili
  • Soft meringue and fudgy brownie, I'm all for that. Definitely trying these this weekend. Thanks!

    Michelle
  • hi heidi - i'm glad you posted the recipe, these look amazing! are they a bit like macarons? (thinner and all different, i know, but your description of them being "between soft meringue and a fudgy brownie" makes me think of good chocolate macarons...) either way, look delicious!

    chika
  • Hmm...I wonder if I'll have problems making these at a higher elevation. I usually change the recipes a bit for the elevation but wouldn't know how to with these..it's usually things like increase oven temp, decrease baking powder, increase moisture...I guess I'll just give them a go and adjust as needed! ;)

    Ashley
  • okay, that's it. this is simply too much. i think i'll just stare at that first photo for a few hours. and the make a trip to the supermarket and buy everything i need to make these!

    lizzie
  • Hi, I live in Portland and know exactly the cookie of which you speak. It is amazing. I, too, have come across a recipe in the past that seemed like it would result in this addictive gem, but I didn't seem to get it quite right (I'll follow your cooking guidelines next time). My question is this: Have you tried using a nut other than walnuts? (Eating walnuts make me feel like I've been French kissing a belt sander, in case you were wondering.) Normally, I find it irritating when people ask if they can substitute one nut for another because in almost all cases....of course you can. But because the walnuts in this cookie are so integral to its structure, I'm wondering what your results have been when using toasted almonds or pecans, if you have, in fact, tried it this way. Sorry for the long-winded question...but I appreciate any insight you might have on our mutual cookie crush. Thanks! HS: Hi Joanna, now that you have me thinking about this, I'm going to vote for pecans. I think they'd actually be delicious here. In fact, I might have to give them a try in the next batch I make.

    Joanna
  • Oh no...these look just like some cookies from a local farmer's market that I became mildly obsessed with. They were amazing. Making these immediately to see if they're one in the same...thanks!

    Shayna
  • For those of us with nut allergies... would these work well with chocolate chips rather than walnuts?

    Ellen
  • Where in Portland? Was it Nuvrei in the Pearl District?

    Fabian
  • These look tasty--and are gluten-free right out of the chute! Love it, can't wait to try them.

    Britt
  • I see you are using unsweetened cocoa. Do the cookies have a dark chocolate taste? Could one substitute milk chocolate? Or would that ruin the recipe?

    Heather
  • Wow these are awesome looking! Perfect for Valentine's Day...yum!

    Nutmeg Nanny
  • Molly at Orangette made ones similar to these years ago and got me addicted! Haven't gone back to in in forever because I'm scared to eat the whole batch. I think opening the floodgates and trying your version for Valentine's is a great idea! Drooling right now! HS: Doh! Did Molly fall for these too?! If that doesn't convince you to try them nothing will :) I'll have to go look for her version.

    LindsayRuns
  • Delicious looking - I am trying these this week!

    Magdalena
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