Best Chocolate Cookies

This is the best chocolate cookie I bake. And I don’t say that lightly. It’s a crackle-edged puddle of chocolate with a texture like a collision between a soft meringue and a fudgy brownie. Part of my essential cookie repertoire!

Best Chocolate Cookies

I came across the perfect chocolate cookie when I visited Portland years ago. The cookies were popular in the coffee shop I would visit, and I loved them. Each cookie 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 fell hard. In the years since, we’ve come to call them chocolate puddle cookies, and there are just six ingredients between you a baking sheet of them. No mixer necessary, just a big bowl and wooden spoon.
chocolate cookies on parchment paper after baking

Chocolate Cookie Inspiration

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. The Portland chocolate cookies seemed to be a version of 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, tweaked my technique, and now I've been able to make them reliably making little tweaks along the way. All my insights and ingredient notes are integrated into this page and recipe.

Chocolate Cookies: The Ingredients

The ingredient list here is short and direct. There’s a good chance you have all the ingredients on hand - cocoa, powdered sugar, egg whites, walnuts, vanilla, and a bit of salt. A few related notes:

  • Cocoa powder: I’ve used a wide range cocoa powder in these cookies over the years. The key here is to use unsweetened. For a long time I tended to use non-alkalized cocoa powder (Scharffen Berger or Dagoba) but also tested with Droste, which is a Dutch-process cocoa powder. And! I just made a fantastic batch using Guittard Cocoa Rough last week. Pictured here. So, use what you like, just be sure it’s not sweetened.
  • Walnuts: On the walnut 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!
  • Powdered sugar: I've used both 365 organic powdered sugar from Whole Foods, and Hain organic powdered sugar with success.
  • Eggs: Use large eggs, I suspect if you use extra-large, the batter will run, and you'll have to compensate with more powdered sugar.

Technique and Pro-tips

Reading this far will pay off, I promise. Here are a couple things that really make a difference here.

  1. Sift. Really, don’t skip this step. Get all those lumps out.
    chocolate cookie ingredients sifted into a bowl
  2. Add ingredients in the correct order. This is what your mixture should look like after mixing in the walnuts. (below)
    chocolate cookie dry ingredients combines in a mixing bowl
  3. Consistency. This is roughly what your cookie batter should look like after mixing in the egg whites.
    chocolate cookie batter in a mixing bowl
  4. Bake & Cool Completely. Do your best to avoid under-baking, and after baking, allow the cookies to cool completely. A couple hours is best. They will set up beautifully. The goal is a clean break-away from the parchment paper. It’s sometimes hard to tell when these cookies are fully baked, the ones in the picture directly above are slightly underbaked for my tastes. So I adjusted with the remaining two cookie sheets.
    chocolate cookie cooling on racks in a kitchen

Chocolate Cookie Variations

I like to make these just as written in the recipe below. It’s one of those rare cooking endeavors where I don’t mess around much. But there have been many great comments over the years. A lot of people make these chocolate cookies with toasted pecans in place of the walnuts. Some add the zest of an orange. And another person recommended dried cherries. Espresso powder was something I’ve considered but never tried (although some of you have!).And numerous people like to freeze these cookies, and crumble them over ice cream for the win!

I hope you enjoy these as much as I have. They've become family favorites.

close up of chocolate cookie on a marble countertop

Best Cookie Recipes

chocolate cookie on parchment paper after baking

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Chocolate Cookies

4.63 from 8 votes

Also known around here as chocolate puddle cookies. The main thing, as mentioned up above, you don't want to over or under bake here. Over bake, and your cookies will cool to 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’ll get the swing of it after a sheet or two!

  • 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
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon real, good-quality vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 320°F / 160°C 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.

  2. Make sure your walnuts have cooled, then chop coarsely (pea-sized chunks) and set aside. Sift together the confectioner's sugar and cocoa powder. Stir in the salt and walnuts, then add the egg whites and vanilla. Stir until uniform and well combined.
  3. Spoon the batter onto the prepared sheets in mounds of about 2 tablespoons each, allowing for PLENTY of room between cookies. These cookies 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.
  4. Bake until they puff up. The tops should get glossy, and then crack a bit - about 13 -15 minutes. Have faith! They look sad at first, then really blossom. You may want to rotate the pans top/bottom/back/front, but I typically don’t bother.
  5. After removing from the oven, slide the cookies (still on parchment) onto a cooling rack, and let them cool completely. They are best after they’ve cooled for a couple hours if you can wait. They will keep in an airtight for a couple days.

Makes 18 large cookies.

Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
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Recipe Rating


I made these and they are so yummy and of course….. gluten free! But they stuck to the parchment which made it very difficult to not break them. Do you have suggestions on how to prevent this?

Mary Kay Hunt

I’d like to try this with aquafaba instead of egg whites. Do you have a measurement for the egg whites by volume or weight?


I love these! I used to make them a lot and forgot about them until a couple weeks ago. I just bought walnuts and feel like this is the algorithm reading my mind.


I made these last weekend to bring to a friends house and they were AMAZING! I followed the directions exactly and had no problems. Oh, and I'm in portland and will now be searching for the inspiration for this cookie! :)


They look absolutely gorgeous, will be trying them out - thanks for sharing and your photos are great!

UK Foodie

Are the egg whites supposed to be beaten before mixing them--like a meringue--or are they just mixed right into the sugar/chocolate mixture? HS: Hi Lorna, just mix them right in - no need to go the meringue route.


They look fantastic

The Food Hunter

Yum! These are like all the best parts of a brownie in a cookie! The crunchy edge part and the gooey center. :) For those of you wondering (and on a budget or unable to find high quality cocoa powder) I just made them with supermarket brand powdered sugar and nestle cocoa powder (since I was in a hurry and that's what I had) and they came out AWESOME, although a little more asymmetrical than yours Heidi! :) Question: is there a "wrong" side to parchment paper? I usually unroll it and put it so that it doesn't roll up again and wonder if I'm putting the wrong side up for my cookies not to stick (they stuck a bit). Keep the recipes coming Heidi! and the great photos!


    Hi Michelle - bake them a bit longer next time and allow to cool completely, and that should solve the sticking issue.

    Heidi Swanson

Oh my, these look so good. These look like my husband's dream cookie!


I had the same experience as Rosemary, Amy J, and some other commenters -- the batter was super thick, and the end result didn't look much like the cookies pictured. Next time I think I'll use a bit less powdered sugar, and see if that does the trick. The taste, however, was really great. Thanks for posting the recipe -- it makes for a terrific cookie.

Jennifer C

These looked so awesome I had to make them! One can splurge on Valentine's Day, no? I started through my cabinets.... Sugar? Check! Cocoa? Check! Eggs? Check! Walnuts? Sigh.. No.. but I had Pecans! 1 Tbsp Vanilla? Another sigh.... only 1tsp. Solution? Adapt! I reduced the juice of a blood orange to 2 tsp. and added that with some of the zest in with the vanilla. Still a wonderful cookie! I still can't wait to try the original recipe! When is the next holiday I can cheat/treat my diet?

Peach Paulison

BTW, I used pecans instead of walnuts because walnuts (and a couple of other things) make my tongue really sensitive. Great with pecans! And my thick batter ended up being a lot like fudge. Mmmmfff, no, I didn't eat it....just saying....

Amy J.

I also made these for my family for Valentine's Day. However, I surmise that my egg white measurements that I found online were a wee bit off (I was using whites in a carton), because my cookies didn't turn into puddles. They just remained the shape in which I put them onto the cookie sheet! They did expand, though, and are still very good. They taste like chocolate meringue with nuts and a chewy center. Yum. Next time, more egg whites!

Amy J.

OK Heidi, you outdid yourself with this suggestion! They are totally worth the sugar- thank god they dont have the flour! Extra toasty walnuts are soo perfect!


Well........there goes the diet! But do we care? These cookies look like they are worth every single calorie.


thanks for the wonderful recipe! i didn't have large eggs, but 1/2 c. of egg whites worked perfectly. i also substituted 2 c. of chocolate chips for the nuts (i have relatives and friends with severe nut allergies), which also worked.


Heidi, WOW!!! Thank you so much for this recipe. I too was skeptical about how these would turn out but they are just absolutely devine. I halved the recipe as I didn't have enough icing sugar (thats what us Aussies call it!) and they are sensational. I'm off to make a coffee to have another one! Sarah x P.S. I love this website and SNC. You give me so many awesome ideas to cook with different foods and try foods I never normally would have, and your descriptions are ace!!!


Very interesting indeed! I was skeptical of a cookie with no butter (or shortening) and no flour, but they really do work - the way they puff up just at the end is amazing. Based on a couple of ideas posted here, I put just 2 cups of nuts and a cup of chocolate chips, because I like chocolate way more than nuts. This might have made them extra gooey - I'm not sure because I didn't try them the original way - but they're darn good. Just don't eat too many at once, or you'll feel the effects of all that sugar :)


Wow and I do mean wow! These were amazing and the texture is too die for. Definitely use parchment paper if you have some!


Great cookies. I added a half teaspoon of instant espresso powder for an added kick. I baked the first batch on silicon sheets and made a mess -- follow Heidi's directions and use parchment. Works much better.


Thank you for this recipe! not only is it gluten-free but it is dairy-free as well (I have intolerances to both). It was such a joy to have a real cookie again! I even messed up my recipe and they still turned out delicious. I ended up using toasted almonds which worked well with the chocolate. I just wish I had chopped them up into smaller pieces - will do so next time! I'm going to make these for the next company meeting - they all feel sorry for me because I can't eat "normal" food haha. Wait till they get a taste of these! Thank you!!


I too made these this weekend. Wonderful! I had to force myself to put them in the freezer, otherwise I would have eaten a lot more than I did.

Susan UK

made these this weekend. they were fabulous! simple and quick! huge hit with the husband.


These are the devil to get off the baking sheet, I recommend using rice paper to bake them on


I baked these tonight and, while tasty, they came out a bit strange. A meringue crust formed on the top of the cookie and it was wet and very sticky underneath (albeit delicious!). I had a thermometer in my oven at the time, so I know the temperature was correct. My oven is a fan oven (I think the US equivalent is a "convection oven", though I'm not sure). Did I just undercook them or do you think there could there be some other reason for the separation and sticky undersides?


    Hi JK - yes, give them a few more minutes & you should be fine.

    Heidi Swanson

Thanks so much for sharing this gluten free recipe! Can't wait to give these a try.


love that there's no mixer needed! made these last night for an early v-day dinner and am still being worshiped!


Made these last night and they are AMAZING. Really. Delicious. And the texture is fabulous- a little crunch when you bite into it and then soft and chewy on the inside. Mmm. I had expected them to spread a little more than they did, but mine did not really spread out like Heidi had warned. But boy are they tasty! And they are even better after they have had time to set and cool. (And I am normally a eat-the-cookies-while-they-are-warm kind of person!) Thanks, Heidi, for this recipe!!!! (And the many others...) :)


Made them. Love them! Thanks!


and by "i am not a cake baker," i meant "i AM a cake baker, not a cookie baker." fingers got ahead of my brain.


i am not a cake baker, not a cookie baker. somehow cookies just don't out well for me. these cookies did. :D and they are OH so good. i'd like to cut back on the sweet next time -- wonder if a tad less sugar and a tad more cocoa would do the trick.


These cookies are the best I have ever tried! Had them at an annual Valentine's Chocolate party. They were on the gluten free table.

Kelly Massman

Just made my first batch for my valentine, and they turned out very well, BUT: I found the batter to be very dry and stiff, and they didn't spread out as thin as the pics above. If I used another egg white, could I thin the batter enough to make them thinner? Mine turned out well, but I feel they should not be an inch high. Love everything you do, Heidi. I'm an omnivore amateur cook, and I use SNC almost every week. Thanks, and Happy Valentines Day! HS: hi Alex, Yes, you can use less sugar or trickle in more egg white until it is a thinner consistency. I'm thinking the powdered sugar might differ from brand to brand in regards to how they absorb the egg whites? Maybe some brands have more cornstarch in them than others - just a guess. Anyhow, I hope your next batch flattens out a it ;)


These were fantastic! They came out beautifully...and tasted exactly as described. The combination of flavors is delightful. Thank you, thank you for posting these. It was the perfect weekend for a big sugar splurge.

Kitchen Fervor

Wow. These cookies are nothing short of AMAZING! Totally remarkable. I made them for my man (who, coincidentally has celiac disease and rarely gets a good cookie) for Valentine's weekend. They were gobbled up before V-Day itself! From a baking perspective, another plus is that these cookies are generous with varied cooking times - whether the timing is too short or too long (I did both on a couple trays as I was trying to figure out the right consistency), they're still tasty!


These might not be so good for our waistlines, but certainly they're good for our spiritual and mental health. Happy Valentines Day!

The Leftoverist

I too have a severe nut allergy - but was so tempted by these cookies and I'm normally not a chocolate fan. With a little creative thinking/substitutions came up with a decadent solution this evening. Used 5 cups powdered sugar, 1.5 cups 70% cacao dark chocolate chunks and 1.5 cups dried cranberries (to account for the walnut volume), 1.5 tbsp fresh ground kona coffee.


Yummy Yum Yum... a local bakery makes these here in Raleigh and I love them. They call them chocolate chews and for good reason :)

Anita Khalek

Wow, those look tempting.

tobias cooks!

Thank you for this recipe! It is AMAZING. I just made a 1/4 batch to test it out -- forgot to get parchment paper but I just buttered the cookie sheet a little. I was a little worried since I'm not a very experienced baker (I had to look up how to toast walnuts!), but they turned out great. I was pleased by how huge and pretty these cookies are. Will be making a full batch of these for a friendly little cook-off at the office in a few days :)


These cookies did not work for me. (And i went to culinary school). have made several recipes from Heidi and have enjoyed them, so i was excited for these. Did anyone else have trouble? The first set came too dry and the second set did not set. Payards recipe is almost identical except that recipes has 1 whole cup of sugar less. I'm thinking that is the issue. Also, i think hazelnuts would be a great substitution for the walnuts, if these ever do work. :)


PS - Since I made two batches, I ended up with 8 egg yolks and nothing to do with them. Any fun suggestions for the left over yolks, other than the compost bin?


I made these last night (two full batches) and they came out really good. I experimented a bit and made the first sheet of cookies exactly as you said. I did pecans instead of walnuts in the second set, and I did pecans and chocolate chunks after that. They all came out great, but I definitely like the pecans more than the walnuts. The extra bit of chocolate is totally decadent and delicious but not necessary. I ran out of my good vanilla after the first batch and used some lesser vanilla that we had in the back of the cabinet - it definitely made a difference for the worse. Actually, it made a huge difference. So, go ahead and spring for the good stuff. Thanks for this recipe. I also experimented making some HUGE ones and they are great! I'm sending them to loved ones across the country for v-day.


Not sure if this helps in the "making more healthy" thing or not, but I've been making almond macroons in a very similar way for ages. Half icing sugar, half ground almonds, bound together with egg white, dropped onto greaseproof and baked. Couldn't tell you quantities - I do it by eye. Old family recipes are like that.


Hey! First off these look DELICIOUS and im definitely trying them but I'm allergic to nuts and i was wondering if it's possible to make them without nuts. . . ? would then turn out the same or would it mess it up? Thanks! -Laura


There are no more comments to make past the word chocolate, that is for sure. We tried something very similar at our senior citizen home this week, coincidentally. The recipe was well received and many copies sent home to their families.


so funny, i don't even like desserts that much, but i found myself thinking about these cookies last night and i think i'm gonna make them:)


Fabulous cookie! I made them for my office today and everyone loved them. 5 wanted the recipe and said they would be a great to make for pass-over. I made them for a colleague who can only eat gluten free. This cookie is delicious! I will be making them often.

Sonja Lovas

I made them and they are AWESOME! And they are gluten free recipe that doesn't require "weird" flours that scare people away. I know these are not super healthy but sometimes you just need an awesome treat!


You had me at chocolate. Mmmmm....


I just made these - they are delicious! I couldn't resist eating one a few minutes out of the oven, but I think they'll be even better once they set properly. So yummy. Thanks Heidi!


Hi! I've visited this blog for the first timeand I find beautiful food images... :-) I love this recipe, and I will try to cook it this evening or maybe tomorrow!! I will let you know! bye, simona


I made these last night and WOW...amazing! Dangerously, deliciously good. I used 1/2 walnuts and 1/2 pecans, which worked out well. Very easy to make. I have wheat, dairy and oat allergies, so this is a perfect cookie for me. Too perfect, I'm afraid...


Looks deilicious! Thanks for sharing.


These were difficult to make. I used large eggs, and the batter was still extremely runny. I added a lot more sugar. HS: Hi ps: How much more sugar did you end up using? And if you can remember which brand? My batter is thinner than most of the drop cookies i make, and it does spread quite a bit, but I definitely wouldn't consider it 'extremely runny' - this is with a ratio of 1 lb powdered sugar to 4 large egg whites. Curious about your experience.


I made them yesterday--just a half batch, taking heed of your warning that they take practice. I used the generic confectioners' sugar I had in the house and plain old Hershey's cocoa and they came out just fine--quite delicious. Though I am sure Drostes cocoa could be even better. They are all gone now.


Ah, lovely, these can maybe revive my faith in eggwhites. Chocolaty pudding nutty chewies! Love for sure. Thanks!


Made these last night. Not as pretty as yours but damn good. I brought them to work today so I would not eat them all :)


Those look great. They look so soft and chewy


Get these ridiculous pictures out of here! I've enjoyed your lively lentil soup and apple curry cous cous, so I was coming back for a cabbage recipe, and instead I get these beautifully seductive cookies smacking me in the face. They look great, thanks for all your great recipes. It doesn't look like I'm the only novice cook who has benefited from your blog.


These look just like some cookies I love from a new defunct bakery in my hometown. I've missed them so! Can't wait to try this recipe!


I just made them with roasted, unsalted cashews (because that's what we had in the house during the snowstorm) and they were still great!


Eek. these comments got away from me a bit. My apologies. It's fascinating to hear about all the different variations on this cookie (seemingly from all over!)...To answer a couple of the questions - sounds like pecans are a good alternative to the walnuts, I haven't attempted a no-nut version, but if someone attempts it, please report back :)....As far as a no-egg version, I'd hate to discourage an attempt, but perhaps a different cookie might be in order. Although Heather's mention of doing a vegan version with bananas sounds fascinating. It seems like there are a range of recipes out there that produce this type of cookie, with varying amounts of sugar, egg whites, etc. I haven't attempted the others (aside from the original one I found), but what I find convenient about how this one worked out, is that powdered sugar is typically sold in one pound bags. So I weigh it to be sure, then use it straight from the bag.


Full of protein, just FULL of it. There's your angle ;) Now please excuse me while I preheat the oven for those walnuts...


Those look SOO good! i can't wait to make them with my daddy!!!


I am super allergic to all nuts will this receipe work just as well, if I leave them out


I just had the Nuvrei version of this cookie yesterday at Blend coffeeshop in Portland. My daughter liked the chewy edges; I preferred the soft center. And it was perfectly salty for our tastes!


I've been snowed in in DC and happened to have all the ingredients on hand. These cookies are amazing. Now I hope my office will be open tomorrow so I can take them in, or I'm afraid I'll eat them all! These are delicious!


Heidi, these really are delicious. They get better after setting for a few hours. They taste like the best part of the brownie, the chewy center--I think I might prefer these to brownies now, particularly because this recipe is healthier. And I have to say, I just love you for worrying about posting something unhealthy. In my mind, because these cookies are so much healthier than others loaded with sugar and butter, their egg whites and nut base make them seem healthy :) So you have made us be healthier by giving us an alternate to that kind of cookie. Again, yummy yummy--thank you.


I can't thank you enough for mentioning the size of your eggs; many recipes call for extra large and I'm unable to get organic, cruelty free, free range eggs conveniently in anything other than large...and it does matter!

Allison R.

Full of protein, gluten free, and fat free! Nice combo. I have some of these coming out of my oven just now, and they are not flat and spread like yours. They look a bit more like haystacks, with crinkly tops. They are delicious. But I notice that Molly over at Orangette posts a recipe that uses a good bit less sugar (though slightly more cocoa) in proportion to the same amount of egg whites. Perhaps I should have had more egg white in my batch? I realize that egg white size does vary. As to the question of what to do with the yolks, make ice cream. Serve cookies aside said ice cream. Be worshiped as a god(ess). Simple. :)


Hi Heidi, I got up early this morning to make them for a gluten-free relative. I used pecans, and they taste great. I realized that I need to be motivated to get up early to cook some of your healthier recipes :) Thanks!


Fantastically gorgeous :) !! Gotta try these! Thank you for sharing Heidi

Yumi @ Natsukashii

I love it !!

princess golem

Thank you for crafting your recipes so well. I'm vegan, so I actually used some ripe bananas instead of eggs, and substituted unrefined cane sugar (ground in my coffee grinder) and carob. Turned out wonderful. Thanks again!


Can't believe I read the whole post and didn't realise till now that they're gluten free! I think I was mesmerised by the name! I'll have to try them now...I often have that debate when baking with wholegrains, I feel kinda guilty when I use caster sugar/icing sugar, but sometimes a baker's gotta do what a baker's gotta do, wholegrain or not! Think you just proved my point! Thanks for sharing!

The Curious Baker

Thanks for overcoming your hesitation and posting this delicious cookie recipe. We can't be good all the time. I just purchased your book and I am enjoying learning so much about flours, oils, etc. There is so much great information and recipes in it.


My friend makes these every Christmas. They are badass and beautiful with their shiny silky coats..


Yum! Nuvrei baked goods are my super favorite, here in Portland. Thank you for posting this delicious recipe. Now if I only had the orange hazelnut cookie recipe. I love your blog, by the way and have loved each and every recipe I've made of yours. That doesn't happen very often!


Yes, life is too short to worry about chocolate and sugar. As long as you have a well rounded diet then a treat shouldn't matter. Oven-less and jealous in Bali :)


Looks like an amazing texture! Will have to try, thanks.


Ah, chocolate--you never cease to excite me. I too fall in love with delectable chocolate treats. I love the sound of the walnuts in these--walnuts always takes things up a notch. Fudgey, too? Sign me up.

Anna @ unsweetenedcocoa

I am glad you went with your gut and posted this article. This would be a sin not to share. Thank you!


These look like the perfect Valentine's Day treat for the chocolate lover. Looking forward to baking them this weekend.

The Frugal Diva

yes, these were just like Francois Payard's cookies that he sold at his pastissiere here in NYC.....New York Magazine printed the recipe years ago......thanks for reminding me about these really really delicious cookies....they are definitely a keeper!

Jane Ridolfi

Wow, those look delicious. I wish I had one right now.


Your photography is so beautiful, those cookies look mouth-watering!


These look incredible! I can almost smell their aroma from here. :) Jenn

Jenn (

wow these do look so delicious! glad you decided to post the recipe!

Simply Life mouth is watering and I'm stuck at home due to the massive snow storm...this is exactly what I'm going to make right now! Thanks again for a fabulous recipe...I can't wait to bake these little puddles up!

The Healthy Apple

Thanks for posting the chocolate cookies(always a favorite of mine), can't wait to try them.


Wonderful - what a delightful treat for St. Valentine's day... i will bake them tomorrow. I guess its hard to make these egg-less...


A few years back, Whole Foods used to make something very close to these and labeled them as gluten-free chocolate chewy cookies. Your description has me believing this is basically that recipe! I'm so excited - I loved those cookies. I'm drooling at the thought.


And don't forget they're gluten-free! If only they were glutton-free.

Lentil Breakdown

This has been the mainstay of my cookie menu for over 15 years. I found it in, I believe, the first publication of the magazine Chocolatier. It was the recipe of a man named Gottlieb. My version uses pecans and only 3 egg whites. Freezing keeps the textural integrity the best. Even if over baked they can be crumbled over ice cream.


These sound like the fabulous cookies made by Grand Central Bakery in Portland! Is that where you found them? I moved to NC from Ptld in 8/08 and I still long for those addictive cookies, though I think they also had chocolate chips. Thanks, Heidi, "A'hm maykin' theyse soon" (I'm trying to get into the almost-Southern accent down here!).


wow, these look absolutely delicious! I have been trying to cut back on chocolate for now, but will have to try these in the future! (When I can save a few for me and my husband and give the rest away!)

Lisa @ Early Morning Run

anniem, I live in Canberra and found that confectioner's sugar or powdered sugar (US) = icing sugar mixture (AU). Icing sugar is just superfine sugar crystals, finer than caster sugar. If all else fails, look at the ingredients list. It should be sugar and corn (or other) starch.


Nooo!!! I just have in the oven right now some butter free muffin - I have to make a decadent sweet for a friend who's leaving, who is testing for a milk allergy - and you come up with those perfect solutions to my dilemma?!? And they are not so decadent, as someone else noted - all the omega 3 in the walnuts... Well, I guess my friend is going to get two goodbye treats instead of one :)


These are yummy and tasty.I have tried it.


look and sound delicious. thanks for sharing. i will be making them.


omigod...these cookies came out just perfectly! They are heavenly, totally satisfying, fabulous texture. Probably the only cookie I will ever make again...thank you, Heidi. I love 101 cookbooks, it has taken us back to our vegetarian hearts. Thank you so much.

Mary Jane

My husband has a nut allergy to everything BUT peanuts, almonds, pine nuts and cashews. I was wondering if anyone thinks one of these will work well? I may try cashews.... thoughts?


It sounds crazy but my imagination is creating an irresistible smell of chocolate right now...

Kitchen M

My God these look incredible!!!! I almost fell off my chair. MUST try for Valentine's Day (as I am my own Valentine this year...)!

Kimberly @ Poor Girl Eats Well

Sure wish there were a way to make these friendly to diabetics. Could something like splenda for baking be used, or is there a health or other reason not to (at least, for a desperate diabetic needing a good chocolate cookie)? Looks absolutely wonderful!


Thanks for posting your recipe in weight measurements also. That's one less recipe for me to convert! I'll have to wait until next week to make these since I made chocolate cupcakes the other day. They do look sinfully yummy.


I will try these with macadamia's I think. They should still keep the structure but add a little creaminess as well. Can't wait to try as soon as my oven is repaired!


Every now and then it's nice to treat ourselves to some chocolate-y goodness. Thanks so much for this awesome recipe. I'm going to try these this weekend :)


@Mar: I also saw a similar recipe in nymag, I actually ripped out the recipe and put it in my recipe notebook. I've been intending to make it for ages for my roommate who is allergic to gluten. Heidi, I love the pecan suggestion, I think I am going to make these cookies today. It is a veritable blizzard here in NYC and this will be a nice project to do when I leave work early.


Oh, my, I am definitely going to make these for my chocolate loving co-workers!


Wow, these were fantastic. I live in DC, more commonly known of late as New Antarctica. If there ever were a week that called for baking, this would be it. I added about a tablespoon of coffee to the batter, and it really made the chocolate pop. Also, I'd say definitely follow the directions and chop those walnuts a bit. I left them bigger, and I think the cookies would have been just perfect if the nuts were a bit smaller.


Heidi, Surely you jest. How could 18 of these wonderful cookies possibly last for more than a few minutes much less a couple of days? You should revise your recipe to read "locked" container instead of airtight container. :-) They look amazing. ~Rosemary

Content in a Cottage

Not sure I could think of anything sweeter than splashing around in a chocolate puddle.

Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen

Thank you so much for the recipe! I can't wait to eat these with a little vanilla ice cream and grated nutmeg on top (like a brownie sundae!).

Eating Places

oooohhhh.... I can't wait to try these. My daughter's birthday is coming up, soon (as if I need an excuse!) so I know what I'm doing this weekend: experimenting with your cookies. Do you think I can try pecans and/or hazelnuts instead of walnuts? Maybe I'll try all of them and compare!


I make these (the Payard recipe that Smitten Kitchen posted) every year for Passover. They are a huge hit and so easy. They are gluten free too. I think I may try making them slightly less sweet nice time - more cocoa, less sugar? Thoughts on whether it will work?


I love all your healthy recipes, esp any involving the humble sprout. BUT sometimes you have just got to be naughty. Love it! Going to make a batch for hubby. Thanks P.S Surely the nuts make them healthy lol


I love these cookies, the texture is just so perfect!!! Thanks for reminding me to make some.

Chiot's Run

You are very right, my husband will love these for Valentine's Day!


These just sound like a slice of heaven!!! Wow - make sure there are plenty of people to share with.


Heidi! Hahaha! We're so on the same page! Other than the Tearoom Lanskroon Stroopwafel, these are now my favorite cookie. I've had this recipe (Francoi Payard, by way of Orangette, by way of Apartment Therapy-The Kitchn) for quite a while and didn't pick it up until JUST this past week when I was back in the US visiting my mother (who is dairy and gluten intolerant) in Bodega Bay. She's had a huge sweet tooth lately, poor thing, but in addition to dietary intolerances she was starting the South Beach diet. These were the perfect, almost guilt-free thing to make because the only fat they have is from the nuts. You can also consider that confectioner's sugar is part cornstarch; albeit highly digestible, it's not all direct sugar in there. I made the first batch (yes, two batches in a week!) per Payard's recipe and they were delicious but too thin. Then I made them per The Kitchn's adjustments (i.e. hold back on the egg white until you get a batter the consistency of softened butter) and they were perfect - just like their photos. I'm glad you made the adjustments in order to use all the 4 egg whites. AND, I can confirm that pecans were excellent. For the second batch I didn't have enough walnuts so I used pecans instead. They don't have the same health benefits as walnuts, but their slight sweetness and somewhat chewy texture fit right in with this cookie. Green & Black's Organic Fair Trade Cocoa Powder worked wonderfully. I also used an uncoated metal sheet pan (i.e. not nonstick) without parchment paper (I wasn't about to drive 50 minutes to get some!) and oiled it with canola oil. I had no problem removing the cookies easily with a metal spatula after they'd completely cooled - the chewy texture held them together perfectly. Here's to you, sister! Happy Valentine's Day! Cheers, Misha


Heidi, As I mentioned earlier, these little gems work well in the freezer. Let's make a double batch.. Dad


These sound really good! And even if they're filled with sugar, maybe that's redeemed by they're being gluten-free :) No matter what, I love the name and will definitely try these beauties out!


I've made similar cookies - I think I found a recipe like your's in Everyday Foods a while back- but also added some dried cherries with the walnuts and that was delish. These cookies are also perfect for the gluten-free crowd. :)


Oh my goodness - I think I may have to make these tonight! My husband is absolutely addicted to the mesquite chocolate chip cookies from SNC, but this cookie may take it's place.


Wh-wh-WHAT??!!! There's a perfect snow day cookie if I ever saw one. Hallelujah blizzard!


i make something like this every day where i work - only we use chocolate chips you are right on w/ the over and underbaking issue... have to get it just right - know your oven, etc. in order for them to be perfect. mine don't have a long shelf-life - they can get dry fast - like in a couple days. what's the longevity of this particular cookie?

coco nib

We are going to have to try these!


Those sound out of this world delicious! Thanks for sharing!

christie @ honoring health

I fell in love with these at Bristol Farms in California. They call it a chocolate meringue cookie. Of course they would not share the recipe... so bless you for finding one!

mary smith

perfect timing! I need to make treats for a baby shower where the mommy-to-be needs gluten free options! :)


Heidi- I am going to make these for Valentines Day. They look exactly like my favorite cookie from Chases Daily, except they add dry cherries...scrumptious!


Just tried them and they are excellent! I had a few difficulties a.) because I didn't have enough confectioner's sugar and b.) I didn't have parchment paper. I used what confectioner's sugar I did have and made up for the rest with one cup of sugar to 2 tbspn cornstarch ground finely in the spice grinder. I used foil on a tray because of the lack of parchment paper or a silpat and I was able to peel the foil off. But they looked like they were supposed to look and taste awesome! Thanks so much for the recipe!

Fuerza Dulce

NEVER wrestle with posting something that looks this good! Due to your nutritional leadership the rest of the time, we can handle it : )


Heidi, these look delicious, but can they be made without nuts? I am not a fan of nuts and chocolate together.

Beth Daniel Lindsay

These cookies were made in Savannah Ga. since, well, for a long, long time. The place to get them was Gottleib's Bakery. They were called Chocolate Chewies. Their recipe, published in their cookbook and in the NYT Sept. 4 2002, is almost exactly the same, the recipe makes fewer cookies. Only one difference; the Southern version uses Pecans!

The Butter

I'm stopping at Whole Foods on the way home and making these tonight. They look similar to Chocolate Rads from the Model Bakery in St. Helena, CA and they were favorites of mine.


These cookies look so good. I think I'll be trying them really soon. With Pecans instead of Walnuts maybe .


These sound just like the "Chocolate Chewies" at Whole Foods (at least the WFs here in the Chicago area, not sure if they have them everywhere). They are my favorite!! I can't wait to try these. Thank you for this great post!


yayyy! gluten-free! heidi--can one use silpat instead of parchment and get good results?


You had me at "a collision between soft meringue and a fudgy brownie." These look amaaaazing. Thank you for sharing this.


These do look delicious and I am going to make some!

Audrey Strong

This recipe is very similar to a chocolate-hazelnut macaroon recipe I use, so to those who were asking, I would suggest hazelnuts as an excellent alternative to walnuts or pecans! The hazelnuts need to be toasted, then the papery skins can be rubbed off by gathering the nuts in a kitchen towel and rubbing or shaking the contents for a few minutes. Don't worry if you don't get all the skins off!


No refined flour. Lotsa protein and Omega 3s in the walnuts. Cocoa has lotsa fiber. Really not so bad...and they sound delicious!

Can rationalize anything...

That is definitely the Nuvrei cookie. I LOVE THAT COOKIE. I am totally obsessed with it. And I'm not normally a cookie person. Nuvrei is a tiny, subterranean, French pastry shop in the Pearl District, but they supply pastries to a number of coffee shops and cafes in town, so you may have found it elsewhere.


No refined flour. Cocoa has lots of fiber. Eat these w/some milk for protein. Not so bad really. And they sound heavenly.

Can rationalize anything...

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, HEIDI. I had this , or a very similar recipe years ago. It somehow got given away or misplaced. This is a WONDERFUL COOKIE, and not too bad health-wise as the base is the egg whites. Love it! Keep up the good and not-so-good (occaisionally!) posts. xoxo


Great recipe - this can also be tagged for all of the Jewish readers out there as a FABULOUS passover recipe. Thanks Heidi!


Far out Heidi!! These look awesome. I will be whipping up a batch this weekend (or 2 if I wreck the first one). :-) Hope you are well.

Lisa Maass

A nice variation on this recipe includes gin soaked raisins: Gourmet Magazine December 2000 Maida Heatter's Chocolate Cookies with Gin-Soaked Raisins I also prefer pecans to walnuts.


We make these for Christmas every year; our recipe is called "Beacon Hill Cookies".


Oh, my goodness.... I could kiss you! I cannot eat any kind of grain products (no starch) and thought great chocolate cookies would never be in my future. Never would I have believed such a thing was possible. I truly love you for this recipe!!!!!!


These look amazing - I'll definitely be making them over the weekend! I think I'll go with the pecan idea too. (first time posting, but I've been looking at the blog for months, and finally bought Super Natural Cooking a few weeks ago. Love it!)

Susan UK

I think these are very similar to the cookies occasionally available at my local, Lexington Coop in Buffalo, NY. I've always thought their special ovens allowed this meringue like top with a delicious gooey innard. But no! I'll bet this will do it. they add dried cherries and needless to say they are the proverbial topper on the sundae.


i was going to point out, but, someone already beat me to it, that these are definitely the payard flourless chocolate cookies. i'd know that recipe anywhere! and they are delicious and dead easy. i like them with some orange zest thrown in.


Sometimes you just have to drown yourself in chocolate. Not everything you eat HAS to be good for you (whole grains, no sugar). Sometimes it has to be good for you emotionally. Chocolate does that. I'm going to make these this weekend. And i won't feel a single teeny bit guilty if I eat more than one! I'll justify the mood enhancing and health benefits of chocolate as well as the protein and Omega 3's in the walnuts! And enjoy every bite! YUM!


Those look like puddles of joy!


These cookies look AMAZING! I will be joining what looks like a lot of other lovestruck people, and making these in the next couple of days.


Oh Heidi, those look soooooo sinful, I can't believe how (relatively) virtuous these babies actually are! Thanks again for a fabulous post - you are a culinary magician!

denise - quickies on the dinner table

i may just have to splurge and make these for valentine's day. nom nom nom!


I have made similar cookies with raisins instead of about chewy goodness! It's like chocolate covered raisins in cookie form!


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...


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


Love these - made them on Orangette's suggestion a few years ago. So delicious & easy. Her addition of cocoa nibs is a really good one - try it! But then I put nibs in every chocolate cookie I make :)


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!


    They are! But chewier to me, and the walnuts throw little boulders of texture in. So yum!

    Heidi Swanson

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'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! ;)


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!


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!


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


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

Nutmeg Nanny

O...M...G........ Heidi, you are ACE! I nearly ate Pepe's screen!!!! Sooooo good-looking... Thank you5x!


The cookies look great, but I am just as impressed by how careful you are at folding the parchment paper edges to fit the pan so neatly!


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.


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. :)


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.


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.


those look like heaven on a plate.

catherine Khalili

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.


Delicious looking - I am trying these this week!


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