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

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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!

Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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.
Notes

Makes 18 large cookies.

Serves
18
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
 
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Comments

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.

naomi

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 ;)

Alex

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!

Ainsley

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.

Portside

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 :)

SL

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. :)

Rosemary

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?

Bridget

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.

Bridget

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.

Anonymous

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

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.

Lorrie

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:)

Chitra

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!

Angie

You had me at chocolate. Mmmmm....

Stephanie

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!

RK

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

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...

Theresa

Looks deilicious! Thanks for sharing.

Jeff

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.

ps

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.

Peg

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

Amanda

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 :)

AMN

Those look great. They look so soft and chewy

cody

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.

Drew

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!

Flynn

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!

Misty

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.

Heidi

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

molly

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

Katie

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

Liz

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!

allison

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!

Jen

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.

Laurel

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. :)

Ingrid

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!

Laurel

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!

Heather

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.

linda

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

Hilah

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!

jenn

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 :)

Kat

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