You are in for a real treat today. This recipe is one of my most popular and one that people constantly ask me to bake for them. When I first shared these cookies I was not gluten-intolerant. Now that I can’t eat regular flour, I wanted to make them again to be sure they would still be delicious with gluten-free flour. YEA – they are just as good and maybe even better!
Brownies are wonderful but rather messy to eat. Cookies travel well but can be dry and crumbly. A combination of the two would be perfect wouldn’t it? Well, you’re in luck today because we have that winning combination. The dense chewiness of brownies wrapped in a crispy cookie exterior. Heaven by the bite to start your week! That’s the fun of Chocolate Mondays!!
Rich, full of intense chocolate and just enough sugar to take the edge off the bitterness, these are cookies that you will crave long after the last one has been eaten. As a matter of fact, they are so good that I recommend you just double the recipe because if you don’t you will wish you had!
These cookies are fairly delicate. When you look at the recipe you may be surprised that there is only 1/4 cup of flour and 1/4 tsp of baking powder in the mix. In this case, beating the eggs until thick provides the majority of leavening for the dough. When making this dough, don’t take any shortcuts when beating the eggs. You’ll thank me later!
I was very pleased and impressed with the texture of these cookies. I used Authentic Foods Superfine Ground Brown Rice flour in my blend and there is absolutely no grittiness, so common with gluten-free baked goods. I swear by this flour and no one can tell that my baked goods are gluten-free. That, my friends, is the sign of a good flour!
Here is a little baking chemistry for you … most baking powder sold today is called Double-Acting. This means that part of the chemical reaction happens when you mix it with liquids, and then it activates again when you heat it. In the old days you had to mix everything together quickly and pop it in the oven before the baking powder stopped working. Isn’t technology great! The rule for how much baking powder you use is 1 to 1-1/4 tsp per cup of regular all-purpose flour. Use too much and it will produce bubbles that are too big, and instead of holding up the structure of the cake, they push their way to the top and escape. With no bubbles left in the batter, your cake will be sunken, heavy, and leaden.
When using gluten-free flours, sometimes you need a little more oomph to get the lightness you are accustomed to in wheat pastries. For these cookie I added an extra 1/8 tsp and they came out light and tender, just the way I remembered them from the first time I made them.
Today’s recipe is from Claudia Fleming, Pastry Chef of Gramercy Tavern in New York City. Claudia is one of America’s finest Pastry Chefs and a celebrity in her own right. From her bio on StarChefs.com: In 1991, Claudia was determined to hone her skills and she decided to go directly to the source and study pastry in Paris. After a stint at the prestigious Fauchon, Claudia returned to New York and a new career. Back in New York City, Claudia delved into pastry making at Montrachet, TriBeCa Grill and Luxe. In 1994 Danny Meyer and Tom Colicchio hired Claudia as pastry chef of their new restaurant, Gramercy Tavern – the perfect complement to their new team. Like the rest of Gramercy Tavern’s food, Claudia’s baking style relies on the use of seasonal ingredients. She favors creations that maintain the integrity of each ingredient, and is committed to intense flavor over architectural flights of fancy. Her minimalist sensibility, ironically, allows for maximum flavor.
I highly recommend any of Claudia’s cookbooks. She develops beautiful recipes, writes them clearly and concisely, and the testing process is intensive. These are recipes that you will have success making every single time!
Have a wonderful Memorial Day celebration!!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
Before you ask, yes the 1/4 cup flour is correct – it is not a typo. Beating the eggs fully is key in this recipe. Eggs are magical! They provide volume and lift creating the airy texture that is absolutely addicting. When you first put the mixture in the bowl it will barely cover the bottom, but as the eggs expand during beating, it will grow until it fills about 1/3 of the bowl.
If you are making these with gluten-free flour, add an extra 1/8 tsp of baking powder to help create the rise you are looking for.
Kitchen Skill: Perfect Powdered Sugar
Sprinkling a little powdered sugar over baked goods doesn’t seem like something that would take any skill – and it doesn’t. But to make it look like fresh snowfall it does take equipment. Specifically a fine wire strainer. My favorite is about 3-inches wide with a metal handle and I use it every time I add powdered sugar to my cookies, cakes, and pastries.
Despite the manufacturer’s best efforts, powdered sugar tends to clump. By pouring it into the strainer and then tapping the side, the powdered sugar comes out in a perfect, even shower. No more clumps or piles of sugar!
Chocolate Brownie Cookies (Gluten-Free)
Slightly adapted from Claudia Flemming’s “The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern”
Yield: 2-1/2 to 4 dozen cookies, depending on size
Claudia Flemming writes: These are one of my signature cookies. They taste like miniature brownies — but oh, the texture! They’re reminiscent of a meringue, with a soft, chewy, fudgy center and a crisp exterior that crackles appealingly. Since these cookies are smaller and less dense, they have an elegance that brownies lack. And they don’t require the same commitment as a big, gooey bar. I can never eat just one of these. They are also a particular favorite of Gramercy Tavern owner Danny Meyer, who can’t eat just one, either!
1/4 cup (30 gr) all-purpose flour or gluten-free all-purpose flour blend (weigh GF flours for best accuracy)
1/4 tsp baking powder (if baking with GF flour, add 1/8 tsp more)
1/8 tsp salt
2 large whole eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tbsp brewed espresso or reconstituted espresso powder
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla paste
2 tbsp unsalted butter
5 oz extra-bittersweet chocolate (70% or higher), chopped
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, briefly whip the eggs to break them up. Add the sugar, espresso, and vanilla and whip on high speed for 15 minutes, until thick. (This will help add body to the batter because there is so little flour in the recipe.) If you are using a hand mixer, this could take as long as 30 minutes. Be prepared!
While the eggs are whipping, place the butter in the top of a double boiler, or in a small metal bowl suspended over a pot of simmering (not boiling) water, and scatter the extra-bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate on top. Heat until the butter and chocolate melt. Remove the boiler top from over the water and stir the chocolate and butter until smooth.
When the eggs are done, remove the bowl from the mixer. Gently fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture until partially combined (there should still be some streaks). Add the flour mixture to the batter and carefully fold it in. Try not to deflate all the air bubbles you worked so hard to build! Fold in the chocolate chips. If the batter is very runny, let it rest until it thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Or you can chill it in the refrigerator until thickened. If it is a hot day, return the bowl to the refrigerator between panning.
Drop the batter by heaping teaspoons* onto the prepared baking sheets about 1-inch apart. They do not spread much but need room for the air to circulate around each cookie. Bake until puffed and cracked, 8 to 10 minutes, spinning the trays halfway through baking for most even results. When done the cookies will have lost their sheen and developed a crackly top. They should only give slightly when gently pressed with your finger.
Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack. Leave the cookies on the sheet about 2 minutes to finish baking and firm up before transferring them to another wire rack to cool fully.
*NOTE: Most of us use tablespoons to measure out cookie dough. Claudia calls for teaspoons, 1/3 the size of normal! If you want larger cookies or higher yield, double the recipe. By using a small ice cream scoop and only filling it half full (about 1-1/2 tsp), I got just under 4-dozen cookies.
Create a New Tradition Today!
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