Cherry & Bright

Flourless Black Forest Cookies

The holidays are a time for celebration!  I know that I did not come up with that theory, but, it really is such a good one.  In light of the holiday spirit, I think it’s time to fill your cookie jars, dust off those cellophane gift bags, and curl that ribbon.  In other words, it’s time to share the holiday cheer in cookie form!

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There’s nothing that gets my goat more than people eating a delicious homemade baked good while postulating the number of calories per bite.  Nobody eats cookies as a health food!  Have one or two, enjoy them, and carry on with life — no regrets.  Nothing takes the fun out of the holidays like a calorie count.  Moderation.

That being said, not all holiday baked goods need be calorie-laden to be festive and delicious!  Enter:  these Flourless Black Forest Cookies.
No butter, no flour, and not even an egg yolk in sight!  Granted, I have nothing against butter, flour, or egg yolks (#choline), but, this time of year, it’s easy to blow nutritional profiles out of proportion.

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You’re probably thinking, “No butter, flour, or egg yolks?!?! These cookies probably taste like reindeer poo.”  Wrong!  They taste like heaven.

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The lack of flour allows for a fudgy & intense chocolate experience, while the lack of butter and yolk keeps the texture light-as-air.  The subtle cherry flavor cuts through the deep chocolatiness, while the white chocolate brightens the darkness, just like the vanilla frosting on a Black Forest Cake.  Poetry in cookie motion.

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The cookie dough comes together super quickly (literally like 10 minutes), requires only an hour of chilling, and doesn’t even need to be rolled into balls — just scrape, drop, & bake!  That way, you have plenty of time to finish wrapping all those gifts 🙂

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Flourless Black Forest Cookies

YIELD:  15 cookies
2 loose cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder [Hershey’s (R) Special Dark is great here!]
2 teaspoons espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 egg whites, room temp
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
15 maraschino cherries, dried on a paper towel & roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips
1 teaspoon unsweetened almond milk
1 cup white chocolate chips (or vanilla candy melts)
Dash of almond extract
Pinch of kosher salt
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, cocoa, espresso powder, & salt until no lumps remain (the sugar and the cocoa tend to be pretty clumpy, so really whisk the heck out of ’em).  Using either the balloon attachment on a stand mixer or some serious arm power and a whisk, beat in the egg whites & almond extract, until smooth & glossy (~2 minutes by stand mixer).  Use a rubber spatula to fold in the chopped cherries and chocolate chips.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and chill 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Use a 1.5 tablespoon cookie scoop to plop dollops of batter, 2″ apart.  Bake for 12 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through bake time.  Cookies should look shiny on top, with big, beautiful crackles across the surface.  Slide parchment sheets onto cooling racks to allow cookies to cool completely on the paper.  Once totally cool, peel the cookies off of the paper (don’t try this until they’re totally cool!).
To decorate, line a cookie sheet with wax paper.  In a small saucepan, heat the almond milk until steaming, turn burner to medium-low heat, and add the white chocolate.  Use a heat-safe rubber spatula to briskly stir the mixture until totally smooth.  Remove from heat, add almond extract & salt, and stir briskly.  Carefully spoon a small amount of chocolate over the bottom of each cookie, and place, chocolate-side-down on the wax paper.  Transfer remaining chocolate to a zip-top bag, snip off a small corner, and drizzle over cookie tops.  Chill in fridge overnight to set.  Set cookies may be stored in fridge, between sheets of wax paper, in airtight containers, for up to 3 days.

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