Sunday, January 8, 2012
Chocolate Brownie Clusters
Photo courtesy of Baking with the Cake Boss
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...These meringues actually have the taste and texture of brownies. They come from Buddy Valastro's new book , Baking with the Cake Boss. In their unbaked state, these cookies look, for all the world, like a genetic accident. By some miracle, probably related to his baking prowess and the marvels of kitchen chemistry, they manage to rise to the occasion and become something you'd be proud to serve to your family and friends. They contain just four ingredients and the dough, which is thick and gooey, is so sticky that it can only be dropped onto cookie sheets. You'll actually need two spoons to accomplish this. One for scooping and the other for dropping. I made two batches of these cookies, and while neither of my efforts looked as good as that shown in the book, they were, nonetheless, delicious. If you love the combination of chocolate and nuts you will enjoy these brownie-like bites. It is important to use extra-large eggs when you make them and I would suggest you spoon, rather than pack, the sugar and cocoa into cups for measuring. Sifting is also important. The finished cookies are not pretty things, but they are delicious. I hope you'll give them a try. Here's the recipe.
Chocolate Brownie Clusters...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Buddy Valastro
3 extra-large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1-1/2 cups powdered (10X) sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1-1/2 cups unsalted raw walnut halves
1) Position a rack in center of oven and preheat it to 325 degrees F.
2) Put egg whites and lemon juice in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment. (Be sure the bowl is immaculately clean). Whip on low speed for 2 minutes, then on maximum speed until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes.
3) Sift sugar and cocoa powder into bowl together, then fold into batter with a stiff spatula until batter is smooth and shiny. Fold in walnuts, until they are well coated with the batter.
4) Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper, using nonstick spray or a dab of butter in each corner to glue paper in place. Drop heaping tablespoons of dough 1/2 inch apart, being sure each tablespoon has about 3 or 4 walnuts in it.
5) Bake until outside has crisped and bottom starts to pull away from parchment paper, 15 to 20 minutes.
6) Remove cookie sheet from oven. As soon as clusters can be moved, use a spatula to transfer them to a rack and let them cool. Enjoy cookies right away, or store when completely cool in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. Yield: 18 cookies.
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