Food allergies and food-avoidance needs seem to be way more prevalent now than they were when I was a kid. If you are bringing treats to a kid-related event or work festivity, these are a pretty good bet, not least because the ingredient list is so short and easy to rattle off when people ask "what's in them?" before wanting to take a bite (sugar, cocoa, egg whites, vanilla, a pinch of salt). I know that sounds too good to be true, but they work. They work much better than that whole "mix a banana with an egg and it's just like a pancake!" thing.
It's a gluten-free, lactose-free, fat-free, cholesterol-free, peanut-free cookie. The only allergen in it are the eggs. And yet they are still awesome.
I have made this recipe a few times, and they take about five minutes to come together in the bowl, 15 to bake, and 5 to cool enough to be moved from the pan.They bake up beautifully, and both look and taste more or less like the best part of a brownie pan: the crunchy/chewy bits.
Preheat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or use a Silpat. They will cool faster on the paper than the Silpat.
Thoroughly mix your dry ingredients, then mix in the wet. You do not have to beat them into peaks, just mix it up. I use a whisk.
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- Pinch salt
- Tablespoon of vanilla
- 4 egg whites
Spoon onto baking sheets. I like to use about a half tablespoon of batter. They spread, so leave room - bake six at a time until you get a sense of how much room they need on your particular baking sheet. Bake them around 15 minutes - you'll know they're done when they are glossy and start to crack on top like brownies do. Don't move them until they cool off a bit; you can hasten this a little by resting the cookie sheet on the sink if possible, that way air circulates below as well as above the pan. When they've firmed up (about five minutes), move them to a cooling rack to free up your pan for the next batch.
Things you can do to amp up the awesomeness, but potentially drive away picky eaters:
- Dried cherries
- Toffee bits
- Minced candied orange peel
- Smashed peppermints
- Black walnuts
- Mallow bits
- Maldon salt and toffee bits, sprinkled on top before baking.
These also lend themselves very well to whoopie pie-ification, particularly as they are almost crumbless and firm up nicely to hold a filling. They have a nice chew to them and take forever to go stale.
Fill a sandwich of two of these cookies with: