James gave me this recipe a while ago, and then they were titled “Black Friday Cookies” to be whipped up and enjoyed the day after Thanksgiving. No idea why! But since I’m interspersing our cheesecake recipes with gluten-free ones (for health!), and since Good Friday is coming up, I thought I’d just change the name slightly to be timely. (Yeah, I know, that’s a bit of a stretch.)
Now, the more I experiment with gluten-free baking, the more I understand the importance of reading labels and ingredient quality. Take this recipe for example — there’s no flour at all in it, but lots of confectioners’ sugar. That should be gluten-free, but I’ve learned that since corn is increasingly being used for bio-fuels, and since we had such a bad corn growing summer last year, corn prices have gone up. Therefore, some companies are substituting wheat starch for corn starch in their confectioners’ sugar. Obviously, this would not be gluten-free then. The only solution, then, is to read your labels religiously. Who knew that ingredients changed? (I’m sure that this is second nature to those of you who suffer from food allergies, or have been gluten-free for a while, but it is an epiphany for me.)
That said, do not be afraid — this recipe only has six ingredients. You can afford to take the time (and spend the money!) to make sure each one is of superior quality. Spend a little extra on good vanilla, high quality cocoa powder and chocolate chips. You’ll taste the difference!
Gluten-free Good Friday Cookies
3 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 to 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (make sure they’re gluten-free!)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper (or silpat mats). If you use parchment paper, give it a light swoosh of nonstick spray.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together powdered sugar with cocoa powder and salt. Whisk in egg whites (start with just two) and vanilla extract, then beat just until the batter is moistened. You’re looking for a brownie-like, thick and fudgy consistency. If it seems too thick, add another egg white — then a 4th one if it still seems too thick. Gently stir in chocolate chips.
3. Spoon batter onto the prepared baking sheets in 12 evenly spaced mounds per cookie sheet. I like to use a small spring-release cookie scoop. Bake about 14 minutes, until the tops are glossy and lightly cracked. Slide the parchment paper (with the cookies) onto wire racks. Let cookies cool completely before you attempt to remove them from the mat or the parchment. They’re delicate, so gently peeling the paper away from the cookie works best. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.