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Rachel's Recipes: These cookies leave munchers in a puddle

By: Rachel Chaddock, Special to the Telegraph
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It seems that I have finally met my sugary comeuppance. I admit that I’ve rather smugly insisted that I “am not a ‘sweets’ person,” and, for the most part, that is true. I can make boxes of cookies, and candy (well, except for toffee), and birthday cakes, and pies, and have less than a serving and then ignore the batch entirely … until now. I love chocolate puddle cookies, and will eat them until a normal person would be sick and keep on eating them. I made them for the first time two weeks ago and have made them four times since. Chocolate puddle cookies (so called, I think, because the cookie batter looks like chocolatey puddles when you dish it out), are flourless, butterless, and crisp on the outside while being almost fudge brownie-like on the inside, even after a few days. Depending on your additions, these cookies can be gluten and dairy-free, so they are good for those on some restricted diets. Note: they are not diet cookies. I wouldn’t make such a thing. A version of this recipe swirled the Internet at the beginning of last year, and I missed it. It was all the rage on a number of food blogs. I ran across it recently when I was wanting to bake something, but was also trying to factor in the practicality of baking with a 2-week-old daughter and a 2-year-old son. Cookies fit the bill, though. They are simple and have very few ingredients. No mixer needed. In fact, you can whip these cookies together while holding a new baby. The recipes I saw online all called for three cups of nicely toasted nuts as the added ingredient. This doesn’t work in my house. I love nuts, but if I added them to cookies I would be eating all of the cookies myself (which I ended up doing anyway). So I started to experiment. Bittersweet chocolate chips and toffee pieces were wonderful. So were white and semisweet chocolate chips. I had some leftover homemade marshmallows and those were tasty (and interesting, as the cookies puffed up to resemble molten chocolate brains when I took them from the oven), but they were far too sticky for an everyday treat. Whatever goodies you have in your pantry, throw them in. As long as they work with chocolate, they will work with this cookie. The parchment paper, placement, and cooling time in the recipe are non-negotiable. Please don’t think that in this case you know better than I — these cookies spread like nobody’s business, and if you don’t let them cool completely, they will stick to your baking sheet. Greasing the pan is not enough. If you have three baking sheets that you can use in rotation, so much the better; by the time the third batch is out of the oven, your first batch ought to be ready to come off and be devoured. I used a dark cocoa powder for my cookies, and I like to use espresso powder with chocolate, but regular cocoa powder is fine and if you haven’t any espresso powder, leave it out. Rachel Chaddock can be reached at rachels.recipes@ yahoo.com. She welcomes reader questions and comments. * * * Chocolate Puddle Cookies Ingredients: 4 cups powdered sugar ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 4 egg whites Optional: 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder Optional: (should add up to three cups, total) Chopped, toasted nuts Chocolate chips (semisweet, bittersweet, or white) toffee pieces or miniature marshmallows directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two (preferably three) baking sheets with parchment paper. Mix together powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and espresso powder, if using. Add egg whites and vanilla, and stir until combined and no dry pockets of sugar/cocoa are left. Fold in added ingredients. Drop onto parchment lined baking sheets using a tablespoon measure, with no more than 6 cookies per baking sheet. Bake for 10-13 minutes or until cookies have spread and are no longer glossy. Let cool completely on the baking sheet before removing from parchment paper. Store in an airtight container. Makes between 18-24 palm-sized cookies.