Since tomorrow is the first day of school, I decided to make today’s cookies “lunchbox worthy”. They’re sweet enough to qualify as a dessert, but have some nutritional value: protein from the egg whites, a mixture of good fats and fiber from the nuts, plus antioxidants from the cocoa powder. Shaped like Melba toast, but harder, sweeter, and immensely more satisfying, these are perfect with a cup of coffee or hot tea.
I’ve made these in multiple flavors over the years, but since I had pistachios left over from the gluten-free trail mix bars, this version is chocolate and pistachio with a few pecans thrown in (because I was somewhat short on the pistachios). Dried fruit is also a good addition, but I prefer the nuts-only version because it’s less sweet. I’ve also experimented with different types of cocoa powder and like the full flavor of the dark (Dutch processed) cocoa, though natural does work. At any rate, it’s a mix and match kind of recipe! I’ll post some of my non-chocolate versions soon.
Update: I just did a taste/texture test between two batches and liked this recipe best when made with 114 grams of sugar (up from 96 grams) and 1 tablespoon of olive oil for extra crispiness as opposed to hardness. The batch with the sugar and olive oil (as written below) also stayed crisper and crunchier. So if you saved the recipe, make sure you have the one with the 114 grams of sugar and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- 114 grams/4 oz of all-purpose flour (1 cup minus 2 tablespoons)**
- 3 tablespoons (14 grams) unsweetened Hershey’s Dark cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 large egg whites at room temperature
- 114 grams of granulated sugar (1/2 cup plus 4 teaspoons)
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2/3 cup to 1 cup shelled pistachio pieces
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 ½ by 4 ½ inch metal loaf pan with nonstick foil or grease well and line with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks start to form. With the mixer going, gradually add the sugar a heaping tablespoons at a time, followed by the extracts and olive oil.
- With a large rubber or silicone scraper, gently fold in the flour mixture – you’ll lose some of the volume when you do this, but that’s okay. Fold in the nuts,
- Spread the batter evenly in the loaf pan and bake on center rack for 25 minutes or until it appears set. Let cool in the pan for an hour, then lift from pan and cool completely. Or you can chill it (which makes it easier to slice) until ready for the second bake.
- Heat the oven to 200 degrees F.
- Set the chocolate loaf on a cutting board. Using a large serrated knife, slice 1/4 inch thick pieces and lay them on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Bake the pieces for about an hour at 200 degrees. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
if you don’t like almond extract, just omit it and use 1 teaspoon of vanilla.