Flourless Chocolate Almond Spice Cookies

This is my last official 12 Days of Cookies entry, finished a week behind my other cookie-baking buddies:  Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes, Claire of The Barefoot Kitchen, Sandy of At the Baker’s Bench, Courtney of Coco Cooks, Judy of No Fear Entertaining, and Jerry of Cooking by the Seat of My Pants.  And you’d think I’d be completely done with all cookies after this marathon, but I agreed to baking a few more for a good friend’s party yesterday.

I think it’s fitting that these flourless bites of chocolate and almonds found their way onto her big cookie platter, don’t you?

One of Gourmet’s Favorite Cookies from December 1994, Heart-Shaped Chocolate Almond Spice Cookies, or “Basler Brunsli” are a pleasant shift from the norm both in taste, ingredients, and preparation for me.  The “dough” is predominantly nuts and chocolate with egg whites and sugar.  A food processor makes the prep simple.

Basler Brunsli

Here’s the recipe as it appears at Gourmet

Renowned pastry chef and teacher Nick Malgieri gave us his secret for spiced, flourless bittersweet chocolate cookies, pointing out that it is important not to overbake them so that they stay chewy. These are much easier to make today, thanks to the easy availability of really good chocolate. The dough is sticky, so roll it out covered with wax paper, then cut and peel the hearts right off the paper.

This is just one of Gourmet‘s Favorite Cookies: 1941-2008. Although we’ve retested the recipes, in the interest of authenticity we’ve left them unchanged: The instructions below are still exactly as they were originally printed.

Learn how to roll out thin cookie dough with no mess and no extra flour.

1 1/2 cups whole natural almonds (8 ounces)

1 1/2 cups sugar plus additional for coating work surface

6 ounces Swiss or other fine-quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 cup egg whites (from about 2 large eggs)

In a food processor combine almonds with 1 1/2 cups sugar and pulse until ground fine (do not over process or mixture will become warm and melt chocolate when added). Add chocolate and pulse until ground fine. Add spices and pulse twice. Add whites and pulse until mixture forms a stiff dough, adding 1 teaspoon water if necessary.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or foil. On a surface coated with additional sugar press out or roll dough about 1/4 inch thick. With bottom of fork held facing down and tines touching dough at 60-degree angle, score dough about 1/16 inch deep by pulling fork across in a series of parallel vertical lines. With a 2-inch heart-, star-, and/or clover-leaf-shaped cutter cut out cookies and transfer to prepared baking sheets. Press dough scraps together and cut out more cookies in same manner. Let cookies stand, uncovered, at room temperature 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 325° F.

Put cookies in oven and immediately reduce temperature to 300° F. Bake cookies, switching position of sheets in oven halfway through baking, 10 to 15 minutes, or until they are just firm (do not overbake or cookies will be hard), and cool on sheets on racks.

Keep cookies in an airtight container up to 2 weeks. Makes about 60 cookies.


My Usual Notes:

  • Somehow I erased all the photos I took of these.  The card was full in the camera and I had a moment of insanity and cleared the card.  Oh well….
  • There are nice little chunks of chocolate in these which is quite yummy.
  • This recipe made about 40 cookies — not 60.  Same sized cutter and same size thickness.
  • Yes, you read that one part of the directions correctly, but I almost didn’t.  The part where it says to leave the unbaked cookies to sit at room temp for 3 hours?  Right.  I’d popped mine in the oven for less than a minute when I reread to look for baking time and saw that, so took them right back out and let them sit.  They get very firm as you might imagine something with egg whites does after it sits for a while.  Interesting.
  • I used a fluted pastry cutter to score the cookies.  Sure, they look like they’ve got tire treads.  Whatever.
  • Baking and transferring to the cooling rack is a breeze and once they’re cool, they stack well and keep in a plastic container for days….This one’s a keeper all round.
  • Many continued thanks to Oh Nuts! for their dried fruit and nuts in my holiday baking this year.

Now how did that lone surviving Gingerdood make it on to that plate?