chocolate sea salt walnut brownie cookies

i was inspired by my friend and her son to bake these flourless cookies, because he was just recently diagnosed with wheat-intolerance. and i’ve been craving chewy crispy brownie merengue-like chocolatey nutty cookies forever. in my mind, these are really not that bad for you. they’re almost healthy.


since i’ve been on my anti-diet, instead of buying a box of store cookies, i challenge myself to bake my own, when i really want some, and use the best ingredients possible. in this case i wanted to make the kind of cookie i dream of when i want my chocolate fix, but can never seem to find. except for in NYC, at my favorite French pastry store, Payard. 


it turns out that patissier Francois Payard has shared the recipe for his divine concoctions, and so i decided, as one does, to try it out, and dare i say it, improve upon it. i switched up the baking, in order for them to be puffier. i also wanted thicker, nuttier, chewier cookies, so i made it nuttier, adding ground walnut, as well as chopped walnuts. and i wanted it healthier. so instead of refined powdered sugar, i’m using coconut sugar, which i grind into a fine powder in my Vitamix blender. you could do so in a food processor as well.

IMG_5448coconut sugar is granulated coconut nectar, and is a sustainable alternative to processed sugar. it’s like a light caramel malty brown sugar, but unlike sugar, it has a much higher mineral content, vitamins, and amino acids. it’s also a low glycemic food, i.e. it raises your blood sugar levels slower, so your body is not flooded with refined sugar. it also contains inulin, a kind of fiber that acts as a prebiotic in your gut, supports fat metabolism, and may help prevent colon cancer.

coconut sugar before and after grinding it into powdered coconut sugar in my Vitamix.

the kind i buy at Costco, Madhava, is organic, and sustainably grown and harvested. coconut palm trees produce 50-70% more sugar per acre than can sugar, and use only 20% of the resources. unrefined sugar that tastes delicious, is better for the environment, and has less fructose than cane sugar, no wonder i love it. mind you, it’s still sugar, just not as bad. 

i grind one cup of walnuts in my food processor until fine, almost flour-like. 
then i add the rest of the walnuts, and pulse until chopped.

 even though these cookies taste extremely decadent, they happen to be wheat-free, butter-free, refined sugar-free, and if you buy gluten free walnuts, they’ll be gluten free as well.


these are very gooey when you make the batter, and they really spread out on the baking pan, so make sure you have plenty of space around each glob of batter. i make enough for two batches, and freeze most of them once they’re cooled. the freezer actually makes them more moist, and you just take one out 10 minutes before you make yourself a cup of tea, and there’s your chocolate treat.

they really puff up in the oven, which is why i leave them in with the door closed and temp off, so they don’t sink and collapse completely.

when they’re baked, the edges are crunchy and merengue-y, and the inside is chewy and moist. i’ve been baking these for myself all winter. i just do not get sick of them, and one cookie is so rich and chocolatey, that it satisfies my sweet tooth. although it’s hard to stop at one. but never do i want more than three, that’s how intense they are. 




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