12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies…Chocolate Pecan Chewies

It’s that time of the year again – holiday baking, more specifically, the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies baking linky!  So, after much time googling and searching for new cookie recipes, and I finally decided to post a wonderfully simple and delicious chocolate cookie.  This cookie goes by many names – puddle cookie, flourless chocolate cookie, chocolate meringue cookie – I’ve chosen to go with chocolate pecan chewie, because, well, I made them, and I’m taking creative license, not to mention, they are chockful of pecans and are quite chewy.

If you google “puddle cookie” you will see a very flat cookie.  Now, look at my cookies – are they flat?  No, they are not.  Why, you wonder?  Well, I wondered, too, because in every recipe I found, the baking directions were the same – don’t crowd these cookies, they spread.  Now, to be honest, I wondered how the stiff dough that I portioned out very carefully was going to spread to a large flat cookie, but stranger things have happened, and I had seen many flat cookies, so what did I know?  Well, after removing pan after pan of puffy cookies, delicious and chewy, mind you, but puffy, I had to find out.  Why didn’t my cookies spread?!?! 
After much research, I finally found the reason why.  The absence of the following sentence – While whisking, add the egg whites and vanilla extract and beat just until the batter is moistened (do not overbeat or it will stiffen). See that underlined bit? I definitely overbeat my batter; in fact, I may have walked away from the mixer for a minute or two.  I’m fairly certain this is why my cookies didn’t spread, although I’ll have to make another batch to be sure.  Which, come to think of it, is not a bad idea at all. 

Chocolate Pecan Chewies
1 lb powdered sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
3 cups pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped (walnuts are fine, too)
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and toast pecans for 10-15 minutes; remove, allow to cool, and coarsely chop.
Lower temp to 320 degrees.
Line cookie sheets with parchment.
In a large bowl, mix together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, pecans, and salt; set aside.
In a small bowl, beat egg whites and vanilla together, then pour into powdered sugar mixture, mixing
just until the batter is moistened (do not overbeat or it will stiffen and your cookies will not spread).
Portion batter onto prepared baking sheets, being careful not to overcrowd.
I used a small cookie scoop, but you can certainly make them bigger.
Bake ntil the tops are glossy and lightly cracked, about 14-16 minutes.
Let cookies cool completely before removing from parchment paper.
Store in an airtight container.

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