For several years, we have travelled to NYC annually to visit our favourite scholar. One year we finally decided to visit Grand Central Station/Terminal. The iconic station is itself a sight to behold, but the visit is enhanced by checking out the Grand Central Market on one end, and the shops at the other end. It was the "year of macarons", and I was drawn to the displays of a shop called Financier Pastries. In addition to buying gorgeously coloured macarons, I grabbed a wee bag of chocolate walnut flourless cookies. They were so wonderful, I had to find a recipe replicating them. For years, I was using the one from Epicurious. Recently, I have found a recipe that is the original.
The cookies contain no flour, so are gluten-free and Passover friendly. Because the recipe uses egg whites, there is a sort of meringue chew – combined with texture from the walnuts - and the inside is moist and fudge-y. The crackle top retains the shiny quality. It is gorgeous to look at, and tastes heavenly.
All sources I found referred to these as Payard’s cookies. They write about this revered pâtissier as if he’s dead, but apparently not. He has several shops in Manhattan (and Japan and Korea). Am feeling red-faced that I have never tracked down one of the locations – will be on the list for this year.
Quirky trivia – the Financier Pastry product line includes Payard’s cookies, and Payard’s product line includes “Financiers”. The website for Financier Pastry says their name is inspired by the financial district where their flagship store is located, but the name also evokes their custom - with each coffee they give a small French pastry in the shape of a gold bar called a “financier”. Payard also sells financiers – not in the shape of a gold bar. In fact, they look a bit like cupcakes, and Smitten Kitchen offers us a recipe for this treat which uses almond flour.
The cookies I make tend to be about 1.5 inch diametre - though if the batter is a bit runny, the cookies tend to flatten and spread to about two inches. Apparently, the original Payard cookies, that he sells to this day, are huge – four inch diametre. That being the case, "one" might be all any person could eat.
I went through a spell of making these often, and recently dusted off the recipe to make a batch for this blog entry. I was alone in the kitchen, tasting the first batch and practically startled myself with my “out loud voice” making all sorts of mmm, nomnom sounds. Love these cookies – resistance is futile!
Click here for the recipe. It’s another simple one that can be mixed by hand or mixer. Add it to the list of recipes that use up leftover egg whites.