The drinks and dishes I tried on my trip to Avery Island inspired me to think about Tabasco in new ways. Of course you can use it in things like in guacamole or in a bloody mary, but how about something unexpected, for example, cookies?
I made François Payard Flourless Chocolate-Walnut Cookies twice during Passover this year and they were gobbled up so quickly that I didn't even get to snap a photo. After following the recipe closely, I decided to put my own twist on it. The cookies are mostly powdered sugar, cocoa powder and egg whites. They are crisp and crackly on the outside but moist and fudgy, almost like brownies on the inside. But perhaps not surprisingly, they are a bit sweet.
To temper the sweetness I added Tabasco and cacao nibs. The Tabasco gives just a hint of heat in the background. You'll barely notice it, but it definitely takes these cookies to the next level. While the toasted walnuts add crunch and a contrasting bitterness, unsweetened cacao nibs help to balance the sweetness even more. Though I wouldn't call these cookies spicy, they do remind me of hot chocolate. The original recipes calls for Dutch process cocoa, but I tested it with natural cocoa (Hershey's and Valrhona) and it worked fine. I make the cookies smaller than Payard does because I'd rather have two cookies than one, but feel free to make them whatever size you like best. You can also make a half batch.
Hot Chocolate Cookies (adapted from François Payard)
makes about 40
2 cups walnut halves
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch-process or natural)
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
2/3 cup cacao nibs
Preheat oven to 320 degrees. Chop the walnut roughly, place on a parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for 7-10 minutes, just until they are golden and fragrant. Let walnuts cool slightly. In a large bowl, whisk the confectioners’ sugar with the cocoa powder and salt. Add the egg whites, vanilla and Tabasco and stir just until the batter is moistened (do not overbeat). Fold in the walnuts and cacao nibs using a spatula. Spoon a heaping teaspoon of batter onto the baking sheets (or make them as large as a tablespoon if you prefer) and bake for 15 minutes, until the tops are glossy and lightly cracked. Let cookies cool then peel off the parchment paper.
Disclaimer: I created this recipe on behalf of Tabasco and I was compensated for it. The choice to post it here, was my own.