Cafe Volcano Cookies

P1090520

These cookies are light and crispy in the way of meringue, with crunchiness from the nuts.  The almonds and walnuts erupt upwards as the cookies bake, giving each one a unique appearance.  (Translation: They’re not pretty, but they’re really good.)

 

Cafe Volcano Cookies
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

Yield: 36 cookies

  • 1 cup blanched almonds (whole, sliced or slivered), coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup walnuts OR pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/2 – 1 cup sugar, depending on how sweet you want them
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  1. Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil, parchment paper, or silicone mats.
  2. Spread the chopped almonds and walnuts out on one of the baking sheets and toast the nuts in the oven. They will need 10 minutes or less to turn golden brown, so keep a close eye on them and stir them at least twice. When the nuts are toasted, remove them — with the liner — from the baking sheet and cool the sheet. Transfer the nuts to a plate, then reline the sheet and use it to bake the cookies.  (Alternatively, you can toast the nuts in your toaster oven and preheat the big oven later.)
  3. Put all the ingredients, including the nuts, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Set it over medium heat and stir constantly with a silicone or wooden spatula until the ingredients are just warm to the touch. Remove from the heat.
  4. Drop the batter by slightly rounded teaspoonfuls onto the baking sheets, leaving about an inch of space between the mounds.
  5. Bake the cookies for about 20 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. When properly baked, the cookies will be puffed, cratered, shiny, and dry.
  6. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them remain on the sheets for 5 minutes before gently prying them from the liners and transferring them to racks to cool to room temperature.
  7. To store: Kept in a cool, dry place at room temperature (they should never be refrigerated), the cookies will hold up for about 3 days. As with all meringues, humidity will make them go soggy and sticky.

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