Flourless Walnut-Chocolate Cookies

Source:  Francois Payard’s Chocolate Epiphany; cir. 2008

Flourless chocolate walnut cookies

If you love walnuts, chocolate, and sugar, then I think this is the cookie for you!  The highlights of this cookie are that it's flour-less, butter-less and loaded with ooey-gooey chocolatey flavor.  It's a cookie that takes a bit of patience, and  understanding that your not working with flour so you have less binding properties.  Thus leads to the likely hood of the cookie falling a part-but the key is waiting for the cookie to cool completely.  I just take it out of the oven after 12 minutes of baking, and let the entire batch sit and cool on the cookie sheet.  It usually takes about 20 minutes to cool, and obviously the biggest challenge there is keeping everyone's hands out of the cookies!  However, it's well worth working out the kinks.  I do not work with cooking sprays, but perhaps you might give it a try.  You can serve the cookies on individual squares of baking paper, cut out's if you will.  It gives the cookie a nice presentation, and less of a chance of getting your fingers full of the chocolate.  Another great serving idea is to serve a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream in between 2 cookies, on a plate.  I hope you enjoy this recipe, as it brings back fond memories for me.  The first time I made these was on Obama's first inauguration.  It was a time to celebrate! 


Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 32 minutes
Servings 20 cookies


  • 2 3/4 cups halved walnuts
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cups cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 large egg whites at room temperature
  • 1 TBS pure vanilla extract


  1. First step:  turn on oven to 350 Fahrenheit, and bake your walnuts for 9 minutes until golden

  2. when golden in color, take out and cool

  3. when cooled, chop coarsely and set aside

  4. this is also the time when I'll prepare my home-made confectioners' sugar in my vitamix-

  5. Now, the first 2 steps are finished for me, measure out the cocoa powder

  6. and combine rest of dry ingredients in a metal bowl, whisk to combine

  7. Add the walnuts, and egg whites, and whisk

  8. mix for a minute or two until well combines

  9. take a large spoon, and on a baking lined sheet, spoon on the dough.  I work with 3 rows of 3, seems enough room for them to grow and expand in the baking process. 

  10. Bake @ 320 degrees, for about 12 minutes.

  11. take out, and let cool completely before removing. 


Pasta Fresca (fresh pasta)

Source:  Mom; cir. 1980’s

pasta fresca

Home-made pasta has been in my life since as long as I can remember.  My fondest memories are when my Nonni would make home-made pasta for a holiday as the family would gather around and devour it.  Growing up, my mom would make home-made pasta on occasion, and I still have the taste in my mouth...yes, it's that good!  It's now become a standing tradition that my mom makes her home-made ravioli's every Easter, and Christmas.  It's typical of the Northern Italian culture to make the pasta with whole grain flour and eggs, while the Southerner's made the pasta with semolina and water.  It's hard to believe that pasta has been around since inception and boasts over 300 shapes to be found in.  The drying of pasta began in the 1300's and gained a fine reputation for providing good nutrition and having a long shelf life.  Not much has changed since then, other than the extensive outdoor drying methods the Italians used to use.  Good quality store-bought pasta is  quite good, but there is a distinct difference with the taste and texture of bought vs. home-made.  If you have attachment tools for your electric mixers, or an electric noodle maker, then your job is much easier than working with an old-style genuine article from Italy.  I'm not ready to give up my hand crank machine quite yet.  Working with it gives me good reason to pull my kids in to help.  While engrossed in the process of making your own noodles, you watch how 2 simple ingredients, flour and eggs transform into a complete and delicious meal.   I don't know, it still impresses me!  Give it a whirl.  The recipe is stupidly simple, and the results are amazingly rich! 


Course 2 Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 32 minutes
Servings 5 people


  • 1 lb flour 3 1/2 cups flour+1/4 c. semolina
  • 4 eggs + 1 more if needed during mixing
  • 2 drizzles olive oil for smoothness


  1. Begin with your flour mixture.  The recipe calls for 1lb. flour.  I used 3 1/2 cups of white flour and 1/4 cup of semolina

  2. Create a well in the middle and add the eggs in the middle.

  3. Begin to mix by hand.  This process takes about 5 minutes until you have achieved a nice soft textured, well combined dough.  In this case, I added an additional egg (5 in total) because it was still a bit dry.

  4. When the dough feels well combined and on the softer side, rather than firmer side...then you're ready

  5. Slice about 1" pieces from the dough, length wise to prepare in running it through the machine

  6. Your machine is attached to a table or board, butcher block, or anything stable that prevents any slippage during the process of making the noodles.

  7. Take your first cut dough, somewhat flatten the starting edge, and begin on setting number 1. 

  8. We're about mid-way through with the first step.  This is on setting 3, and as you will see, the dough gets thinner and longer each step.

  9. This is what it looks like (length and thickness) after setting 6. 

  10. Lay the dough out, and get ready to run it through the noodle attachment.  We went with the fettuchini attachment. 

  11. You can see, it's been nicely cut through the noodle roller.

  12. Continue step by step until you are done with the dough.  Find table space to lay out the noodles, and keep them sprinkled with flour to assist in the drying process and to help prevent the noodles from sticking together.  I let my noodles sit out and dry for about 1 hour.  I think it cooks better this way, rather than putting it immediately in boiling water. 

  13. When the hour has passed, I pick up my clusters, separating them out as I go,  yet piling the noodles on top of another.  You'll see what I mean when you work. 

  14. Put them in rapidly boiling water for about 1 minute.  Test before pouring the water out, but mine took just under 1 minute to cook.

  15. Mix noodles together with your delicious home-made sauce. 

    Serve and enjoy!

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