Flourless Fudge Cookies: cocoa, eggs, and sugar make magic

When you visit our store and bakery in Norwich, Vermont, one of the more irresistible offerings in the bakery’s case are large, shiny, crackly-topped delights called Flourless Fudge Cookies. There’s no greater testament to the magical alchemy of cocoa, egg whites, and sugar than these dark, delicious circles of goodness.

Flourless Fudge Cookie RecipeThey’re amazingly easy to make at home, too. You can have them in the oven in 5 minutes. They only bake for 8, so the distance from wish to fulfillment is pretty darned short.

At the bakery, and across the river at Dartmouth College in their Baker-Berry Café, we sell between 35 and 45 of these delicious, palm-sized cookies every day. Which means that when King Arthur baker Maggie J. Perry makes cookies at the bakery, she’s working at a slightly different scale than you or I do at home. The steps, however, are the same. Let’s go behind the big bakery window and see how the pros go about it.

dry ingredients for flourless fudge cookies

My test kitchen batch uses a teaspoon of espresso powder and Double Dutch cocoa; my cookies are a tad darker than the bakery’s version.

Flourless Cookies SM-2Confectioners’ sugar and Bensdorp cocoa are put through a screen to take out lumps. I use a whisk; Maggie uses some muscle.

addvanillaFlourless Cookies SM-1Egg whites and vanilla are next. Maggie has her mise en place all ready, and is moving to the mixer to put everything together.

The bakery’s batch is mixed in a 60-quart mixer (the bowl holds 15 gallons, if that helps you visualize), and makes more than 40 pounds of dough, which will keep in the walk-in refrigerator for almost a week.

Flourless Cookies SM-3First, the dry ingredients are poured into the bowl. A slit-open 50-pound flour bag acts as a super-duty, extra-large piece of parchment.

Flourless Fudge cookiesNext, the egg whites and vanilla are added and mixed until the dough is moistened and comes together. Then the chopped walnuts join the party.


My mixer is a little more basic.

addnutschipsI’ve added some mini chips to my batch, because more chocolate is always better. I found that the optional additions to the recipe added about 2 minutes to the baking time.

Flourless Cookies SM-5

Flourless Cookies SM-6Time to scoop. Maggie is using a muffin scoop, which makes a cookie that’s about 4″ across, a size that makes a statement in the bakery case.

Our home recipe calls for smaller options: a teaspoon scoop for smaller cookies, and a tablespoon scoop for 3″ diameter ones. Maggie gives each cookie plenty of space on this full sheet pan (18″ wide, 24″ long).

Flourless Cookies SM-7To make each cookie a uniform shape, it helps to press them down just a bit.

The bakery uses a large convection oven, and the fan will set the outside of the cookies pretty quickly, before they spread very much.

smushnosmushIn the test kitchen, I decided to investigate whether this was going to make a difference in my still (non-convection) oven.

It did. The smooshed cookies (center above) were more round, and not as tall, obviously. All perfectly delicious, just a little different.Flourless Cookies SM-8Now THAT’S an oven! Imagine having your entire linen closet at home heated to 350°F. Most of us don’t have to think of heat-resistant soles for our shoes when we bake, but when you have an oven like this, it’s a real concern!

Flourless Cookies SM-9

Many thanks to Julia Reed for taking this and the other wonderful bakery photos.

A few short minutes in the oven; about 10 minutes to cool before you take them off the pan, and here they are, in all their lusciousness.

If you can’t get to Vermont – hopefully you can get into your kitchen. Have you been to our store? Do you have a favorite cookie from our bakery?

Please read, print, bake, and rate our recipe for Flourless Fudge Cookies.

Susan Reid

Chef Susan Reid grew up in New Jersey, graduated from Bates College and the Culinary Institute of America, and is presently the Food Editor of Sift magazine. She does demos, appearances, and answers food (and baking) questions from all quarters.


  1. M

    Hi, these look delicious. But I wanted to comment and make sure that when you sell them at your store you tell people they’re not gluten-free. In terms of cross-contamination, there’s a pretty big difference between “made in the same kitchen as gluten products” and assembled on a flour bag. In my opinion, in that case flour should be listed as an ingredient.

    Sorry, I’m probably overreacting. But as a person with celiac disease, the only thing worse than people people adding flour to otherwise gluten-free recipes (like flouring a pan for flourless chocolate cake with wheat flour instead of cocoa powder) is when they do it and don’t mention it and then I get sick from something that claimed to be gluten-free.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      M–thanks for your concern about the safety of our customers who visit our bakery. We take potential allergens very seriously and therefore, we do not sell anything that comes from our bakery as “gluten-free” for this reason exactly. Our bakery and bakers are usually happily covered in a thin layer of flour, so there is always a possibility of cross-contamination. There is a sign near the cash registers at our cafe that informs people “Our kitchen is not gluten-free,” and customers are given this information if they inquire about gluten-free options.

      For those people who are looking for a gluten-free option however, our lunch specials can be served on a gluten-free bread that is made in a certified gluten-free kitchen by FREE BREAD. Again, the sign does remind customers that although the bread is certified gluten-free it is prepared in our kitchen, where there is a possibility of cross-contamination.

      Instead, we do offer a few “flourless” (as opposed to gluten-free) treats, including the following: Flourless chocolate cookies, coconut macaroons, chocolate indulgence cakes, almond cloud cookies, and florentines. The flourless fudge cookies are a favorite treat for people who are looking to cut back on the gluten and the big-time bread eaters alike (but should not be the choice for those with celiac disease). This is a fabulous recipe and when made in the safety of your own home, you can certainly make it 100% gluten-free. Thanks for your inquiry! –Kye@KAF

    2. anna alexander

      Rest Assured: I was recently at the Vermont facility, and the first thing they mentioned, as I was oogling these cookies, was that although they are flour-free, given the environmental flour cross-contamination, they should not be considered gluten free. At home, the recipe can be made gluten-free.

  2. kim G

    I was recently at the Norwich VT cafe and had a maple leaf shaped cookie with maple cream filling. Where can I get the recipe for those cookies and filling. They are the best! Kim

  3. April was in CT now CA

    My husband I visited the store several years ago (pre-renovation), but moved to CA about four years ago at which time I followed along with the renovation progress online and was quite sad we were too far away for a visit when it reopened. Well, fast forward to a few months ago and we found out our new destination with his military career will be Boston, MA! One of the first thoughts that came to mind was how excited I would be to finally visit the “new” store after we get moved and settled. So now I’ll be able to try these cookies at home and then compare to the store version!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      April, not only will you be able to come try these delicious flourless fudge cookies, but we hope you will consider joining us for a class at our Baking Education Center. The spring schedule of classes was just released and there are some intriguing new additions (like the Tiramisu class!). Your enthusiasm for our store and products make us grin. Thanks for sharing, April and we look forward to your visit to our bakery and cafe! –Kye@KAF

    2. Susan Reid, post author

      We’ll be here to welcome you back to the East with a hot cup of coffee and all the snacks you could wish for! Susan

  4. Alyssa

    These look amazing! I don’t have Bensdorp cocoa but I have KAF double dutch cocoa on-hand, any chance I can swap them in the recipe?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Alyssa, we prefer to use the Bensdorp cocoa because its high-fat content makes it utterly luscious, melt-in-your mouth chocolately delicious, but the double-dutch cocoa is a great Plan B. Happy baking! –Kye@KAF

  5. tami

    My daughter and I were spying in through the windows before Christmas and Maggie was very sweet to my daughter. She came out and said hello and asked about my daughters cool new hat ! I am happy to know her name!!!

    1. Susan Reid, post author

      Isn’t it great to be able to make those connections? Happy to be of service! Susan

    1. Susan Reid, post author

      I haven’t tried it, but I think this might be really good with coconut sugar. They’re so quick to put together it’s certainly worth a try! Susan

  6. Karen

    Will the recipe work with a pasteurized egg white product like Organic Valley Egg Whites or AllWhites? If so, how many ounces or grams would I use?

    1. Susan Reid, post author

      Hi, Karen. Yes, I think it will. 3 large egg whites are just about 3 1/2 ounces, or 99 grams. Susan

  7. Joy Hamner

    This will be awesome for the Ketogenic eating lifestyle I am now on. I will just sub MY confectioners sugar. Might have to play with it, but that will be okay!!

  8. Kalisa

    I would love to make a big batch of cookies in a professional kitchen sized mixer! That looks like a lot of fun to work with so much dough at once. My dream job is to be a bread baker that comes in at 4am to get a bakery started for the day, so this is the kind of thing I day dream about!

    1. Susan Reid, post author

      Kalisa, you can envision having a dough scraper in your hand, washing yourself up to the shoulder, then diving in to scrape the bowl while you’re at it! Helps to do some weightlifting, too! 😉 Susan

  9. sharon

    I visited the store and cafe in the end August of 2014. I LOVED the whoopie pies. They were the classic chocolate ones with vanilla filling. I have eaten many, many whoopie pies and these surpassed them all. I bought extras and snacked on them for 4 days. The chocolate part was a fantastic rich chocolate, but the real star was the filling.
    I looked in my King Arthur cookbooks and searched your website for whoopie pie recipes, but none of them seemed to match what I bought at the cafe. The filling layer was very light, almost like whipped cream (but I believe it was shelf stable because i don’t think it was in the refrigerator when i bought it and i left it on the table). I would love to know how to make those whoopie pies.

    Also, I saw that the bakery made roasted potato bread. Unfortunately, I was not there on the day it was available. I looked for a recipe for roasted potato bread everywhere and could not come up with one. I’d love to try making that bread. It sounded so good.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sharon, we’re so happy to hear you were so pleased with the whoopie pies that were served in our bakery! They really are a unique, New England dessert. The recipe is that is closest to what is served at our bakery can be found here: http://bit.ly/1MaCTdd The filling is made entirely from scratch rather than adding in some marshmellow cream. We have close to a dozen different whoopie pie recipes on our website, so feel free to experiment and try to find the one that you like the best! They are all winners, but they vary is how heavy their filling is and the flavor and texture of the cake. The great whoopie pie hunt is on…

      As for the roasted potato bread, we do have a Roasted Garlic and Potato version on our website, which is just heavenly. It’s like a jacked-up version of your favorite garlic bread. Here is the recipe:http://bit.ly/a2FYyB We hope you enjoy it as much as we do! Happy whoopie-pie making and bread baking to you! –Kye@KAF

    2. sharon

      Thank you so much. I will be using both of these recipes. I can’t wait to make the whoopie pies. I never would have guessed that meringue powder is in the filling. Can you tell me, could I substitute dried egg whites? What would I have to add to them to make them into meringue powder? I usually have dried egg whites on hand.

      Even if I do master the whoopie pies , I will visit the bakers store and cafe again. It is a wonderful place to visit with fantastic food. It is so cool to watch the bakers and big ovens in action.

  10. Janice

    I am on “gluten avoidance” … made these cookies and they are great! Problem here at over 5000′ was I needed more moisture to even incorporate all ingredients. I even used the espresso powder although I do not like coffee and it wasn’t noticible at all! I ordered the cocoa that was shown with the recipe when it was published in the catalog which is not the Bensdrop, but double Dutch dark. Now I have reordered the same cocoa again to continue making the cookies. If you had a preferred cocoa for these cookies, why didn’t it show up in the catalog as such? I would have followed your recommendation. Glad to get the measure for pasteurized egg whites.

  11. Nancy Morris

    I have made these cookies 3 times. I lightly toasted pecans ground them in old fashioned nut grinder and used 2 cups. Got 60 small cookies. Parchment is the best to handle these little gems. My daughter has gone gluten free and I was looking for something she could enjoy. I eat the the first batch almost by myself! I gave about 1/2 of the second batch away to friends. Rave Reviews. The third batch I froze to take to my daughter next week. The cookies are so good if you love chocolate.

  12. member-blchartier5

    I was wondering if I could use Almonds instead of Walnuts…I’m allergic to those? Thanks

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Feel free to add to 2 cups of mix-ins of your choice: slivered almonds, chocolate chips, or anything else that you think would pair well with chocolate and espresso. If you substitute another nut of your choice, be sure to crush them up or buy the silvered variety so that each bite of the cookie is packed with deliciousness! Happy baking! –Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Alex, there’s nothing wrong with being a health-aware baker! If you follow the link to the recipe (http://bit.ly/1gCdHMM), you will see the nutrition information at the bottom of the page, below the directions for how to make the cookies. Happy (healthy) baking! –Kye@KAF

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      HI Ed,
      You can try your favorite commercial egg replacer instead of the eggs in the recipe. You may need to do a little adjusting to get a cookie that doesn’t spread too much. ~ MJ

  13. Mimi Alberu

    Susan, where did you get that awesome hand mixer? It looks like an antique (or at least venerable from lots of use). I’ve never seen one like that, but it looks perfect for when you don’t want to bother getting out a mixer or food processor for a recipe.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      That mixer is actually our dough whisk! Works great on heavier items, needs no power but your arm, and easy peasy to clean up. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

  14. jen yee

    Do you know if they bake up better after being chilled in the fridge overnight? The commercial batter in the photos looks nice and managable.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Jen, allowing this dough to chill in the fridge is a great way to prevent these cookies from spreading too much while they bake. You can chill them for as little as 30 minutes or as much as overnight–just be sure that if you are going to leave them overnight you cover the top with plastic wrap so that the dough does not dry out. Happy flourless baking! –Kye@KAF

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