Similarly, there's this illusion about teachers that they can either be nice or demanding, and that only one of these qualities is effective. I remember reading one article which contrasted "the kind of teacher who brings in brownies" with "the kind of teacher that demands results." Seriously, who comes up with this festering load of flapdoodle? I bet it's the same people that think tasty and healthy are mutually exclusive. This isn't to say that there aren't teachers who mistake being liked for being respected, and end up foregoing academic rigor for fear of not being liked, but let me tell you this: brownies—or any other kind of food—have nothing to do with it. On the other side of it, there are also teachers who mistake being disliked for being respected, and brownies have nothing to do with that either.
This year, I have several students with dietary restrictions, so most of my go-to treats leave someone out. Enter these mouthwatering, crackly-topped, fudgy cookies, which happen, by my old co-worker's definition, to be totally "fun-free." No dairy, no gluten, no flour at all in fact. No need: the sugar, cocoa and egg whites around which they're built contain none of those things.
My sister's been making this one where she works, and scrawled down the recipe for me. As long as I leave the nuts out, this addresses all of the dietary restrictions I face at school, without any weird ingredient replacements. Even better, it is an incredibly simple recipe. A little Googling tracks this recipe back to one by François Payard in Gourmet's April 2002 issue, as digitized by Molly Wizenburg at Orangette, though I'm not sure where specifically my sister got hold of it. Wizenburg calls them "Featherweight Cookies"; a very similar recipe circulates as "Chocolate Puddle Cookies." I'm going with "Magic Cookies" because they are pretty damn magical. Besides, who needs "fun" when you have magic?
- 3 cups (12 oz) confectioner's sugar
- ¾ c. cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 2 c. mix-ins (toasted nuts, chocolate chips, cacao nibs, etc)
- 4 large egg whites (~1/2 cup), preferably at room temperature
- 1 tsp. vanilla
Chocolate Magic Cookiesgluten-free, dairy-free, nuts optional
25 minutes, start to finish, makes about 32 three-inch cookies