Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Chocolate Biscuits: The Oldest Chocolate Cookie

Chocolate Biskets

The oldest chocolate cookies are made with no flour, usually just ground chocolate, egg whites, powdered sugar, and sometimes, ground almond meal.  Therefore, they are really chocolate flavored meringues.  I love the way they puff up in the oven!

Here is one of the oldest recipes I could find:

Francois Massialot, The Court and Country Cook, (France in 1691, translated to English in 1702)

Scrape some chocolate upon the white of an egg, but not too much; because it is only requisite to give it the taste and colour of the chocolate.  Then take powder-sugar, and mingle it well with the rest of the ingredients, till they become a pliable paste:  afterwards dress your biskets, upon sheets of paper, in any figure, that you shall think fit, and set them into the oven, to be bak’d with a gentle fire, as well on the top as underneath.

Recipe for these cookies pop up regularly throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.  Here are two 19th c. ones I use as a basis for my modern transcription (below): 

Chocolate Biscuits
B. Clermont, The Professed Cook, or the Modern Art of Cookery, Pastry & Confectionary Made Plain and Easy, 1812

Pound a quarter of a pound of chocolate, and mix it with four yolks of eggs, and half a pound of fine powder-sugar; add eight whites beat up , a quarter of a pound of flour; pour them upon the paper with a spoon of what length or bigness you please.
Another method with chocolate.  Make a paste with much the same quantity of chocolate, six whites of eggs, and sugar sufficient to make the paste pretty firm, dress it in flowers, designs, or moulds, according to imagination and fancy, and bake as the biscuits.


2 ounces chocolate, at least 85% chocolate
3 egg whites
6-7 cups Confectioner’s sugar, plus more to coat the board

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a food processor, grate the chocolate. Add the egg whites. Add 3-4 cups of the sugar. The mixture will thicken up. When it gets too stiff for the processor blade, turn the dough out into a bowl. Add as much additional sugar as needed to make a dough that is not sticky. Using confectioner’s sugar, coat a rolling pin and board. Roll the dough and cut with cookie cutters. Place on the cookie sheets, leaving about ½ inch between each biscuit. Bake for 10-12 minutes. They will rise up and puff while baking.

Note:  You must use parchment paper and leave them on the paper to cool.

Cool and store in a cool, dry tin.
Yield: 80 2” biscuits

1 comment:

  1. Do you sift the icing sugar/confectioner's sugar before using it in your recipe?


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