I was auditioning Christmas cookies this weekend (does anyone else do this, or am I nuts?) and I found a keeper. I was also looking for something that Mr. Tastebud could have without guilt, even on his low cholesterol diet.
These cookies are wonderful - they don't taste like they skimp on anything. They don't have any butter, egg yolks, or cream, and there's very little oil. However, there is a ton of chocolate and sugar. So they're not low cal, but they are on Mr. T's diet. And they're FABULOUS cookies - I couldn't stop eating them. They taste like gooey, chewy brownies.
Here's a paraphrase of the recipe, from The Eating Well New Favorites Cookbook (which I love and highly recommend).
In a large bowl, sift together 2 cups flour, 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar, 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (NOT Dutch-process), 2 1/2 tsp baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt. (Plus a pinch more - chocolate loves salt.)
In a small, heavy saucepan, combine 3 1/2 oz unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped (use good-quality chocolate, and don't make the mistake I made by using bittersweet instead of unsweetened - it's too sweet) and 3-1/2 Tbsp Canola oil. Warm over low heat, stirring frequently and being careful that the chocolate doesn't scorch. When the chocolate is melted, remove from heat and let cool slightly. Then stir in 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar, 1/3 cup light corn syrup, and 1 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract (I used Penzey's double-strength vanilla, and the amount was perfect).
Whisk in 4 large egg yolks; mix until no lumps remain. Gently stir the chocolate mixture into the flour mixture until just barely smooth. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until firm enough to shape into balls; at least 2-1/2 hours and up to 8 hours.
Prepare 2 baking sheets (lightly oil, spray with nonstick spray, or cover with silpat) and preheat oven to 350 degrees. (Note: The cookies stick slightly to the silpat, but the oil/spray makes the bottoms gummy. I prefer silpat.)
Put the remaining 1 cup sugar in a shallow bowl. Pinch off small portions of dough and roll into 1-inch balls. Dredge each ball in confectioner's sugar until heavily coated (the heavier the better - do not remove excess sugar, as the cookies spread a lot while baking.)
Arrange the cookies on baking sheets, about 1-1/2 inches apart. Bake for 8 or 10 minutes, or until the tops are almost firm when tapped. Let the cookies stand until they firm up slightly, about 2 minutes. With a spatula, transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool
Makes about 4 dozen cookies. You can store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days. (Not sure if they can be frozen; I'm experimenting with this and will report back.)