Colpa Degno Cookies

81 Comments

There is a lovely restaurant called Powder that I take my mother to when I visit. It helps that it’s close to where she lives, because if I visit at any time between October and May, who knows how much snow I have to contend with getting anywhere not close.

My mother lives in Park City, Utah, which is known for its powder-like snow, thus the name of the restaurant. The restaurant is in the Waldorf Astoria, which doesn’t really seem to fit in my mind with the quaintness of Park City. The Waldorf makes me think of New York City for some reason.

In any case, when I last visited Mom in December, we dined at Powder and luckily didn’t have to deal with a blizzard.

The food has always been superb there, and the service slow but good. It seems like we have always ordered their charcuterie and cheese platter to start. Here are three of them I happened to document.

The first hurdle is always my mother fainting over how the waiter pronounces charcuterie. Being French, it’s still hard for her, even after 65 years of living in the U.S., to hear French words mis-pronounced. I’ve given up trying to convince her that charcuterie is a difficult word for Americans to say.

Also being French, my mother has a daily chocolate requirement, or at least enjoys a sweet after lunch. So after our cheese and you-know-what goodies, including an outstanding paté, we perused Powder’s dessert menu.

I ordered the Chocolate Dirt Pudding, but without the mint ice cream. She thought it would be too rich, like that’s ever stopped her!

This is what it looked like, after we both attacked it like we were starving. Not the prettiest dessert, but the black cherry fudge sauce was indescribable. Neither of us tasted the cherry part, interestingly enough, but it didn’t matter. The sauce, which was really a pudding, was fabulous.

After getting back home, I looked into Colpa Degno cookies, which were the crumbled “dirt” on the pudding. Turns out the name roughly translates to “worth the guilt.”

From Food52: Created by Megan Fitzroy Phelan, currently an owner of Richmond, Virginia’s lauded Longoven restaurant, and formerly a Sullivan Street pastry chef, these cookies are small and addictive and so delightful that they are well worth any remorse you might feel from eating a half dozen or so.

The actual cookie recipe is in this book:

I’m not much of a cookie or dessert maker, but I really wanted to recreate the dessert, including the mint ice cream, for my husband’s birthday. He loves chocolate and mint together, and he deserves a sin-worthy treat! And it all started with my making Colpa Degno.

Colpa Degno Cookies
Makes 2 dozen cookies

1 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 scant cup (40 g) unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Whites from 2 large eggs
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup (100 g) milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup (100 g) dark chocolate chips

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt with a fork in a medium bowl to combine.


Whisk together the egg whites and the vanilla with a fork in a small bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the egg whites; stir the mixture with the fork until it just begins to come together.

Add the chocolates and stir until well combined. The dough will be extremely sticky and as dark as black licorice.

At the bakery, we use a #60 scoop (like a small ice cream scoop) to scoop and ball these, but an ordinary 1 tablespoon measuring spoon works well too.

Pack the batter into the spoon by squashing and dragging the spoon against the inside of the bowl to make sure the rounds of dough are tight and compact – if the dough is too loosely packed, the cookies tend to really spread out and separate as they bake.


Place the rounds of dough on the parchment-lined cookie sheet a good 3” apart and bake for about 12 minutes or until the tops are glossy and set.

When the cookies are done, they will be quite gooey, but they will continue to cook as they cool.

Once they’ve cooled off enough to eat, they should be soft and chewy – if they’re hard or crisp, they’ve baked too much.


Cool the cookies on the paper, set on a wire rack, for 10 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Serve these cookies the day they are made.

Sneak preview to next post!

81 thoughts on “Colpa Degno Cookies

  1. Mimi, what a lovely restaurant! I can’t even begin to pronounce charcuterie! But the board looks very elegant. The colpa degno cookies look so decadent. I would love to keep a stash of these to enjoy after dinner.

    • I had one, because I had to taste one for the blog. Much like a chewy, chocolatey meringue. Very interesting. And definitely decadent! I’m sure you can pronounce charcuterie!

  2. You can tell your mother that having to have Chocolate every day seems to have made it’s way to Sweden. It’s an evening ritual for Eva’s to have a single truffle from our local Chocolaterie. Fantastic looking meal and even more fantastic looking cookie. They look like little brownie explosions and very yummy.

    • And, there’s a chocolate mousse involved. But not your everyday chocolate mousse. I hope you’ll stay tuned! I only made these cookies because of the restaurant’s dessert, but they were so easy, I’ll make them to have on hand for special get togethers. Chewy but also like meringues!

  3. These cookies look so rich and decadent! Absolutely lovely and perfectly in time for Valentine’s Day. And BTW, I always botch the pronunciation of “charcuterie,” even the English way. Your mom would be appalled. You gotta love “moms!” They’re the best.

    • Yes, she would. But it really is a hard word. In the past, she worked as a couturiere. She could have called herself a seamstress or tailor, but no, she wanted the Americans to struggle! Everyone mispronounces her name, which makes her crazy, but she calls my grandchild Henry, like Henri, with a French accent. What a pain in the ass!

    • No, she would not laugh. She would roll her eyes and then say something to me in French. Use your imagination. I can’t speak a bit of German.

  4. The cookies look wonderful, everything that we love in a cookie. I love a dessert that have layers of texture and flavours and this one seems to tick off a lot of boxes. It’s so nice you are still able to enjoy a nice lunch out with your mom.

    • Next time I see her will be for her 91st birthday celebration! She’s healthy as a horse, and probably attributes it to eating chocolate every day!

  5. Pretty sure I must be part French, too, Mimi, as I have daily chocolate needs as well. This post is so satisfying to look at – those cookies are gorgeous! Looking forward to your next post you pre-viewed! Thanks for the recipe!

    • Yeah, stay tuned for sure. There was just no way I could put everything into one post. The cookies I made only for the crumble/dirt part of the chocolate dirt pudding. But wow, they are easy, and I’m no baker!

    • I know! They’re really shiny, but still soft inside. Definitely can’t overlook them or you lose that. For a while their large serving board was actually a slab of petrified wood, which was beautiful, but so heavy and not manageable. My mother always suggested that they make them into lazy Susans, but they never did!

    • HAHAHAHAHAHA! I understand Sandra! I actually wonder what the calorie count would be for these cookies, given that there are only egg whites, sugar, and no butter or yolks? In any case, they’re really a treat!

  6. hi mimi
    when you said – at the bakery – does that mean you run a bakery? wow lots of hard work there.:) these cookies (biscuits for us aussies) look absolutely divinely delicious. cherry fudge sauce? you got me there. yummo! cheers sherry

    • No!!! I’m so not a baker! I’ll have to read my post and see how I was misinterpreted because I’m the last person to own a bakery!!!

  7. I really enjoyed hearing about your mother, Mimi. That’s so funny about her frustrating at the American “version” of charcuterie! :-) I don’t eat a lot of dessert, but when I do, it will always be chocolate. The Colpa Degno cookies sound absolutely wonderful. Deliciously decadent!

  8. I love that these are flourless. Believe it not, despite all my recipes, I cannot eat any grain (flour)! These are perfect for me. And, Powder sounds absolutely divine!

    • It’s a fabulous restaurant. You sure bake a lot of cakes for not being able to eat flour! You’ll love these cookies though!

  9. Powder sounds like a wonderful restaurant! Your mother must be a tough lady to live in Park City during the winter! Maybe that’s why she’s going on 91 :) These cookies look so delicious and I admit to having a weakness for chocolate myself.

    • The snow has gotten harder on her because (I think) we’ve finally convinced her not to do her own snow removal.

  10. I also have a daily chocolate requirement. Colpa degno is a weird mistranslation I think. Doesn’t mean much in Italian – maybe it started as degno di colpa? still weird but more grammatically correct. Sorry, I am a bit of a stickler. I just call them crackle cookies

    • That’s fine. It made a nice story for me. And, that’s what they’re called in the official recipe. Or, at least one official recipe!

  11. I could have that beautiful charcuterie platter for dinner every night! And these cookies for dessert. I’m a crazy chocolate lover, as is my 15-yr-old son. He has Celiac Disease so I’m so excited these are gluten-free. We will both love them. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  12. Oh, these look fantastic- plus now you’ve got me interested in buying YET ANOTHER cookbook! I just ate two of my ‘red velvet Valentine twinkies’ that I recently made for my latest post, so I’m full of chocolate (but I can always make room for your Colpa Degno Cookies!)

  13. I’m on your mother ‘s side. Badly pronounced food items drive me batty! I would love to speak French with your mom! The cookies look amazing – will be trying them soon for work!

    • Your French better be good! Honestly, French is hard, but Americans really don’t try, do they? Even wine names. My wine lady was talking about La Vielle Ferme recently and I had know idea what she was talking about. When I corrected her (only because she cares) I felt like I was channeling my mother!

  14. When I think Waldorf Astoria, I think NYC, too. Anyway, terrific cookies. And French really is hard for a lot of Americans to pronounce — those nasal sounds just don’t seem right. Well, at least not to me. Mrs KR was a French major in college, and has a good accent — she always makes fun of my French. :-)

    • Well, you can’t be worse than my husband. And it’s funny because his Spanish is spot on. My mother actually laughs at my husband’s attempts of repeating words he’s so bad!

    • Shar, with a French R sound, coo, tree, with a French R. Sort of. It’s not easy. Unless you’re planning on dining with my mother, don’t worry about it!!!

    • I bet that was memorable! So many beautiful hotels in NYC. These cookies were really easy for me, which is good since I’m not a baker!

  15. I have that cookbook! It’s a good one for sure. Plus, I’m always a sucker for good photos of bread. :-) I love the story behind these Colpa Degno cookies. They definitely look worth it to me. Also, dirt! I love that a fancy restaurant figured out how to make dirt classy. That makes me happy!

    • I was truly surprised to see it on the menu! But wow it was good. And these cookies are quite unique. At least to me. I’m not much of a sweet eater…

  16. Ahhh delish, what a temptation this must be! I don’t know that I could leave them lying around. Love the shine on the cookies, I’m not French like your ma ma, but I used to love the daily chocolate dose after every meal too. Ha! Those days are far gone now though. Sometimes, I will indulge in dark chocolate and nuts. What a wonderful treat with you and your ma ma! Trying to say it in my French accent :)

    • Hahahaha! She’s going to be 91 on her next birthday and I’ll probably take her to the same restaurant. And she’ll have some kind of dessert. She has so many cookies and chocolate goodies in her house. And she’s a tiny little thing. Maybe the French have a certain metabolism? One I didn’t inherit…

  17. Can I just say Mimi your husband is a fortunate and lucky man! You wanted to re-create the dessert you enjoyed in Powder. How I wish my good lady Lynne would cook just once in a while. Anyway, these cookies are amazing. I’m looking forward to seeing you use them to make the dessert in the next post! Yum!

    • Well I completely understand. I’ve never been cooked for before. Although I’d rather he not make an attempt! The dessert with the mousse just posted. It was truly exquisite.

  18. Love this post!! The Waldorf always has the best restaurants and the experience is always special. So happy you recreated the cookies because now I can do it at home! I’m going to make the dessert like you did, with the mint chocolate chip ice cream too.

    • Good. It’s so good it really surprised me! Mostly because mint chocolate ice cream isn’t my favorite flavor, but boy does it work beautifully with the mousse and the cookie crumb!

    • They used to serve their cheese and charcuterie on a giant slab of petrified wood, and the poor waiters had such a hard time carrying them! Too heavy! But always beautiful.

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