Chocolate Meringue Cookies

Chocolate Meringue Cookies

Theoretically, meringue cookies are easy- you're simply whisking together egg whites, sugar, and a couple of other ingredients.  But in reality, perfect meringue takes some practice and little know-how.  With these tips and this technique, you can make perfect meringue anytime.  Use the recipe to make cookies, pavlova, or dozens of other recipes.  Don't want chocolate, simply eliminate the cocoa powder (coffee works well too!) or add crush hazelnuts and orange zest.  This recipe makes 6 individual pavlovas or 4 dozen meringue cookies.  Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 organic egg whites
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar (if you can't find it, ¾ tsp of distilled white vinegar can work too)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup + 2 teaspoons superfine sugar (not powdered sugar!), divided
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 300º F.
  2. Whisk egg whites, vanilla extract and cream of tartar in a stand mixer on medium-high for 3 minutes.
  3. After 3 minutes, stop the mixer to check the egg whites, which should resemble frothy soapsuds.  Keep beating until they begin to form soft, opaque peaks.  Another sign to look for, is that tracks from the whisk attachment begin to show up on the surface of the whites.  (If tracks do not appear yet, keep beating until they appear, checking every 20 seconds).
  4. Start adding the ½ cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing each spoonful of sugar to fully incorporate into the egg whites before adding another.
  5. Once you have beat in all of the sugar, stop the mixer to check the consistency.  It should be thick and glossy, almost like marshmallow fluff.  This means that you are almost there.
  6. Test to see if the sugar is fully incorporated by rubbing a small amount of the meringue between hour fingers- if it is smooth, excellent.  If it is gritty, keep beating until it is smooth.
  7. Add the cocoa powder.
  8. Now continue to whisk the whites until you have stiff, glossy peaks.  To check for peaks, remove the whisk attachment and hold it upright- the meringue should hold its shape.
  9. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch, 2 teaspoons sugar and 1/8 teaspoon salt.  Sprinkle this mixture over the meringue and gently fold it in with a rubber spatula- this will stabilize the meringue and ensure that your hard earned peaks remain.
  10. If making cookies, either spoon meringue onto parchment lined baking sheet or carefully fill piping bag and pipe shapes (about 1 ½ to 2-inches in diameter) onto the parchment lined sheet.
  11. Bake for approximately 30 minutes; they should just barely have a light golden color.
  12. Serve at room temperature or store in airtight container for up to 2-3 days based on humidity.
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