When life gives you egg whites…
After making a giant pan of tiramisu for a dinner party last week (recipe and story forthcoming), I was left with a container of egg whites begging to be whipped into light and airy peaks and transformed into something sweet. I perused my shelf of baking books for inspiration and finally settled on a recipe from Alice Medrich’s Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy, Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies. I’ve had this book for years, but despite fawning over the pages, hadn’t made a recipe from it yet. The success of this inaugural recipe has me already planning out my next cookie baking adventure.
There are about ten or so recipes for meringue cookies in this book, with variations listed for each, so for an indecisive person like myself, settling on just one was not easy. And in a way, you can say I didn’t even do that. Rather, I baked a version that combines all sorts of flavors. It’s a white meringue spiked with espresso powder and cinnamon and speckled with bittersweet chocolate crumbs that are made by pulverizing dark chocolate and sugar. Although it may sound like there’s a lot going on, the combination of coffee, chocolate, and marshmallow-y meringue melded together into delightfully crisp, airy bites—a simple, delicate, yet decadent use of leftover ingredients.
“Not-So-Plain” Mocha Meringues
adapted from Alice Medrich’s Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy, Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies
5 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
⅔ cup sugar
⅛ tsp salt
3 lg egg whites at room temp
¼ tsp cream of tartar*
2 tsp instant espresso powder
⅛ tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 200. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a food processor combine chocolate and ⅓ cup sugar and pulse until the chocolate is in crumb-sized pieces. In a large bowl use a hand mixer (or use a stand mixer) to whip egg whites and cream of tartar until they are opaque and forming soft peaks. At this point, add espresso powder, cinnamon and remaining ⅓ cup sugar slowly while continuing to beat egg whites until they are forming very stiff peaks. This will take another 1 ½ – 2 minutes. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of batter onto parchment paper, about 1 inch apart. Bake for 2 hours, rotating pans halfway through. After 2 hours of baking, turn oven off and allow meringues to cool in the oven. Remove from the oven once cool and store in an airtight container.
*I subbed a squeeze of lemon juice (about ¼ tsp) for the cream of tartar, and it worked just fine!