Thursday, June 2, 2011

Meringue Cookies

My Grandma used to make these all the time. This and her coconut tarts. But her coconut tart recipe is a secret... so I can't share it. Not even with you : ( I know it's sad, but she didn't even want to share it with me! I bet she doesn't even realize that she did once. Bet she forgot completely... I didn't though hehe. Anyways, this recipe wasn't a huge secret so I was able to get it with the blessing to share it. Plus, it's a widely used recipe so I bet a lot of you already have it.

Meringue cookies are these delicate little clouds. Verrry delicate. Be careful with them or they will break apart in your hands. Which seems annoying, but is really what makes them so great. Because they are meant to break apart in a melting kind of manner in your mouth. They are almost marshmallow tasting in flavor and not at all in texture. You can put chocolate chips in them, mini or regular (I prefer mini), you can put in chopped nuts or even a mixture of different flavored chocolate chips. You can even chop in some peppermint candy and sub 1/2 tsp peppermint extract for peppermint meringue cookies. They are very versatile. Heck, you can even make them plain.

I really like meringue cookies because they are a quick way to use up extra egg whites (when you make ice cream or carbonara and use up a plethora of yolks and don't want to be wasteful). The best part is that you just drop them on a cookie tray, put them in a heated oven, turn the oven off, and forget about them! That's why they are sometimes called "forgotten cookies". I always leave mine overnight, but you can obviously make them in the morning and leave them all day and retrieve them at night too. 

Meringue Cookies

2 egg whites, room temperature
pinch of salt or 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup (6 oz) semisweet chocolate chips, regular or mini

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar or salt and beat until fluffy but not at all dry. (Be careful not to over beat.) Add the sugar gradually, about 3 tablespoons at a time. When 1/2 of the sugar has been added, add the vanilla extract. Continue beating and adding remaining sugar in batches, until all of the sugar is dissolved and the meringue is very shiny and tight. Gently fold in the chocolate chips. Working one teaspoon at a time, push a teaspoonful of meringue from the tip of 1 teaspoon with the back of another teaspoon onto the lined baking sheets, leaving 1-inch of space between cookies. Place baking sheets in the preheated oven and turn the oven off. Leave the cookies (undisturbed) in the oven for at least 2 hours and up to overnight, or until cookies are crisp and dry.

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