Tis the season for sweets and goodies…Ok, well the holiday season is almost over and I am up to my ears in cookies and candies – but I still love them and I’m sure you do too. So this year, instead of trying to finish up the last of them before New Years so I can fulfill my resolution of losing the weight gained from holiday indulgences. I’m making a more productive resolution – perfecting my recipes and sharing them with my readers. To misquote ZeFrank, “indulging, so you don’t have to”, enjoy!
Today’s recipe was a cookie invention of necessity, sort of. I made crème brûlée (recipe coming soon) using several egg yolks, which left me with several unused egg whites. Meringue seemed like the answer to my question “what do I do with all these fracking egg whites?!”
Once you have gotten the hang of beating egg whites these cookies are a snap to make. They do require a long time in the oven, so keep that in mind when making them.
Mocha Meringue Cookies
6 egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar, baker’s sugar or fine grain works best
1 1/2 cup bittersweet or semi sweet chocolate, chopped or in chip form
2 packets of Starbucks Via instant coffee or 4 tablespoons of instant coffee
pinch of cream of tartar
Preheat oven too its lowest setting, about 200 degrees. Mix sugar and instant coffee (I like Via for flavor and the fine crystals dissolve quickly) in a small bowl and keep handy. Whisk cold egg whites and cream of tartar in a large metal bowl until it starts to become white and frothy.
Continue to whisk eggs and slowly add sugar mixture, a little at a time. Meringue is done when you can make stiff peaks when you pull the whisk out, it should look like shiny chocolate mousse. The sign of a great meringue is if the meringue stays in the bowl when turned upside down. I don’t suggest you try that unless you are sure it’s going to stay put and even then, do it over the sink.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a non stick silicone baking mat and drop spoonfuls of meringue with minimal spacing, cookies will not spread much. For more attractive cookies, you can pipe them using a fun tip. The meringue will hold its shape when handled well, over handling will make it deflate and become watery.
Place cookie sheet on the middle rack of the oven and let cook for about 20 minutes, more or less depending on the size of your cookies. They should be a nice golden color and dry to the touch, keep an eye on them to make sure they do not burn. Set aside to cool, while warm they are soft and can collapse with handling.
After the cookies have cooled for about 15 minutes, you can start melting the chocolate. Place chocolate pieces in a pot (preferably nonstick, it’s easier to clean) on a low temperature and slowly stir. Continue to stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Turn off the heat but keep the pot on the burner and stir once in a while, scraping the sides, you want to keep the chocolate melted but you don’t want it to burn.
The cookies should be cool enough to handle and easily pop off the parchment. Carefully pull the cookies off one by one and dip the bottoms in the melted chocolate and place them back on the sheet. Once all the cookies have been dipped, place the entire cookie sheet in the refrigerator to harden the chocolate, about 5 minutes.