There’s something wintry about meringue cookies. They look like pure white mini snowballs that seem so right for the season. It’s actually better to make meringues in winter. The air is dry, which helps keep meringues crisp.
With winter hopefully ending soon (bright sun is streaming through my window and the temps in Chicago have been above freezing), it’s time to sneak in a batch of meringues before it’s too late.
Meringues are a great dessert to make for guests, as they are naturally gluten-free. My kids’ friends wolf down these sugary treats, taking extras home with them. Meringues also make great Passover treats, since all the ingredients are kosher for Passover.
Though I do like the look of snowy white meringues, I recently needed a chocolate fix (no surprise there). So in addition to adding chocolate chips to the meringues, I also added cocoa powder to half the batch to make double chocolate meringue cookies.
To shape the meringues, I drop spoonfuls of the mixture on a cookie sheet, because that’s the easiest thing to do. If you want to be fancy (my kids’ favorite word), omit the chocolate chips and pipe the meringues into prettier shapes using a pastry bag.
You’ll want to dry out the meringues, so keep the heat low and slow. I bake them at 250 for one hour; some recipes say to leave meringues in a turned-off oven overnight. If the temperature gets much higher than 250, your meringues will turn tan, which might be a good look for you but not for your meringues.
Chocolate Chip and Double Chocolate
(gluten-free, dairy-free, pareve, kid-friendly)
- 2 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Using a mixer, beat egg whites on high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and salt, and beat until stiff. Add sugar gradually and continue beating. Beat in vanilla extract.
3. Using a spatula, fold in chocolate chips.
4. To form the cookies, drop tablespoonfuls of mixture onto lined cookie sheets, about 1 inch apart. Only use half the mixture — save the rest for the chocolate version!
5. Sift cocoa powder on top of the remaining half of the mixture. (Make sure you have a dedicated gluten-free sifter!) Mix gently with spatula until cocoa is well combined.
6. Drop tablespoonfuls of chocolate mixture onto lined cookie sheet, about 1 inch apart.
7. Bake at 250 degrees for one hour. Allow meringues to cool, then store in airtight container.
Yield: 24 meringues