Cocoa Meringue Cookies

2014-04-13 10.38.07

Orchids and meringues

John and I had a dinner party last night to celebrate our (gasp!) 49th wedding anniversary. Oh, do those years slip away.

One of the friends we had over is on a low-fibre diet which meant foods like legumes were forbidden and everything had to be cooked very well. Here was our menu:

  • Creamy Tomato Soup with Herbed Goat Cheese served with my husband’s fabulous, homemade Challah Bread (regrettably not gluten-free, but it’s his specialty)
  • Lamb Shanks, Braised in Red Wine and Chicken Stock with Carrots and Celery and served over White Rice
  • Puréed Cauliflower, Zucchini, and Leeks
  • Roasted Shallots with Balsamic Vinegar
  • Mocha Tapioca Pudding
  • Cocoa Meringue Cookies

The only dish I had made previously was the soup (the link). Everything else was an experiment. One of the things I enjoy about having a dinner party is that I give myself permission to try out new things. Like making meringue cookies.

Cookies are rarely on my radar because they bring out my Cookie Monster and invite serious, over-the-top gluttony. You know, eat one, eat another one, and…keep right on going. Even in my cookie-baking days with small children, I never made meringue cookies. Up until now, I had been discouraged by the amount of sugar they require and the high-calorie cost of chocolate, if I decide to use it.

But I had an unopened carton of egg whites in my fridge, and research revealed that I could use cocoa powder—the dieter’s alternative to chocolate. In Weight Watcher terms, cocoa powder is 1 point per 3 tablespoons as compared to semisweet chocolate which is 6 points per 3 tablespoons. (For more info, check out “>All About Cocoa Powder.) 

The result was everything meringue cookies should be—light, crunchy in the centre, and deliciously chocolate.

About 30 large cookies

Note on egg whites: A successful meringue requires fresh eggs or whites from a newly opened carton, and it’s recommended to use a non-plastic bowl.  (Check out Meringue Tips from Domino Sugar for helpful information.)

;”>Note on cocoa powder: The better the quality of the cocoa, the better the cookies will taste.

Note on sugar: You can use regular sugar, but superfine or caster sugar dissolves more readily in egg whites and requires less beating. You can buy superfine sugar or make it by processing regular sugar in your food processor.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup of egg whites (about 4 eggs)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ¼ tsp. cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. cocoa powder

Directions

  1. Put egg whites in a large bowl and leave for 30 minutes to bring them to room temperature.
  2. Add vanilla, cream of tartar, and salt.
  3. Beat until egg whites make a foam of large bubbles or form soft peaks. (The tops flop over.)
  4. Add sugar 2 tbsp. at a time, beating constantly, until egg whites are shiny and make stiff peaks. (The tops stand up straight.)
  5. Gently fold in cocoa powder until you have streaks of white and dark. You don’t have to make the colour uniform and you don’t want to “overfold.”
  6. Drop by heaping tablespoons onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. I needed 2 cookie sheets.
  7. Bake for 2 hours in a 225° F oven. At this point, cookies will be brittle on the outside but still damp on the inside.
  8. Turn off oven but leave cookies inside for 1 more hour so they can dry out completely.
  9. Remove cookies from the sheet and store in a covered container.

For Weight Watchers: The total number of points in the cookie batter is roughly 18: 16 for the sugar, slightly less than 1 for the cocoa powder, and slightly more than 1 for the egg whites. I made 28 cookies for approximately 1.5 points per cookie.

 

 

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