I made these meringue cookies for Christmas and it's taken me this long to get up the courage to admit that I don't know if they're a success or a failure. They were NOT like the meringue cookies that I had last year that inspired this endeavor. Yet, they were delicious and did not give me food poisoning. I think this is one of those cookie categories that every one expects something different when they make them. So... 80% success?
First, and most importantly, I did not have the patience to try piping these babies. When I was mixing the batter it became quiet clear how many it was going to make. What you see above is HALF of what the recipe made, after I'd given a bunch away to relatives.
Secondly, the cookies reached perfection after several days rather than a mere 8 hrs overnight. Between how big I made them and the humidity in NC... yeah. They were always good, but after about four days they were perfectly dried all the way through. Which, I think, makes them perfect for gift giving, because by the time they get to the recipient, they're perfect and still have weeks left of shelf stable storage. I assume. Mine vanished faster than that!
I followed the directions and you might want to go to her page for the blow-by-blow, but here is the overview. Consider HALVING the recipe:
2.5 cups sugar
4 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch-processed)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
8 egg whites, room temperature
1/2 tsp. salt
6 oz. semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted
Let's Do This:
- Preheat oven to 225*F and and for the love of all that is good, don't forget that parchment paper for your cookie sheets. I had 4 sheets going in rotation in the oven.
- Combine sugar, cocoa and cinnamon in a bowl; set aside.
- Whisk the egg whites until frothy. Add the salt and whisk at high speed until soft peaks form. A stand mixer is best for this if you want to keep your arms from falling off.
- Slowly add the sugar/cocoa/cinnamon mixture on medium speed and then increase speed to high and continue whipping until stiff peaks form and the meringue is glossy. Some people also add cream of tartar at this point. Maybe 1/2 tsp. I did! With a rubber spatula clean the sides of the bowl to ensure that everything is fully incorporated. This step takes forever and a day.
- Use a large spoon to plop the mixture on the cookie sheet. The smaller they are and the more space you leave between them, the faster they'll dry out.
- Bake for an hour and 10 minutes and then turn the oven off. Let cool in the oven for one hour. At this point they should be pretty sturdy and not too collapsible in the middle , but if they are turning dark brown, remove them anyway. Remove from the oven and transfer the meringue cookies to a wire rack to continue cooling. If you have sheets to rotate, put the new set in now and turn the oven back on for an all-day experience. Leave overnight so that the cookies will dry out completely.
- Cookies should be stored in an airtight container and will keep for a week or so, if in theory you do not eat them all before then!
Sorry I didn't get an in-progress pictures! It was night time and too dark in my kitchen, and I was expecting an embarrassing failure. ;)