Now that the holidays are over I keep hearing how everyone is watching their weight and trying to eat healthy. I understand. It only makes sense after all of that holiday feasting.
Still there are occasions that call for cookies or dessert. On those occasions what I really hope for is something sweet, and probably chocolate, though I am happy enough to pass on dense buttery richness.
Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies are just the thing. This recipe, that is attributed to my mother, gets down to the basics. It contains no butter … or flour for that matter. It is basically sugar, chocolate and nuts, held together in a meringue cloud. What’s more, it is easy to prepare and because it uses only a few ingredients it is often something I can make without having to run to the grocery.
The only trick to making these is finding a relatively dry day in the Pacific Northwest that is optimal for working with meringue. Usually I just go ahead and risk making them in less than optimal weather conditions. If they are eaten quickly it doesn’t matter much and with this recipe that is usually not much of a problem.
Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies
2 egg whites, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup sugar
6 ounces semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
¼ cup chopped nuts, toasted
Beat together egg whites, salt, cream of tartar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Add sugar gradually beating until peaks are stiff. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts.
Cover cookie sheet with parchment paper. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the parchment paper. Bake at 300 degrees for about 20 – 25 minutes or until set and beginning to brown slightly.
Note: I drop these cookies on the parchment paper using two spoons, one to scoop up the desired amount and the back of the other to push the batter onto the parchment. These could also be made, and might look more uniform, if the cookies were formed using a gallon sized Ziploc bag. To try this, simply scoop the meringue into the bag, seal it, then cut a 1/2 inch opening across a lower corner of the bag. Use it like a pastry bag to pipe meringue onto the parchment paper in teaspoon sized dollops.
I make these cookies small and put them fairly close together on the baking sheet. It usually takes two baking sheets to make the whole batch and I put both in the oven at once. Baking time for small cookies is closer to 20 minutes.
The original recipe calls for dropping the meringue on the parchment paper by rounded tablespoons. This makes nice cookies too and usually all of the cookies can be baked on one baking sheet. For this size the baking time is closer to 25 minutes.