As I write this column, it is early March, and we are digging out from yet another snowstorm—the third one of the week. It’s hard to believe that spring is just around the corner. So, it is with a leap of faith and some wishful thinking that I present you with this recipe for meringue cookies to welcome spring’s arrival.
Light as a feather, and billowy as a cloud, meringues are crisp on the outside, yet they melt in your mouth. In their most basic form they have two ingredients: egg whites and sugar. They are gluten-free and, if you omit the chocolate chips and nuts in the recipe, they are fat free, as well. Meringues are known as Forgotten Cookies. You prepare them in the evening, place them in a pre-heated oven, close the oven door, turn off the oven, go to bed, and forget about them until the next morning, when, much to your delight, they will be perfectly done. Enjoy!
2 egg whites
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
6-ounce package mini chocolate chips
1 cup blanched or skinned hazelnuts nuts*, coarsely chopped
Before you begin: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
Beat whites at low to medium speed until foamy. Add pinch of salt.
Increase speed to medium/high and beat for about one to two minutes until the whites hold a soft shape.
Start adding the sugar one tablespoonful at a time, beating about 30 seconds between each addition.
Add vanilla, increase speed to high, and beat for 3 to 5 minutes more until meringue is stiff and shiny and sugar is dissolved.
Fold in chocolate chip and nuts.
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls on prepared cookie sheets. Garnish the top of each cookie with a chocolate chip.
Place in oven. Turn oven off. Do not open for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Makes 18 to 24 cookies
*Ok to use regular hazelnuts, if you can’t find them unskinned. Also ok to use other nuts in this recipe such as walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, or whatever is your favorite nut.