One of the great joys of being a cook and baker is a natural blessing of curiousity. After months and months of making soups and stews and mostly vegetarian fare, I was browsing through a new cookbook and saw this photograph:
I was seized with not only curiousity, but excitement! I'd made meringues in the past, but never seen any like these. I checked the ingredient list and had everything. Then I checked the weather forecast, since you cannot make meringues if the humidity is high. Check. Clear weather sailing. Okay, then off we go.....
Begin by preheating the oven to 200.
Fit two baking sheets with foil or parchment.
You will need:
2 ounces unsweetened or good dark chocolate
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
1 1/2 t. cornstarch
Melt chocolate in a microwave for 1-2 minutes, depending on your microwave. You want the chocolate to be just melted. Stir with a spatula until smooth, and set aside.
Beat egg whites in a very clean mixer bowl using either the paddle or a balloon whisk attachment. When they're making somewhat soft peaks ( tip up the beaters to check) begin adding the sugar ONE TEASPOON AT A TIME. If you dump in the sugar all at once, you will never have meringues. ( and I say that from experience!)
When the egg whites are firm, add the vanilla. Beat on high for a few more minutes, until the peaks are very stiff and somewhat shiny.
Sift the cornstarch over the egg whites and mix in well.
Drizzle chocolate over the surface of the egg whites, but do not stir or blend it.
Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop out balls of meringue and chocolate and place on baking sheet. They can be fairly close together, as they don't expand that much. If you want smaller buttons, or larger meringues, use a bigger scoop or smaller teaspoon to form meringues - but remember this will affect your baking time.
Continue drizzling chocolate on top of the meringue mix in the bowl as needed. You will have some left over.
Place in oven and bake 1 hour . Turn off heat and leave meringues in oven until cool.
They were crunchy and somewhat sticky on the inside, and the chocolate was very pronounced.
Now, what to do with them? Obviously, they can be served with ice cream, on their own ( low fat!), as tiny buttons decorating a cake, alongside a fruit compote, or for a somewhat formal tea.
This recipe came from: Got Milk? the cookie book, by Peggy Cullen.