AP – Light, crisp, cloud-like meringue cookies have long been associated with French royalty, a decadent treat that required skill and dedication to pull off. Perhaps once, but then the whisk attachment was invented.
For those with a stand mixer, they’re surprisingly easy – and adaptable to whatever extra bits of chocolate, nuts or other flavourings may be left over after a holiday baking marathon.
A recipe from our book Cook What You Have draws on pantry staples to assemble easy, weeknight meals.
For a chocolate and salted peanut variation, you’ll need about two ounces of chopped chocolate, some orange zest and a handful of roasted nuts. Or try them with roasted cashews, unsweetened coconut flakes and lime zest. Or with pistachios, candied ginger and turmeric. Or experiment with different flavours using these ratios.
The meringues can be made into a dozen three-inch cookies or six oversize six-inch puffs.
MERINGUE COOKIES WITH SALTED PEANUTS & CHOCOLATE
Start to finish: 2.5 hours (35 minutes active), plus cooling;
Makes 12 small meringues
– Quarter cup salted roasted peanuts, or almonds or cashews or pistachios, chopped
– One third cup dark chocolate or semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips, chopped
– Six large egg whites
– Half teaspoon cream of tartar
– A quarter teaspoon table salt
– One cup white sugar
– One teaspoon vanilla extract
– One teaspoon grated orange zest
Heat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit with a rack in the middle position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment. In a small bowl, toss together the nuts and chocolate.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, whip the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt on medium until frothy and opaque, one to two minutes.
With the mixer running, gradually add the sugar. Add the vanilla, then increase to high and beat for five minutes (no less, or the meringues may fall slightly during baking); the whites will be thick, shiny and hold stiff peaks. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a silicone spatula, fold in the orange zest and half of the nut-chocolate mixture.
Scoop the meringue into mounds onto the prepared baking sheet, dividing it into 12 portions of about half cup each or six portions of about one cup each; space the mounds evenly apart. Slightly smooth the tops and sprinkle with the remaining nut-chocolate mixture.
Bake for one-and-a-quarter hours for small meringues; they will be very pale golden brown and have expanded slightly. Turn off the oven, prop open the door and allow the meringues to fully dry and crisp, about 45 minutes.
Transfer the meringues from the baking sheet to a wire rack. Cool to room temperature.