June 13, 2011

Chocolate Meringues

There have been an unsettling number of dessert recipes coming out of my kitchen these past couple months, I know. But sometimes the sweeter things in life are unavoidable, and these latest little guys are the least likely to send you out shopping for bigger pants. With only six ingredients, they're also unlikely to send you to the grocery.

I've done meringues twice in the past week; they're that dead simple and delicious. Light and airy in a way that crunches and then immediately melts in your mouth, I'm convinced they're the perfect summer dessert. The first meringue adventure came in the form of a cupcake topping. Moist vanilla cupcakes topped with a light lemony fluff, it was delightful. But the second time around I did chocolate. I love fruity, summery desserts as much as the next guy, but chocolate will always have a special place in my heart, so that's the recipe you're getting today.

My new most favorite thing about being an adult?
No one can make you scrape the beater before you lick it.

Just a couple things to know about meringues:
1. They're super simple. As in, about ten minutes of prep followed by a couple completely unsupervised hours in the oven.
2. I've heard that they'll keep for a few days under the right circumstances, but I have yet to experience it myself. It probably has to do with the Cincinnati humidity, but mine were totally soft and sad the second day. Still delicious, though.
3. You'll be separating egg whites for these guys. You may want to involve multiple bowls in the process, because if you get just the teeniest bit of yolk mixed in, you're going to be starting over.

Chocolate Meringues
Adapted slightly from All Recipes

These got rave reviews at girls' night several hours after I made them, but it should also be noted that the very most magical moment for these specific meringues is the very minute they first come out of the oven. They're not at all too hot to eat (since the oven is relatively cool), but there are pockets of barely-gooey chocolate chips in the middle. Amazing.

3 large egg whites
2/3 cup sugar (I used a bit less)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla 
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Beat egg whites with cream of tartar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Continue to beat as you slowly add in sugar, and beat until meringue turns glossy and holds stiff peaks (you should be able to scoop a spoonful and turn the spoon upside down without any of it dripping off).

Fold in cocoa powder and chocolate chips. To shape the meringues, I like to put the mixture into a gallon-sized ziplock bag, cut one of the corners off and pipe them onto the prepared baking sheet in little drops. You could also just drop it on in small spoonfuls (if you go that route, I would spray the spoon with Pam, as the mixture will be very sticky).

Put meringues in preheated oven and immediately turn the heat off. Leave them in without opening the oven for at least two hours, up to overnight. 

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