I have never been a big fan of meringues. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with them, they’re just not normally my thing. I always thought they were like the marshmallows from Lucky Charms that had been blown up to about 100 times their normal size and then called cookies. Some of you might be drooling over this, but to me, it’s always seemed like just too much sugar and fluff.
However, about a week ago, for no apparent reason that anyone can detect, I got a CRAVING for meringues. This kind of thing happens to me a lot, just ask Chase. Out of the clear blue sky I will all of sudden develop a craving that blinds me from anything else going on in the world except for my one desire to eat this food. For days I languished over the fact that I couldn’t keep a thought in my head due to my distraction with meringues. Part of me was tempted to go down the street and buy some store bought ones, but now I’m a food blogger for goodness’ sake, if I’m going to crave something foolish I should at least go all the way to get it out of my system and learn how to cook it.
I have to tell you, “learn” is the operative word in the last sentence. I learned a lot when I made this recipe. Among the things I learned are that A) I should always listen to what Martha Stewart says and not pretend that I, or anyone else, knows better than her B) Meringues take about 3 hours to cook in the oven, which means I probably shouldn’t have made them in the afternoon on a day when it was over 100 degrees outside, except, you know, having my house turned into my own personal sauna was kind of fun for about 5 seconds, and C) meringues are really freaking delicious and I have no idea why I snubbed them for so long.
A couple notes on a technique I used in this: I have an aversion to buying different form of sugar just as I do with different types of flour. Those of you in your spacious kitchens with wall-to-wall cabinet space probably can’t understand this. Those of you who live in tiny apartments in large cities no exactly what I’m talking about. You start to get upset when you realize you would have to find more space to store that ingredient you’re only going to use twice a year. Therefore, instead of buying super-fine sugar like many recipes suggested, I went with one by Martha Stewart ( I love her) that has you melt regular sugar into the egg whites before you beat them. If you have some superfine sugar sitting in your walk-in pantry, feel free to skip this step.
Chocolate Hazelnut Meringue Cookies
By substituting Frangelico for vanilla extract, the hazelnut flavor is not too overpowering, but it makes it taste like the richest chocolate you’ve ever had.
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
¼ cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons Frangelico or hazelnut liquer
Preheat the oven to 225°
Meanwhile, fill medium saucepan one quarter full with water. Set the saucepan over medium heat, and bring water to a simmer. Combine egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of electric mixer, and place over saucepan. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, 3 to 3 1/2 minutes. Test by rubbing between your fingers.
Transfer bowl to electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and whip, starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 10 minutes. Add Frangelico, and mix until combined. Gently fold in the cocoa powder.
Using a small spoon, portion the mixture onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake until the cookies life off of the parchment easily, about 2-3 hours. Yes, that’s a really long time, so please don’t do this on a hot day, okay?