These are Tim’s favorite cookies. Ever. In case you missed it, we eat a lot of cookies in this house, something like 4 each night for Tim and 2 for me. So, this man knows his cookies. Even though he surely wouldn’t turn away his old stand-by chocolate chip pecan cookies, these have claimed his heart, as in Tim-heart-orange-chocolate-meringue-cookies. Being meringues, there’s no flour or butter in sight, making them practically healthy, right? Well, maybe not healthy, but definitely light and airy. Delicate and fragile. Crackled and crispy outside. Almost-hollow inside. And oh, so good! Try them and you’ll see why these lasted less than 24 hours in the Martin house. Maybe next time he’ll even share!
- 2 egg whites, room temperature (very important!)
- pinch of table salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup superfine or regular sugar (I used Dixie Crystals extra fine granulated)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 6 ounces finely diced semi and/or bittersweet chocolate
- 1/4 chopped pecans, toasted and finely chopped
- zest of 2 oranges
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold in the vanilla, chocolate, pecans, and orange zest – you don’t want to deflate the egg whites. Spoon or portion batter onto Silpat or parchment paper-lined baking sheets. I use my favorite disher/ice cream scoop for this but you can use a spoon or pastry piping bag. These don’t spread, so you can place them fairly close. All 20 of mine fit on one half-sheet pan.
For cookies with crackly outsides and hollow insides, bake for 25 minutes or until undersides of cookies are golden or lightly tanned.
For soft and billowy cookies, bake for 1 minute only. Then turn oven off and don’t open the oven door for at least 3 hours or overnight. When done baking in the residual heat of the oven, they’ll be lightly crisp and golden on the outside. If still chewy in the morning, let them dry out longer.
What to do with the leftover yolks? Make homemade ice cream or the French toast in this month’s Cook’s Illustrated.
- For Easter Story Cookies - http://www.cherbearsden.com/cookies.html; make with your kids the night before Easter and read the accompanying Bible verses for each step – CUTE!
- For a Christmas twist, omit the orange zest and add 2-3 T. very finely crushed peppermint
- Omit the chocolate and dip bottom 1/3 of baked meringue in melted chocolate