The sweet, light crunch of meringue cookies brings back fond memories...different flavors and colors, mini chocolate chips, making them with my mother. We always made them in small drops of dough from a teaspoon.
My daughter loves meringue cookies, so this year we decided to make them in shapes, but skip the food coloring (there is already plenty of that used around Halloween) and use dark chocolate to decorate the cookies.
Although the cookie is mostly sugar, at least the egg whites offer a "little" protein. The cookie is dependent on the sugar for its structure, but I cut down on the sugar just a tablespoon or so. The cookies are light and low in calories if you keep them small.
Basic Meringue Cookies print recipe
3/8 t. cream of tarter
scant 3/4 c. sugar
1/4 t. gluten-free vanilla or peppermint, if desired
1/4 c. of dairy-free chocolate chips
1/8 teaspoon of shortening
Beat egg whites on low to medium in a clean bowl until soft peaks form. Add sugar 1 tablespoon at a time beating on high until stiff peaks form and dough is glossy. Beat in flavoring in flavoring, if desired.
Drop by tablespoons full onto parchment lined cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Use an extra spoon to get the dough off of the first spoon. **To make shapes, fill a sturdy zip top quart bag and cut at least a 1/2 inch corner. Pipe shapes onto the parchment paper. We had tons of fun doing this! The egg whites felt strange and squishy in the bag. Bake at 200 degrees for 1 1/2 hours on middle rack. Rotate pan 1/2 turn after 45 minutes. Turn off oven, open the door a little and let cookies cool with the oven. Remove after 2-3 hours or until dried out. Peel off of paper, but leave on paper if you want to decorate them.
Melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave at 50% power in 30 minute increments until melted. Stir each time. Add shortening. Spoon chocolate into small zip top plastic bag and snip one corner to the desired size. Decorate cookies as desired. Store covered at room temperature after chocolate hardens.
Notes: Our oven was a little too hot, so our cookies got a little brown. I prefer them to stay pale. Keeping the oven at 200 degrees should prevent the cookies from browning. Keep in mind if your cookies are bigger, they will take longer to dry out.
Remember that egg whites handle the best when you separate them when they are cold and whip them when they are at room temperature. Save the yolks for something else. Also, high humidity can make it harder to whip the egg whites well.
We made bats, bones, skeleton heads and spider webs. Kate was not sure what the middle cookie in the above picture was. We all guessed....a brain, a leaf, vomit (it is almost Halloween!). What does it look like to you?