Every kitchen needs that one go-to sweets recipe that will rescue the most well-meaning cook or chef who completely forgot that she/he promised to bring a little something to the potluck the next day, or for a bake sale, cookie swap etc.
This cookie is that recipe. I don’t know how many times I have relied on these adorable little clouds to come through in a pinch. Just the other eve I had been watching tv with my hubby and the cats, and decided to call it a night. Suddenly I remembered that we were going out the next day, and I had promised to contribute something for the dessert table. I had wanted to get ready for bed but now I found myself in the kitchen chopping chocolate and nuts. Jim thought I was nuts opening up the kitchen so late. I was nuts, chopping walnuts that is 🙂 The oven was pre-heating, and the egg whites were whipping away. The glossy meringue achieved, I folded in my chocolate and nuts. And a few dashes of walnut bitters for good measure. Then I plopped little pillows of yumminess onto parchment lined cookie sheets, and put them into the hot oven. I turned off the oven. turned off the light, and got into bed, before Jim!! That’s the brilliance of this recipe. The fussiest part is the chopping. The easiest part is the ‘baking’! In the morning I knew I would be able to open the oven door, and be greeted by all those lovely little nuggets. They are the definition of the ‘total being greater that the sum of the parts’. Meringues just seem so elegant. Chocolate is always a good thing. Nuts of any sort add crunch and warmth. But all together they are a deceivingly elegant cookie, worthy of a fancy dessert table, as well as a school lunch bag.
It’s Monday afternoon as I’m writing this all down. Anyone who knows us, knows that Monday is Laundry Day at our place. Phineas and Zelda, our two wacky Cornish Rexes, are literally scolding me because they are ready for warm, fresh-out-the-dryer towels, but the dryer isn’t complying. Sorry guys, taking a little longer for this load. But that apology falls on deaf ears as Zelda’s protestations are getting louder, and a tad more annoying…
…There, the towels are out of the dryer, and are getting a whack of fresh wrinkles thanks to my two sous chefs. But now they are happy, and there is nothing quite like seeing the face of sheer contentment and bliss on their faces. All is right with my world, for now! (Sometimes I will mess with them, go to the dryer, and take out the load of warm clothing, and just stand there. They go nuts, crying at jumping up at me, insisting I carry it over to the bed- its so funny to see them so desperate!) My babies!
So, these little cookies, make them, enjoy them, and impress the heck out of any whom may become the recipients of your ‘hard work’!!
FORGET ME NOT MERINGUE COOKIES
- 2 egg whites
- pinch of kosher salt
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp (120 g) granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup (approx 120 g) chopped toasted walnuts
- 5 oz (150 g) dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 tsp pure vanilla
- 5-6 dashes of walnut or old fashioned bitters (only if using walnuts in the recipe)
Preheat oven to 350F (180C) It must be thoroughly heated through.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper
Whisk egg whites with pinch of salt until stiff and dry. Gradually add the sugar, whisking until a thick and glossy meringue is achieved.
Gently fold in the nuts, chocolate, vanilla and bitters.
Using a teaspoon, drop heaping spoonfuls (but don't go any larger) onto the parchment, spaced 1" apart.
Put the baking sheets into the oven. Shut the door. Immediately turn the oven off.
Leave these alone without opening the door overnight. In the morning, they will easily come off the parchment paper. They will keep in an airtight container for a week. But who are we kidding, they'll be gone before you know it!
If you are baking these on a humid day, you may find that the meringue doesn't come together, or that they don't completely cook through, and the insides are still sticky.
If this is the case, thoroughly warm the oven again at 350F, and put the cookies back in, and turn off the oven again. Check after 4 hours.
You could also use chopped dried cranberries or cherries, chopped dried apricots (as long as they are 'fresh' dried), candied ginger, dried apple or pear pieces. Hmmm, fresh chopped thyme and apple would be lovely!
If you opt to use pistachios or almonds etc, then omit the bitters from the above recipe.