Dark Chocolate Meringue Drops

  • Active Time 30m
  • Total Time 1h

about 40 (2-inch) cookies

These meringue cookies have a puffy, fragile exterior and a moist, soft interior. They deliver an enticingly bold, knock-your-socks-off bittersweet chocolate experience.

Make Ahead Tip: These are best enjoyed fresh, but can be stored flat with wax paper between layers in an airtight container for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 weeks. Thaw before serving.

ingredients

  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60-75% cacao) divided
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process) sifted after measuring if lumpy
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa nibs (see Shopping Tip), optional
  • 1/3 cup egg whites (about 3 large) at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup sugar divided (use 1 1/2 teaspoons less if cocoa nibs are omitted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Tip: Shopping tip:

  • If you add the optional cocoa nibs to the batter, the flavor-texture combination will be even more interesting and complex. Nibs, which are bits of roasted and hulled cocoa beans, are crunchy and have a pure (unsweetened) chocolate taste. Some brands of nibs are coarser than others. For these cookies, the nibs should be the size of finely chopped nuts. If necessary, simply chop them to obtain the right consistency.


  • Tips:

  • No Microwave?

  • Melt chocolate in a double boiler instead: Place chopped chocolate in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not boiling water. Gently stir until the chocolate is almost melted. Remove from the heat and stir until it melts completely.


  • Working with Chocolate

  • Chocolate is more complex than most other confectionary ingredients. Understanding a few fundamentals will help you work with it successfully:


  • Chocolate melts between 80 and 90°F. Higher heat can cause scorching or burning.


  • The fluidity of most chocolates is largely determined by the cocoa butter content and other fat; the higher the percentage of cocoa butter, the runnier the chocolate.


  • Chocolate contains a natural starch that resists mixing smoothly with large amounts of liquid or with liquids that are not preheated. So what may seem like persnickety mixing procedures in recipes are really foolproof ways to ensure that the chocolate blends smoothly with liquids.


  • The starch in chocolate makes it important not to splash drops or add tiny amounts of liquid into a melted batch. The starch may "grab" onto the moisture and cause the batch to suddenly "seize" and become unworkable.

directions

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and coat the paper with cooking spray.

Coarsely chop 3 ounces of chocolate and place it in a small microwave-safe bowl. (alternatively, see tip). Microwave on medium for 1 minute. Stir, then continue microwaving on medium, stirring every 20 seconds, until mostly melted. Stir until the remaining chocolate melts completely.

Chop the remaining 2 ounces chocolate into pieces the size of mini chocolate chips. Combine in a small bowl with the cocoa and cocoa nibs (if using).

Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in a clean medium mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low for 30 seconds, then at medium speed until soft peaks start to form. Immediately add about 2 tablespoons sugar; beat for 1 minute. Slowly, about a tablespoon at a time, add the remaining sugar, then the vanilla, continuing to beat on medium speed until the mixture is smooth, opaque, glossy and thickened, about 2 minutes longer. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, raise the speed to high, and beat for 30 seconds more. Lightly fold in the chocolate-cocoa mixture and the melted chocolate just until evenly incorporated and no streaks remain; do not overmix. Immediately drop the batter by rounded teaspoonfuls about 1 inch apart onto the prepared baking sheets.

Bake the cookies, switching the pans back to front and top to bottom halfway through, until just firm when gently pressed on top but still soft inside, 8-12 minutes. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let stand for 1-2 minutes. Then slide the paper from the pans to a flat surface and let the cookies cool completely, about 15 minutes. Gently lift the cookies from the parchment paper using a wide-bladed spatula.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Publisher. All rights reserved.

RecID 7392

nutrition information per serving

28 calories; 1g total fat; 1g total saturated fat; 0mg cholesterol; 4mg sodium; 5g carbohydrates; 0g fiber; 0g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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