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Dark Chocolate Meringue Drops

Source: © EatingWell Magazine
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Active Time:  30 Minutes
Total Time:  1 Hour
  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.
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.

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.
Dark Chocolate Meringue Drops Recipe at
Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 350°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 cocoa and cocoa nibs (if using).

Combine 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 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 to 12 minutes. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let stand for 1 to 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 © EatingWell Magazine. All rights reserved.
Date Added: 01/01/2008
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Nutrition Facts per Serving
Yield:   about 40 (2-inch) cookies
Calories: 28
Fat. Total: 1g
Sodium: 4mg
Carbohydrates, Total: 5g
Fat, Saturated: 1g
% Cal. from Fat: 32%
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