- 4 medium egg whites
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 cup caster sugar or 200g
- 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
- a piece of dark chocolate (optional, if you want to sprinkle cookies with grated chocolate - always before baking)
Because Valentines day is so close to Christmas I am vigorously trying to bake Valentines holiday cookies that are at least a bit different from holiday cookies we usually have during the Christmas time. Christmas is a time when food high in calories and various different fats overwhelm our diet and nobody really thinks about healthy eating. What a difference January then makes to a festive Christmas season. Half of the earth’s population is desperately and obsessively trying a plethora of streaked diets counting every single calorie that goes through mouth.
Right, so the idea is trying not to break New Year’s resolutions but still being able to celebrate Valentines Day with something yummy and sweet. In my opinion meringue holiday cookies are without a slightest doubt among my top choices, and here are the main reasons why:
- They are very low in calories.
- They look absolutely fabulous.
- There are no other cookies so light, airy, crispy and delicate.
- They just simply melt in your mouth (it’s difficult to write these things you know…).
- Meringue cookie recipe is very easy and for a basic cookie recipe you need only 3 ingredients.
- And what about a taste? Yummyyyy! (enough, enough, enough,…)
Like I said, it is “childishly” easy to make these holiday cookies. It takes a few minutes to put all the ingredients together, but baking time is longer than you might expect for these cookies. The main reason for this is that these yummy holiday cookies must be completely dried out. They must be baked at a very low temperature for a long time (not vice versa though!). That is why they are called “Forgotten Cookies”. Cookies are ready for eating when crisp and dry. If you store them in an airtight container they will most certainly last a whole week. But, never ever put them in the refrigerator because they quickly get soggy. Well OK, you may wish to experiment but don’t blame me for the results, I did warn you!
The big surprise in this recipe are ingredients. We only need a few: egg whites, caster sugar and cream of tartar for a basic recipe. Yep, that’s it! Of course the taste of the cookies can always be improved with vanilla or almond extract. On the other hand, chopped chocolate, cocoa powder, nuts, coconut and mixed peels are just a few of various ingredients which can give them more additional flavors. It’s up to you how your holiday cookies actually end up tasting, but possibilities are almost endless.
Please read those tips before you start baking this yummy holiday cookies:
-Always use superfine sugar or caster sugar which give cookies enough crispness.
-Separate egg whites and yolk very carefully. Use egg whites at a room temperature.
-Check the bowl and whiskers and make sure that they are free of any grease.
-Always lay a baking sheet with a parchment paper to prevent sticking.
-Cream of tartar is used to stabilize the egg whites and allow them to reach maximum volume.
-The meringue mixture is ready when the sugar is fully dissolved. That means, if you rub it between fingers it should feel smooth and not gritty.
-To prevent cracking never open the oven in first 30 minutes of baking.
-Cookies are baked when they look pale and crisp, and do not stick to the parchment paper anymore. In the cooling phase leave them in the oven to finish drying (even overnight if possible) The residual heat continues to dry the meringues to a lovely crispness.
-During baking control the oven temperature. If the cookies become light brownish or start cracking the oven temperature is to high – lower the temperature immediately.
-Believe it or not but a wet day or when the air is damp could make cookies soggy inside. To prevent that sogginess increase the time of baking for another 30 minutes or so. Well, the best day for baking these holiday cookies is a dry, beautiful day .
Because I really like the taste of chocolate and cinnamon, and because both match coffee so well, I added some unsweetened cocoa powder and ground cinnamon to this yummy cookie recipe. I hope you don’t mind…
Method – how to use Meringue cookie recipe:
- Preheat the oven to 90C fan/110C/225F/gas mark 1/4. Grease two baking sheets and line them with parchment paper.
- Separate eggs and leave egg whites at a room temperature. Store the egg yolks in the fridge.
- In the bowl mix the egg whites with an electric mixer on a low to medium speed until foamy.
- Add 1/4 tsp cream of tartar and 1/4 tsp of salt and keep mixing.
- Gradually add 1tbsp of sugar at a time and keep mixing until it has reached stiff-peak consistency (to reach the perfect consistency it usually takes about 15 minutes of mixing).
- Add 2tbsp of unsweetened cocoa and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and mix well. The meringue is ready when all the sugar is dissolved.
- Transfer the meringue into a piping bag with a large Savoy star nozzle.
- Pipe meringues in a row around 2cm (0.78inch) apart. Sprinkle meringues with grated dark chocolate if desired.
- Put them in the preheated oven and don’t open the oven for the first 30 minutes to prevent cracking. Bake cookies for about 2 1/2 hours.
- If they become brownish too soon that means that the oven temperature is too high so reduce it immediately!
- The meringues holiday cookies are done when pale in color and crisp and when you can peel them off the baking parchment very easily (they shouldn’t stick to it).
Method (step by step):
Our coffee choice for Meringue cookie recipe:
What I really like about these meringue cookies is how well they team with Turkish coffee! It’s a multiple step process of blending flavours. At first coffee neutralizes their sweetness followed by a rise of cinnamon and other flavors. It all happens gradually and Turkish coffee is normally not as strong and opposing as a shot of espresso hence the 5 stars.
* all combinations have been tested with medium roast Arabica blend
- You can always reuse parchment paper.
- Store the Holiday cookies in an airtight container to keep them fresh and never in the fridge (or they will turn soggy).
- Stick parchment paper on baking sheet with a small amount of meringues underneath the parchment paper which acts like a “glue”.
- You can always use egg yolks leftover for baking egg sponge chocolate cake pops or sponge cake.
Good to know:
- If you don’t have superfine or caster sugar, grind granulated sugar in a food processor to a fine grind.
- For every whipped egg white use 50 grams of caster or super fine sugar. This amount of sugar is needed to achieve optimal crispness.
- Beating egg whites should correspond to the following categories according to the peaks they form when the mixer is lifted: soft, firm, and stiff peaks.