Note to self: Next time you even think of making a recipe that calls for a substance with the consistency similar marshmallow cream, only worse, to be put in a small pastry bag and piped out, talk yourself out of it.
That was my thinking when I finished these innocent cookies and looked at the mess my kitchen had become. Sticky meringue was dripped down the side of cabinets, all over my counters and definitely covering me. I never even imagined it would get that messy, but it does, especially when baking isn’t in the top fifty of things at which I excel.
It all started innocently enough. I had used four egg yolks for the Chocolate Tiramisu earlier in the week so the whites were just sitting there itching to be turned into something delicious as well. Enter Paula Deen and her Chocolate Meringue Cookies. Yes, I know. I don’t like chocolate. I don’t, but Dudette does and making Dudette happy makes me happy.
So, I preheated my oven to 200, yes, 200F, and lined my baking trays with the Silpat. Things are still going well. The next step was to combine the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in a large stainless-steel bowl. I did that and all was well. I placed the bowl over a saucepan with simmering water in it and whisked for about 5 minutes until all the sugar had melted. Still fine.
About ten minutes of bonding with my hand mixer brought the meringue to a beautiful glossy texture and stiff peaks. It was gorgeous. I was so proud of myself. I folded in the cocoa and vanilla extract and now my beautiful glossy meringue was a pretty tan color. Still going well.
Unfortunately, at this time I realized that Dudette needed to be picked up from school so I left. if you could see the magazine, you’d see that Paula’s cookies have little the little Hershey Kiss peak that mine don’t. I think my stiff peaks felt neglected and fell a bit while I was playing Mommy bus. C’est la vie.
I got home and headed back into the kitchen for the last part of the process, spooning the meringue into a pastry bag and piping it onto the silpat. Sticky. Meringue is very, very sticky. And uncooperative. And cuss-producing. I would put it in the bag and it would ooze right out. I could swear it was alive. Speaking of swearing; shibbit and shazbat are kid-approved words. Remember that if you try this and are as pastry bag inept as I am.
Once done, I put the trays in the oven and left with Dudette to go swimming for an hour or so. We returned and when the timer hit the two-hour mark, the cookies came out; looking gorgeous but without the little peak. A dusting of cocoa powder and they were offered up to Dudette and Hubby for a taste.
Score a huge hit for Paula and me. Both loved these. I did try one and it was light, airy and fantastic in texture. Even the chocolate is there, but not overpowering. It’s a delightful, delicious cookie.
If I can improve my pastry bag piping skills, I just might try making these again. I may be forced to, actually.
Chocolate Meringue Cookies
from Paula Deen’s Best Dishes 2011
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 200. Line baking sheets with parchment or Silpats. Bring water in a large saucepan to a simmer.
Combine egg whites, sugar and cream of tarter in a large stainless-steel bowl. Put the bowl over the simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Whisk constantly until the sugar is dissolved and the temperature of the mixture reaches 140 on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat.
Using a hand mixer, beat the mixture at medium-low speed for 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes more. Then increase the speed once more to high and beat for 6 minutes or until the mixture creates stiff peaks. Fold in 2 tablespoons cocoa and the vanilla.
Carefully spoon the extremely sticky, messy and semi-alive meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe the meringue on to the baking sheets. Dust with the cocoa powder. Bake for 2 hours or until the cookies are firm and dry.