We’ve had a slight change in the cookie line-up for the week – but it was for the best and most resourceful of reasons.  Today, I made vanilla ice cream to go with Christmas day desserts and realized that I should use the egg whites left over.  And what better way to use them than to make the world’s simplest and lightest treat – meringue!

Crumble meringues into whipped cream and add some fruit and you have what’s known as Eaton Mess.  Layer them with sweetened chestnut puree and chocolate and you have Mont Blanc.  Crunch them into ice cream or, heck, just munch the sweet, crunchy little babies with a hot cup of tea and you have a fantastic – and did I mention fat free – snack!

Chocolate Meringues

  • 8 egg whites
  • pinch salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa (as usual, I’m a big fan of Green and Black’s)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 175 F.

Whisk the egg whites and the pinch of salt in a very clean bowl until they form stiff peaks (you should be able to hold the bowl upside down without catastrophe striking).  Start adding the sugar gradually, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the whites turn glossy.  Once all the sugar is added, stop whisking.  Sift the cocoa and cream of tartar and drizzle the teaspoon of vanilla extract across the top, then gently fold into the egg whites.  The finished result should be incorporated, but slightly streaky.

If you have an icing bag, pipe swirls onto a lined baking sheet – if you don’t, spoon the mixture into Hershey-kiss shaped forms about 3″ around.  Bake for 2 hours and let cool before storing in a zippy bag.

lovely ... crunchy ... chocolatey ... and a light alternative to heavy desserts