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Peanut and Cocoa Meringue Cookies

Makes about 30 cookies

I really love my recipe for cocoa meringue chocolate chip cookies, which is in the similar and related recipes, because they are absolutely delicious and lighter than regular chocolate chip cookies. That means I can eat them more often. So, I decided to develop a different version using cocoa and peanuts. I eliminated the chocolate chips, substituted peanuts for the walnuts, and chopped them very fine so they would distribute evenly throughout the cookie. Boy, are they good. If desired, you can use a sugar substitute with a 1:1 ratio for baking. I have done that, and it works very well. However, I think it is a little sweeter, so I cut down on the amount by a couple tablespoons.

Ingredients

Preheat oven to 300° F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Beat the egg whites on medium-low speed until frothy, about 2 minutes. Increase speed to high and add the cream of tartar and salt. Whip until stiff peaks form. (Do not overbeat or whites will become dry.) Reduce speed to medium. Add the vanilla and sugar, about 3 tablespoons at a time, beating a little between additions. Continue to beat until whites are glossy, about 2 minutes.

Using a spatula, gently fold in the cocoa until well incorporated, then the peanuts. Drop batter by tablespoons, about 1-inch apart, onto the cookie sheets. (Cookies will not spread while baking.) Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until firm. Remove from oven and cool slightly, until the cookies easily peel off of the paper. Place on cooling racks and cool completely. Store in an air-tight container for up to 1 week.

Notes: The flavor of this cookie is better the day after baking, but they can be served immediately after cooling. To intensify the flavor of the peanuts, toast them on a small baking sheet in a 350° F oven until golden, about 5 minutes. To make it easy, chop them in a processor, being careful to stop before they start turning into peanut butter. It is best not to make meringue on a day with excessive moisture or high humidity in the air because the cookies can become tacky.