Cocoa Meringue Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 4 dozen cookies
I am not particularly fond of meringue because it is usually very sweet and tasteless. However, when I saw a recipe for a meringue chocolate chip cookie, I thought it was worth a try. I knew immediately that I wanted to add some flavor to the egg whites, so I chose cocoa, which has no fat and adds only 30 calories to the entire batch, less than 1 calorie per cookie.
Much to my surprise, these are exceptionally good, not guilt-free, but much less fat and calories than most cookies. Using a good-quality cocoa, as well as double-chocolate chips, gives more flavor with less. I would not hesitate to substitute these for traditional chocolate chip cookies for any occasion. If desired, you can cut down even more on the chocolate chips, sugar or walnuts, but I like them just the way they are.
- 4 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2/3 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar (see notes below)
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 to 1-1/2 cups chocolate chips, preferably 60% cocoa
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (see notes below)
Preheat oven to 300° F. Line two 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 chocolate chips and walnuts. 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 can be easily peeled off of the paper. Place on cooling racks and cool completely. Store in an air-tight container for up to one week. (As with many cookies, the flavor is better the day after baking, but they can be served immediately after cooling.)
Notes: To enhance the flavor, toast the nuts on a small baking sheet in a 350° oven until golden, about 5 minutes. If desired, you can use a sugar substitute with a 1:1 ratio that works in 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. Don't overbake the cookies or they will become very fragile and shatter when eaten. The experts say you should never make meringue when there is excessive moisture in the air because it will get tacky. I experienced that one time, so I suggest you follow their advice.