Monday, July 18, 2011

Cocoa Kisses Melt In Your Mouth

cocoa meringue kisses
It's summer. I want chocolate. It's summer. I don't want to bake. It's hot out. And yet, I want cookies. And I want chocolate. The sun is beating down. And I still want chocolate. The thought of dense and creamy chocolate, however, runs contrary to light summer fare.

Lately, my life seems to be nutty with contradictions and oozing with bad timing. Apparently my taste buds are no exception. Rich heavy desserts really are the last thing on my mind. And yet... a little bit of chocolate might be just the thing right now.

These little cocoa meringue cookies seemed like the best solution. They're fast to whip together, and the oven stays at a nice low temperature. Bake for an hour or so, then just turn off the oven and let them cool completely in there. Overnight even.

Low and slow.

I like to make them in the evening, then I can just forget about them until morning.* Or make them in the morning and forget about them until late afternoon... just about the time when I start to think that chocolate is more necessity than nice idea.

Once completely cooled and dry, they'll be crisp and light as air. Chocolate air. Not heavy, gooey, sticky, or chewy at all—they melt in your mouth with a kiss of chocolate. These bite-sized treats might just be the perfect chocolaty summer sweet.**


4 egg whites (room temperature)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp white vinegar
1/4 cup natural cocoa powder
  1. Preheat oven to 250°. Line two baking pans with parchment or Silpats.
  2. With an electric mixer (or stand mixer with a whisk attachment) on med/high, whip the egg whites until they hold a peak. This might take several minutes.
  3. Increase the speed to high and slowly add the sugar to the egg whites. Then add the vanilla and vinegar. Stop beating once the egg whites hold very stiff peaks and are really glossy.
  4. Remove the beaters and sift the cocoa powder over the egg whites. Quickly but gently fold the cocoa powder into the egg whites until thoroughly combined.
  5. Drop teaspoonfuls of batter onto the lined baking pans. They can be quite close to each other as they won't spread during baking. Fill up both pans and bake for 1 hour.
  6. Turn off the oven, leaving the cookies inside for several hours or overnight. Pack cookies into air-tight containers and they'll keep for a week or so.

Notes: I piped the cookies in the photo into bite-sized "drops" (about a tablespoon or so) with just a re-usable pastry bag (no tip on it, just the bag). The old "two-spoon method" works great too. If you remember to, sift a little cocoa powder over the tops of the cookies before putting them in the oven.

*Oh well, you know I sneak a couple out first, and THEN I forget about them until morning!
**Except for fudge-cicles which are exponentially more messy but probably a lot more refreshing than any cookie could be on a really hot day.
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