I know I've said this before and I know I'll say it again, but, it's time for me to get healthy in my diet! I am a runner and I've always loved to exercise, but when it comes to eating healthfully I definitely don't always practice what I preach. My love for cooking, baking and eating always wins over in the end. So I'm constantly on a quest to find recipes that I can have fun creating in the kitchen AND not feel guilty if I accidentally eat half the batch! Ooops! Last night I broke open Williams-Sonoma's Essentials of Healthful Cooking and this recipe caught my eye instantly. I've made meringues before and I know a few things about them - 1. they are very low in calories 2. they require very few ingredients and 3. they are the perfect sweet and crunchy treat any time of day. This recipe had me particularly excited because it calls for Dutch process cocoa powder and I finally scored myself some while on vacation in Richmond, VA at For the LOVE of Chocolate. I had heard about this store on my favorite blogger's site, Annie's Eats, and I'm so glad I stopped in! I could have bought a ton of stuff to bring home but since the temperatures were near 100° and we were nowhere near our hotel I decided not to. I did, however, treat myself to a Dark Chocolate and Bacon Truffle. Oh. My. Gosh! So rich and smoky. I'm a huge fan of bacon in/on my sweets so this was a real treat for me! Back to the meringues, I'm not sure if it's the cocoa powder or what, but these are so yummy! I've had, oh, um, maybe 6 since they came out of the oven an hour ago and the girls have probably had 3 each. No worries though, because the recipe makes a ton!
6 egg whites (make sure to have NO egg yolk remnants in the egg whites or you will never get stiff peaks)
1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
Pinch of kosher salt
Position 2 racks in the center of the oven and preheat to 250° F. Line 2 baking sheets with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Set aside.
Sift together the cocoa powder and 1/2 cup of the sugar into a medium bowl. Set aside.
Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on medium speed until very frothy, about 1 minute. Add a pinch of kosher salt and continue beating until soft peaks form, about 2-3 minutes. Increase the speed to high and begin to gradually add the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing sugar to fully incorporate between each addition, about 10 seconds. Once all the sugar has been incorporated continue beating until stiff peaks form, about 1-2 more minutes.
Sprinkle 1/3 of sugar/cocoa mixture over the egg whites. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the sugar/cocoa mixture into the egg whites, being careful not to deflate the egg whites. Once the sugar/cocoa is fully incorporated, repeat with another 1/3, then the final 1/3 of the sugar/cocoa mixture.
Once all the sugar/cocoa is incorporated into the egg white mixture, transfer to a large pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe meringues onto the prepared baking sheets in the formation of a ladylock, about 2 inches long. (You can get creative here and pipe any shape you like, really!) Space the meringues about 2 inches apart.
Bake until meringues are completely dry, about 2 1/2 hours. Transfer pans to wire racks to let them cool completely. Once cool, carefully lift off trays and place in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Barely adapted from Essentials of Healthful Cooking by Williams-Sonoma
Pittsburgh area mom striving to provide clean, healthy, REAL food for her family!