Saturday, February 20, 2010

Chocolate Almond Meringues

The evening began with a friend I hadn't spent time with in quite a while and a bottle of wine. We perused recipes, settling on a simple one that turned out to be more perfect than we could have anticipated. It gave us an easy task (the wine necessitated that) and a long baking time (good for catching up, she even did the dishes which guarantees another invite).

It was so simple. One minute we're having girl talk and the next we're oohing and awwwwing over puffy egg whites! The recipe doesn't entail a ton of active time, but you do need to work quickly once the eggs are at stiff-peak stage. I also recommend making them bite-sized, as they crumble pretty quickly once you've bitten into them.

If you haven't had a meringue, don't be scared off by the less than gorgeous photo here. They look like little monsters. Know that once you bite into it, it will melt in your mouth.

(recipe after the jump... thanks to c fierce)

Chocolate Almond Meringues
From Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours

1 C confectioners' sugar, plus extra for dusting
1/3 c finely ground almonds
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
4 lg egg whites at room temperature
pinch of salt
1/2 c sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 c very finely chopped bittersweet chocolate (or finely chopped chocolate chips)

Get ready: position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat oven to 300F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift together confectioners' sugar, ground almonds and cocoa.

Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a hand mixer in a large dry bowl (I can't emphasize enough how important it is that the bowl be perfectly dry and clean), whip egg whites and salt on medium speed until the whites are opaque. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to whip as you add the sugar, about 1 T at a time. Then whip until they are firm and hold stiff peaks. They should be very shiny. Beat in the vanilla, and remove the bowl from the mixer. With a large rubber spatula, quickly but gently fold in the dry ingredients, followed by the chopped chocolate. The whites with deflate as you fold them in-just try to work quickly and use a light touch.

Drop the meringue by tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets-leave about 2" between mounds. Dust the tops of the meringues very lightly with confectioners' sugar.

Bake for 10 minutes, then, without opening the oven door, reduce the oven temp to 200F and bake for one hour more. The goal is to remove all the moisture from the meringues. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and allow the meringues to stand in a cool, dry place (not your fridge) until they reach room temperature. Remove from parchment and enjoy.

Makes about 30.

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