I hope everyone had a very happy and hopefully relaxing Thanksgiving holiday! We had a quiet holiday here in PA, and I’m happy to say that my meal went quite smoothly without any major disasters or hiccups.
I love making meringue cookies in general; they are relatively easy to whip up and fat-free. As an added bonus, they are also gluten-free, for anyone who it gluten intolerant. I’ve had these particular meringue cookies bookmarked for at least a month now, and finally got around to making them last week. Nutella and light as air meringue – delicious!
I was back and forth on whether or not to use cream of tartar in the meringue cookies, as some recipes call for it and others do not. From what I found online, the results were mixed, so I turned to my trusty Cooks Illustrated book, and found my answer. According to the good folks at CI, many meringue cookie recipes call for an acid (like cream of tartar) which is supposed to help egg proteins unwind faster, bond better and then stabilize egg whites. However after testing it with and without acid, they determined that leaving out the cream of tartar allowed for a wider range to add sugar, and actually made a more stable meringue. So I nixed the cream of tartar.
Nutella Meringue CookiesSlightly adapted from Cream Puffs in Venice and Diane A Broad Makes 20 to 25 meringues, depending on how large you make them 3 large egg whites, at room temperature 1 pinch of salt 1/2 cup, plus 1 tablespoon, granulated sugar 1/4 cup Nutella
Position oven racks in the bottom third and the upper third of oven. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a small bowl, warm Nutella in microwave; this will take about 30 seconds to 1 minute depending on your microwave. The Nutella should be just melted and appear pour-able. Alternately if you do not have a microwave, this can be accomplished with a double boiler. Set aside.
Put egg whites and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat egg whites on medium-high until the whites are foamy and just start to form soft peaks; this should take about a minute. Increase speed to high and very slowly add sugar over several minutes. Whites are done when all sugar is incorporated and stiff peaks form.
Remove the bowl from stand mixer and pour in Nutella. With a rubber spatula, carefully fold Nutella into the meringue in three or four strokes. Do not over mix, as you want to keep the swirled effect.
Using two spoons, drop the meringue onto prepared baking sheets in large dollops. Though they don’t really puff up or spread, I placed mine about one inch apart.
Bake in oven for 10 minutes. Lower the heat to 200 degrees F and rotate the trays top to bottom, front to back. Bake for an hour. Meringues are done when they feel dry. If meringues are tacky keep baking until dry, checking every 10 minutes. When meringues are done turn oven off. Let cookies cool in the oven for at least one hour.
Cooled meringues will keep in an airtight container for a week.