Wednesday, July 20, 2011
I hit the second half of my twenties last Friday, and you know what? Meh. Really, the most exciting part was investigating the iPad2 a fellow traveler next to me had. For, you know, when I'm not poor anymore. Grad school is not where the money's at. But hey! Having fellow travelers means that I was going to / coming back from somewhere, right? Right! Colorado is a veerrry nice place to spend a couple days, I have to say. While J was bemoaning the humid 100*F heat they had in Chapel Hill last Tuesday, I had a very respectable high temperature of 85*F with minimal humidity in Boulder. With rain! Full-on thunderstorms! Given that NC is in a drought currently, this was much more exciting than it really should have been.
Oh, and look! Cookies! Because J always tends towards cookies, it was fitting that my dad's note on this birthday gift was "This is probably more for J than for you." I'm much more of a cake and frosting sort of person. Which means whoopie pies basically have a lifetime of -0.003243 seconds in this apartment. But when I want to bake but don't want to directly apply butter to my ass, I make cookies for J. So the day after getting this book as a present, I decided to finally do something about the stash of egg whites in my fridge. Not that it helps deplete the stash in my freezer, but still. Progress.
Just a couple notes about these cookies. Room temperature egg whites definitely whip up with more volume, and to help them out, stick with metal or glass bowls rather than plastic ones which are more difficult to get squeaky clean (and fat free). On the subject of ridiculous kitchen mistakes, don't triple the amount of sugar because you read the amount of nuts instead of sugar. It doesn't lead anywhere good, which made me very glad that I had such a large stockpile of eggs in my fridge. Whoops? Mine baked for 7-8 minutes, on the low end of her suggested baking time, and are fudgier (Blogger tries to correct this to "pudgier." Blogger would probably be correct.) than you might expect meringues to be thanks to the amount of cocoa butter. They are a definite win in J's book, in case you were wondering. After a bite or two, even I was a bit swayed towards them, although they will never replace my love of cream cheese frosting. Cream cheese frosting 4 ever!
Your eyes do not mistake you - I didn't make this week's TWD (chestnut scones) due to the complete dearth of chestnut flour near me. I'm not really prepared to purchase a couple pounds when I barely need any for the recipe, and I already have a dozen or two of scones in my freezer ready for impromptu breakfasts. I'll be back next week with a lovely chocolate sorbet though!
Melting Chocolate Meringues
adapted from Alice Medrich's Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-your-mouth Cookies
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
60 g egg whites (approximately 2 egg whites), at room temperature
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1/4 cup sugar (not 3/4 cup, like I tried the first time. That... doesn't work so well)
3/4 cup almonds
Preheat the oven to 350*F and move racks to the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Toast the almonds in the preheating oven, 10-15 minutes or until you can smell them. Let them cool before roughly chopping them. Set aside.
Melt the chocolate - you can use a microwave or a double boiler, but I just set the chocolate directly in a pot over medium-low heat. Keep an eye on it so that it doesn't burn. When it is almost completely melted, take the pot off the heat and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool.
In a large (metal or glass - not plastic) bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar, vanilla, and salt. Once they reach a soft peak stage, continue beating while slowly adding the sugar. Stop once they are glossy and firm but not dry. Pour in the almonds and chocolate and carefully fold together until no streaks of egg white or chocolate remain.
You can't let this batter sit, so portion out tablespoons of batter (I used a small cookie scoop) onto the cookie sheets, leaving an inch between each one. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the tops look dry but are still quite fragile to the touch. Rotate the cookie sheets about halfway into the baking, top to bottom and front to back. Transfer the parchment paper with the cookies on it to cooling racks and let cool completely before storing. They are good for (at least) 2-3 days.
Makes ~30 cookies