Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Meringues (gluten-free!)

Light and lite.

That's what these are.

They don't weigh much and they're not heavy on the old stomach.

They're also incredibly addictive and downright delicious.

Meringues are so special because they are relatively simple to make and they disappear on the tongue like cotton candy.

These are called Marshmallow Meringues because that's exactly what they are - chocolate marshmallow to boot! I'm not kidding. The outside is crisp and crumbly and the center is moist, dense and spongy just like marshmallow!

It's a major wow moment when you eat these, and don't be surprised when 8 have gone down like water.

Now, there's a trick to creating the marshmallow texture.

If you've ever made meringue before, then you'd know it's essentially a sweetened egg white foam.

Typical recipes say to beat egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar until they form soft peaks and then slowly beat in the sugar until they reach stiff peaks. This is lovely. It makes for really nice crisp meringue.

For a moist spongy center, the key is to begin adding the sugar almost right from the start. I beat the whites just until they are foamy and then slowly beat in the sugar. The mixture will look soupy from doing this and it will take you longer to beat them to stiff peaks, but once you reach the proper volume the mixture will look like shaving cream - a thick dense foam.

This foam is very fine-textured and very stable. Sugar holds onto the water so tightly and keeps the centers moist.

The higher than normal baking temperature and shorter than normal baking time will help to create a crisp top while keeping the middle marshmallowy, but it will also make them a bit hollow. The center will shrink during cooling, but it just adds to the fun.

When eaten fresh these will crumble quite a bit, but after a day of storage in an airtight container they develop integrity and hold up to your biting teeth.

PS. the addition of cornstarch also helps to bind water and set the texture.
PSS. I'm a nerd.
PSSS. these are gluten-free!

Oh ya...and there are bits of dark chocolate all up inside them! Bonus.

Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Meringues
Makes 22 meringues

3 large egg whites (100 g)

¼ tsp cream of tartar

1/8 tsp salt

2/3 cup granulated sugar

3 tbsp unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder

1 tsp corn starch

¼ tsp pure vanilla extract

2 oz bittersweet chocolate, very finely chopped

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with a silicone mat.

Add egg whites, cream of tartar and salt to a medium clean, dry bowl and beat on medium speed until foamy, about 25 seconds. While beating, gradually add the granulated sugar, one tablespoon at a time. This will take a minute or two of beating. Increase speed to medium-high and continue to beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 2-3 minutes.  The egg whites will be white, thick and foamy, like shaving cream.

Sift in cocoa and corn starch and beat on low speed until combined. Beat in vanilla. Fold in chocolate.

Pipe 2-inch-wide rounds onto prepared baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely before removing from silicone mat.

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