Light and airy these meringue-like chocolate cookies are tricky because you can’t just eat one!  So be prepared to loose control.  Rob really loved these.  He loved the full chocolate flavor combined with the delicate texture.  Lauren too was a big fan – she was very happy since the chocolate whoppers were just too rich for her.  I loved these fresh from the oven – all fluffy and tender. Sylvie too enjoyed, but not rich enough for Andy.  These take only 10 minutes to bake and like all meringues they have no butter, oil, flour or egg yolk.  Maida Heatter fills these with chopped nuts but I decided to put some ground almonds and chocolate chips in them and was very happy with the result!  Feel free to experiment. Ground nuts or chopped nuts (but I would toast the chopped nuts first).  Add chocolate chips – or leave out – I’m just a chippy person and need that bite.  My family does too.  Enjoy-

chocolate clouds (adapted from Maida Heatters Brand New Book of Great Cookies):

6 oz semisweet chocolate
1/3 cup ground almonds or 2/3’s cup chopped toasted walnuts or almonds or pecans
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line sheet-pans with parchment.

Chop the chocolate and place in a metal bowl over barely simmering water  (an inch or so).  Melt the chocolate stirring occasionally.  Once melted remove from heat and let cool a bit.

If using whole nuts – chop coarsely and toast in 350 degree oven for 6-9 minutes.  Until fragrent and then set aside to cool.

With whisk attachment or with hand held beaters, beat the whites on medium speed – with the salt until they barely hold a soft mound.  Then slowly add the sugar – slowly slowly – and about half way through (adding the sugar) add the vanilla and the cider vinegar (or lemon juice).   Continue to add the sugar, and raise the speed to medium high.  Then finally raise speed to high and beat whites until they form hard peaks or firm points when the beaters are raised.

Remove bowl from mixer and add the cooled melted chocolate to the whites by folding gently.  Don’t over fold – and you can leave some streaks in the batter.  Gently fold in either the ground almonds or the chopped nuts, and the chocolate chips.

Place by rounded teaspoons onto the cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes – or a little less.  Remember to check a bit before as you don’t want to over bake these.  They should look firm on the outside but feel a bit soft on the inside –

Let cool on sheet pan.  Store in an airtight container (they will get even softer in the container – great for ice cream mix ins later in the week!)

Enjoy –

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