My recent foray into the Macaron world has my family craving the light and airy cookie treats. Time, however, is not always on our side. With a true Macaron taking a bit of planning ahead and our life not always conducive to said planning, my discovery of Eating Well's Dark Chocolate Meringue Drops gave us a similar egg white treat without the filling, but with a chocolate infusion intense enough to curb any chocolate craving.
Having completed a successful dance recital weekend, Liv and I were excited to have a Sunday with no demands other than a Harry Potter marathon on the tv, a fire in the fire place (our annual May Grey marine layer has chilled our temps) and time to play in the kitchen.
|2008 - Mary Poppins|
Bringing excitement each year, the annual studio dance recital ends up taking a lot out of the participants. While I live for watching Liv and her friends dance at their competitions, recital holds a special place in my heart as she and her dad participate in the annual Father/Daughter number. Two years ago, Liv talked my non-dancing husband into joining her in a montage of Mary Poppins songs, bringing me to tears as I watched them dance onstage together.
|Liv and her dad dance "Ole!"|
This year my husband's schedule allowed for him to participate again and he eagerly began his rehearsals last January. Attending weekly sessions they progressed in the dance, but unfortunately the last two weekends found him unable to attend and he missed the rehearsals where the class "put the whole thing together", those ever important on and off stage instructions as well as the transitions. After a not so pretty dress rehearsal last Tuesday mild panic set in as he felt he didn't know what to do. Luckily, Liv is a pro. An animated practice session last Friday had him working the dance like he works his airline check-lists with with a vivacious Latin style! The Latin-style number filled with shaking hips, shouts of "Ole!" and dad's and daughters dancing together had the moms in the audience smiling, once again through their tears, and the teenaged sons hooting with laughter.
Dark Chocolate Meringue Drops proved to be the ideal post-recital treat, bringing a low fat yet intensely chocolate finale to our weekend. Filled with 3 types of chocolate (melted dark, cocoa and nibs), the egg whites and sugar worked their magic bringing a light cookie treat that had our entire family reaching for thirds.
Dark Chocolate Meringue Drops
adapted from Eating Well - 2007
Eating Wells description says it all, "These meringue cookies have a puffy, fraginle exterior and a moist, soft interior. They deliver an enticingly bold knock-your-socks-off bittersweet chocolate experience."
(Printer friendly recipe here)
5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, divided
2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process), sifted after measuring if lumpy
3 Tbs cocoa nibs (we used Trader Joe's Chocolate Covered Nibs)
1/3 cup egg whites (about 3 large), at room temp
1/2 tsp cream of tarter
1/2 cup sugar, divided (use 1 1/2 tsp less if cocoa nibs are omitted)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and coat the paper with cooking spray.
Coarsely chop 3 ounces of chocolate and place it in a small microwave-safe bowl. (Alternatively, see “No Microwave?” below.) Microwave on Medium for 1 minute. Stir, then continue microwaving on Medium, stirring every 20 seconds, until mostly melted. Stir until the remaining chocolate melts completely.
Chop the remaining 2 ounces chocolate into pieces the size of mini chocolate chips. Combine in a small bowl with cocoa and cocoa nibs (if using).
Combine egg whites and cream of tartar in a clean medium mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low for 30 seconds, then at medium speed until soft peaks start to form. Immediately add about 2 tablespoons sugar; beat for 1 minute. Slowly, about a tablespoon at a time, add the remaining sugar, then vanilla, continuing to beat on medium speed until the mixture is smooth, opaque, glossy and thickened, about 2 minutes longer. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, raise the speed to high, and beat for 30 seconds more. Lightly fold in the chocolate-cocoa mixture and the melted chocolate just until evenly incorporated and no streaks remain; do not overmix. Immediately drop the batter by rounded teaspoonfuls about 1 inch apart onto the prepared baking sheets.
Bake the cookies, switching the pans back to front and top to bottom halfway through, until just firm when gently pressed on top but still soft inside, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let stand for 1 to 2 minutes. Then slide the paper from the pans to a flat surface and let the cookies cool completely, about 15 minutes. Gently lift the cookies from the parchment paper using a wide-bladed spatula.
Our friends Dave and Celeste participated in a different Father/Daughter number - Rock Stars. Complete with wigs and fake tattoos, these dads and girls rocked the stage and had the audience "ROFL"!