Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Chocolate Almond Meringues
It's nearly Christmas! When I am preparing desserts around the holidays, I often try to look for "better" desserts. Now if it just doesn't taste good, I'm not going for it. My husband and I are each a bit of a food snob, so if it's going to be healthy it also HAS TO TASTE GOOD.
I landed upon this simple *decadent* recipe after delving a bit into various meringue recipes. If you've ever wondered about a whole foods meringue, wonder no longer. Yes, you can beat egg whites with sucanat to create soft or stiff peaks of an au natural unbleached cotton color. No glossy whites, but still a beautiful meringue in its own right.
But in the case of CHOCOLATE, the color of the meringue doesn't even matter, now does it? Chocolate covers over a multitude of shades and color nuances. And chocolate just tastes good!
While I wouldn't tout these cookies as healthy per se, they are definitely better for you than most. Using dark chocolate helps to keep the sugar content lower, and a better quality of sugar is found in the sucanat/rapadura used. Not to mention the protein found in the egg whites and in the truly raw (ie: not jet fuel-sprayed) almonds direct from the farm. And no flour, so there's no gluten issue to worry about. Like I said, not healthy but definitely healthIER. And you know what? Take a bite and you won't care. They are just darn good! Rich, gooey and brownie-like inside.
Oh, and did I mention there are just four ingredients? Yep, just FOUR. Dark chocolate, egg whites, sucanat, almonds. Or, if perchance you're not a fan of nuts, you can leave out the almonds, and thus create a smooth + fudgey THREE ingredient cookie. Nice!
Ooey-Gooey Chocolate Almond Meringues
An easy, healthier--but delicious!--whole foods cookie for the holidays.
Yield: 3-4 dozen cookies.
1 cup chopped almonds (as in 1 cup after they're chopped)
3 egg whites
1/2 cup sucanat
9 ounces all natural dark chocolate
Preheat the oven to 350. Set the chocolate to melt in a double boiler, or in a saucepan on low heat. Check often, stirring until melted. Set aside to cool, stirring every few minutes as the chocolate cools to room temp.
Meanwhile chop the almonds. While this may seem tedious, it really only takes 5 minutes max with a sharp knife and a cutting board. (You could grind them in a food processor, but just be sure to pulse so that you don't lose the chunky texture that comes with chopping. When you hand chop there will be little chunks as well as ground almonds--that's what you're going for.) Once chopped and measured to one cup, set the almonds aside.
Crack your eggs and separate the whites from the yolks (reserving the yolks for custard, gelato, mayonnaise, baking or just to add to your scrambled eggs tomorrow morning). Add the whites to the bowl of a mixer. Start beating the whites on medium-high speed, and begin adding the sucanat ever so slowly in a steady, tiny stream, as the sucanat needs a bit more time to dissolve than straight up white sugar. Stop beating the whites when soft peaks form.
Add the cooled melted chocolate and almonds to the whipped egg whites and mix on low speed just for a few seconds more, until thoroughly combined. Drop by the teaspoon-full 1 inch apart onto well-greased (or parchment-lined) cookie sheets. Keep the cookies small as they are quite rich. Bake for 8 minutes.