Kissed By Chocolate: Chewy Cocoa Meringue Cookies

“A kiss seals two souls for a moment in time. “ Levende Waters

Some historians say that meringue was invented in the Swiss town, Meiringen by an Italian chef named Gasparini. However, more likely the name meringue for this confection first appeared in print in François Massialot’s cookbook of 1692. The word meringue first appeared in English in 1706 in an English translation of Massialot’s book. Two considerably earlier seventeenth-century English manuscript books of recipes give instructions for confections that are recognisable as meringue, called “white biskit bread” in the book of recipes started in 1604 by Lady Elinor Fettiplace of Appleton in Berkshire. In the manuscript of recipes written by Lady Rachel Fane from Kent, they were called “pets”. Slowly baked meringues are still referred to as “pets” (meaning bottom-wind in French) in the Loire region in France due to their light and fluffy texture.

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Ingredients
375 g icing sugar
80 g plus 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
30 g ground nuts (preferably almonds/pecans/walnuts)
1/4 tsp salt
350 g chocolate chips
4 egg whites
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
Optional ingredients:  raisins, nuts

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Method
Position 2 racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.  Heat oven to 180 degrees C.  Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Mix sugar, cocoa, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. Stir in chocolate chips.  Add slightly beaten egg whites and vanilla; mix with a fork or electric mixer on medium until batter is just moistened, do not over-beat or batter stiffens.
Pipe small circles onto baking sheets in evenly spaced mounds.  Bake cookies until tops are lightly cracked and glossy, about 15 minutes.  Cool briefly, then carefully remove from parchment paper. Cookies may be soft and fragile so proceed carefully to lift cookies and place them on racks to cool, then remove them from the baking sheets shortly as they will stick. Repeat with remaining batter.  When all ready and cooled, stick pairs together with melted chocolate. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a  week.

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“A meringue is really nothing but a foam. And what is a foam after all, but a big collection of bubbles? And what’s a bubble? It’s basically a very flimsy little latticework of proteins draped with water. We add sugar to this structure, which strengthens it. But things can, and do, go wrong.” Alton Brown

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