Friday, June 22, 2012

Toasted Coconut Meringues

I wouldn't call myself a food hoarder. I'm really good about only buying what I need. However, I'm not terribly keen on throwing food away. If I have leftovers that I'm sick of, I tend to stick them in the freezer to be rediscovered at a later date. This usually ends up being three months later when I'm completely starving and have no time to cook. It works for me.

I've talked before about how badly I want to have a big big freezer. I dream one day of a house with a chest freezer and a garden where I can grow my own food, and then store it! For now, though, I have to make do with my tiny icebox which is shared with my roommate.

Because I don't like to through anything away, though, there is a little tub in my freezer that is full of egg whites. So frequently I have recipes that call for just yolks, and I hate throwing the whites down the sink. So into the freezer they go. I realized the other day that my little freezer tub was getting kind of full. I figured that it was time to go ahead and make something, and honestly, I took the easy way out and made meringue.

When I was just starting out in America and cooking very seldom, I once made a huge and delicious strawberry pavlova. I even took a picture of it with a real film camera. The picture was, of course, terrible, but that pavlova was wonderful. Layers of crispy meringue filled with whipped cream and strawberries. I definitely need to revisit that old summer favorite.

But, since I didn't have strawberries on hand, I decided that the meringue that I would make would be in cookie form. Digging through my pantry, I came up with coconut and dark chocolate. Perfect.

Toasted Coconut Meringues

When you're making meringues, you need a stabilizer. The standard choice is Cream of Tartar, but I couldn't for the life of me find it in my pantry. The easiest and more reliable substitute is white vinegar. You can use either in this recipe.

3 Egg Whites (or 3oz of egg white)
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Coconut
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Cream of Tartar or 1/2 Teaspoon White Vinegar
Pinch of Salt
1/2 Cup Dark Chocolate

Preheat your oven to 250F. In a bowl or a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar/vinegar and salt until they form thick peaks that don't sink down when you stop whisking. Add in the sugar a tablespoon at a time and keep whisking. Your peaks will turn lovely and glossy.

In a shallow pan, lightly toast the coconut until it is just starting to brown. Fold it really gently into the eggs until it is evenly distributed.

Line two cookie sheets with Silpat or parchment paper. Drop the mixture onto the pans, about a tablespoon at a time. Try and form them into little mountains. The mixture should be thick enough to stand up on it's own. You should get about 15 per cookie sheet.

Bake in the oven for an hour to an hour and ten minutes. They will keep their shape and turn a light brown all over. Pull them out of the oven and let them cool on the pan completely. If you try and remove them, they will flatten out. They need to cool to maintain their shape.

When they are cool, melt the dark chocolate in a double boil and dip the meringues in there, coating as much of the top side of the meringue as you can. Set onto a plate, and stick in the fridge for 30 minutes or so for the chocolate to harden.

Bring to work and share with your coworkers, because you're just that nice. Eat three between the parking lot and the office.

Makes about 30 meringues.

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