Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies, Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free

by Jeanne on December 8, 2009

Today’s cookies are the easiest things you will ever bake. To be honest, I’m not sure why they’re not made more often these days because they are very simple. I discovered them about 20 years ago when I came across a recipe for “Forgotten Cookies.” Forgotten Cookies are basically meringue cookies that you bake by placing spoonfuls of meringue on a cookie sheet into a preheated 350 degree oven, turning the oven off, and leaving overnight to bake. The heat that is trapped in the oven is perfect to bake the cookies. As the temperature lowers through the night, a perfect crispy meringue is created by the morning.

I made these for years as Forgotten Cookies when I had an electric oven. Then I got a gas oven and realized, after the first barely-cooked batch, that gas ovens lose their heat too quickly once turned off. So, I had to find the correct heat and time to do a timed bake on these. It turns out that 300 degrees for 20-25 minutes is just about perfect! They’re also great cookies to make with kids!

Note: You may notice many recipes that include beaten egg whites contain cream of tartar. Cream of tartar is a by-product of the wine-making process (See! I knew my love of wine could be connected somehow to baking!). It’s an acidic powder that stabilizes egg whites and increases their volume and heat tolerance.

I make these with regular-sized semi-sweet chocolate chips. But, you can also try them with miniature chocolate chips–try both to see if you have a preference. Also, sometimes I like to add 1 C chopped toasted pecans–scrumptious! You can also regulate the chewiness of the cookies–cook them a little longer if you want a more crispy cookie.

Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies, Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free

Special Equipment Needed
-hand mixer for beating the meringue

Ingredients
3 egg whites (save the yolks for making Jam-Filled Butter Cookies)
3/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 C granulated sugar
1 C chocolate chips, regular or mini
Optional: 1 C toasted nuts (I like pecans)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees
-place parchment paper on (or grease) cookie sheets
-in large bowl using a mixer, beat egg whites until foamy
-add cream of tartar, beat
-add vanilla extract
-beat until soft peaks are formed
-sprinkle in granulated sugar a little at a time
-beat until stiff peaks form

-fold in chocolate chips (and nuts if using)
-drop by heaping teaspoon or tablespoons (depending on size you want) onto cookie sheets, 1 1/2 inches apart

-bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes for slightly chewy cookies or 25 minutes for more crispy cookies
-transfer to wire rack to cool completely–they will fall apart if you try to eat them too soon (will taste good, though, no matter what)

Makes about 3 1/2 dozen smaller cookies or 30ish bigger cookies

Enjoy!
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