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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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Lauren May 7, 2014 at 3:15 pm

I’ve made these several times now. For Easter I added pink, green, orange and purple food coloring and they looked like little Easter eggs. I just made them for Staff Appreciation Week for my daughter’s school and added two heaping tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder and a heaping tablespoon of instant espresso when I folded in the chocolate chips, this version is by far the best! Don’t add the cocoa and espresso until the very end. If you do it at the beginning when you are adding the cream of tartar the eggs won’t form peaks…learned that one the hard way after I had to dump out my first batch!

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Jeanne May 7, 2014 at 6:10 pm

Lauren: Yay! And good tips!

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Elise January 19, 2014 at 8:18 am

These are AMAZING! So simple. I made them way too big, but I can’t wait to try this recipe again. I want to experiment with different extracts and maybe even add a little color (I have no idea if that would work…brand new to baking.) Thanks!

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Jeanne January 20, 2014 at 1:23 pm

Elise: Do it! It’s fun to experiment with colors and flavors!

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Robyn in ATX December 19, 2012 at 11:01 pm

I was having trouble making these with my gas oven. Also getting the batter very stiff. I followed your recipe, except I substituted Meringue powder for the Cream of Tartar. They turned out great!! Thanks for sharing.

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Jeanne December 20, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Robyn: Meringue powder doesn’t substitute for cream of tarter. Cream of tarter is a stabilizer. Meringue powder is egg whites without the liquid. I would make them as written next time–I think you’ll see a difference! Also, I bake these in my gas oven all the time–and they turn out great! Happy baking!

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Sandi December 31, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Just learning how to go gluten free for my 18-year-old daughter. Just made these and they are wonderful! I was out of chocolate chips, but had peanut butter chips. I added 2 tbsp of cocoa powder to make the meringue chocolate. These are VERY sweet, but they taste so good. Thank you for the recipe.

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admin December 31, 2011 at 8:27 pm

Sandi: Yay! I’m so glad!

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