Light, airy, melts in your mouth and gluten free! Meringues are surprisingly simple to make. The secret to crispy meringues are whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks. You can either use a standing mixer with the whip attachment or a hand mixer. When I was in cooking school we had to whip the whites by hand — it builds muscle!
The key steps are to whip room temperature egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar until slightly creamy, slowly adding the sugar a little at a time. You’re looking for a dull sheen and stiff peaks before folding in the almonds, coconut and chocolate chips by hand. Then you’ll bake the meringues at a low temperature and let them cool in the oven. Yum! These meringues are a perfect treat for the upcoming holidays.
Pre-heat the oven to 250 degrees F. Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line 2 baking sheets with silicon pads or parchment paper. To make the topping, toss together 1/4 of the almonds, 1/4 of the coconut and 1/4 of the dark chocolate chips in a small bowl and set aside. Mix the remaining almonds, coconut and chocolate together in another small bowl and set aside.
Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in a clean dry bowl. Beat at medium-high speed in a standing mixer with a whip attachment or with a hand mixer, until the egg whites are creamy white and hold a soft peak when the beaters are lifted. Continue to beat on medium- high speed, adding the sugar a little bit at a time. It’ll take 1 1/2 -2 minutes in all, until the egg whites are very stiff and have a dull sheen to them. Use a large rubber spatula to fold in the mixture of almonds, coconut and chocolate, by hand.
Drop generous tablespoons of the meringue 1 1/2 inches apart on the lined cookie sheets, using an ice cream scoop or two large spoons. Make sure all the batter fits on the two sheets, so they all can be baked at one time. Sprinkle each meringue with the reserved topping mix. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, rotating the pans from the top to the bottom and front to back, halfway through the cooking time. This will ensure even baking.
The best way to test if the meringues are done is to taste one. Let it cool and it should be dry and crisp. Turn off the oven at this point, and let the meringues cool completely in the oven. If the tasting yielded a soft and chewy meringue, then bake for another 15 to 30 minutes, before cooling in the oven.
Phew…a bit of work, but worth the effort, I promise! Once cooled, the cookies will keep in an airtight container for two weeks.