How to Make Fabulous Desserts Using Starbucks Via Instant Coffee: Espresso Chip Meringues
And we are back with more coffee desserts for your enjoyment. This time: meringues.
Meringues are a tricky business, but they are a great dessert to make when you have a craving. Essentially, all you need is an egg or two and some sugar. Of course, adding chocolate always helps. But if you have a stockpile of extracts (peppermint, vanilla, and almond for a start) you can have whatever kind of dessert you desire in a few hours.
I have tried making meringues a few times. Every recipe is a little different with regards to ingredients and baking times and techniques. I have read that making sure your egg whites are at room temp and beating them in a cold bowl will facilitate the beating process, as will adding cream of tartar. Essentially, however, all you need to make good meringues is egg whites, sugar, and a lot of persistence. Whipping up egg whites into meringue can take awhile; just do not give up until you have the perfect consistency. The end result will be worth it, especially when you are using the following recipe!
3 large egg whites
Pinch of fine sea salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 packet Starbucks Via
1 cup dark chocolate chips
Yields 12 to 20 cookies
Espresso Chip Meringues
The ultimate lower-fat version of the chocolate chip cookie! These cookies are delightful, whether you follow the full baking instructions to get them nice and crispy, bake them less to leave them softer and flaky, or sneak a taste after they have baked when the chocolate is warm and melting.
Adapted from a recipe by Giada de Laurentiis on Food Network
PICTURE ONE: Preheat the oven to 300F. Cover a baking sheet in parchment paper and set aside.
PICTURE TWO: Separate you egg whites. Since any bit of yolk is the death of any attempt to make meringues, it is best to separate each egg over a smaller bowl, dumping the collected egg white into your larger mixing bowl after each separation. That way, a bit of yolk falling into you egg white will only ruin one egg rather than the whole batch.
PICTURE THREE: Add a pinch of sea salt, then beat the egg whites with a hand mixer on high until the egg whites have increased in volume and are nice and foamy.
PICTURE FOUR: While beating egg whites at medium speed, gradually add sugar.
PICTURE FIVE: Once the sugar has been completely incorporated, the mixture will be pure white and slightly shiny.
PICTURE SIX: Add cream of tartar, vanilla extract, and Starbucks Via. Beat on high. The mixture will thicken and reach a point where drawing away the beaters will create soft peaks that will fall back into the batter.
PICTURE SEVEN: Continue beating mixture on high until stiff peaks form or you can hold the bowl up and the mixture does not slip. You do not want to under or over beat your meringues. Giada's recipe says that this will take 3 to 5 minutes. For me, it took more like ten minutes. If you are an anxious baker like me, only practice will make you feel comfortable knowing when you have reached the right point.
PICTURE EIGHT: If you do not have miniature chocolate chips, chop up your chocolate into smaller bits. Fold chocolate into mixture using a spatula.
PICTURE NINE: Put mixture in a pastry bag for piping. If you do not have pastry bags, put it in a gallon ziploc and snip off one corner.
PICTURE TEN: Use your makeshift pastry bag to pipe the dough onto your prepared cookie sheet. Depending on how large you make your cookies, you should end up with anywhere from 12 to 20 cookies.
PICTURE ELEVEN: I went for pretty big cookies and ended up with a perfect, square 16.
PICTURE TWELVE: You should bake the cookies for 30 and 30 (turning in between) and then let them sit in the oven for 2 hours. I was extremely inpatient and only baked mine for 20 minutes and let them sit for 40. Meringues do not take that long to bake, but it you want them crispy, keep them in longer. As long as the cookies turn slightly brown around the edges, as pictured, you can take them out.
PICTURE THIRTEEN: The resulting cookies will taste and look similar to your ordinary chocolate chip cookie, but they are anything but. Physically lighter and conveniently with less fat (no butter needed!), meringues are almost a guilt-free snack (let's just forget about the chocolate filled center, shall we?).
1. If you tire of coffee desserts, take out the coffee, substitute almond extract for vanilla (3/4 tsp), and use orange chocolate instead of regular dark for a new treat.
2. Replace vanilla extract with peppermint extract (1/4 tsp or less to taste) and use in place of an after-dinner mint.
3. Anything tastes better with more chocolate! Melt your favorite with a little bit of shortening and cover the bottom of your meringues with the result. You can even use the sticky chocolate to add more flair to your cookies with crushed peppermints, crushed nuts, cocoa powder, or more espresso!
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