Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies
This recipe can be modified to also be sugar-free and fat-free!
Meringue cookies are crispy, light as air and melt in your mouth, almost like candy. Although gluten is not an issue with any of my family members, meringue cookies are one of our favorite treats to make, simply because they are quick, easy, don't require too many ingredients, and mostly because they are delicious.
Meringue itself is fat-free and high in protein. You could make this cookies with Splenda and without chocolate chips for a sugar-free, fat-free version. (See my notes, below, on using the proper amounts of different types of Splenda.)
In 27 amazing color choices!
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
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- Separate the egg whites from the yolks. This works best when the eggs are cold. If you don't know how to separate whites from yolks, see the video below for a quick lesson. Discard the egg yolks, or better yet use them in an omelette or quiche or feed them to your dog or cat.
- With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites in a large ceramic, glass or metal bowl. When they are foamy, beat in the vanilla extract. Once soft peaks have formed, beat in the sugar a little bit at a time until all sugar has been added and hard peaks form. See the second video, below, for a demonstration of hard vs. soft peaks.
- Lightly spray a piece of foil with cooking spray and place it over your baking sheet. Or, line your baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat sheet.
- Drop spoonfuls of meringue onto the baking sheet, or fill a freezer bag with meringue, snip off one corner, and pipe meringue in dollops onto the baking sheet through the open corner.
- Place cookie sheet in a 300º F oven for 35 minutes. After 35 minutes, turn the oven off but leave cookies in for at least 2 more hours. The actual cooking time will toast the meringue, but the extra waiting time allows the cookies to completely dry out and become crispy-crunchy. For white (untoasted) meringue cookies, bake them at 200º F for 1 1/2 hours. Turn the oven off, crack the door, and allow them to dry over night.
Here are some more ideas for different meringue cookie variations:
- Plain Vanilla: Skip the chocolate chips and keep vanilla extract as the only add-in.
- Double Chocolate: Add chocolate chips as the recipe states, but reduce the vanilla to 1/2 teaspoon and gently stir in 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder before folding in the chocolate chips.
- Peppermint: Substitute 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract (not peppermint oil) for the vanilla extract. Crush up 8-10 round peppermint candies and fold them into the whipped egg whites in place of the chocolate chips. Add a few drops of pink or red food coloring, if desired.
- Peppermint Chocolate Chip: Prepare as described above, but leave the chocolate chips in, also.
- Cocoa-Nutty: In addition to 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder and/or 1/2 cup of chocolate chips, fold in 1/2 cup of chopped pecans, walnuts or almonds.
- Amaretto: Replace vanilla extract with 1 teaspoon of almond extract. Sir in 1/2 cup of chopped or slivered almonds.
- Fruity: In place of vanilla extract, substitute 1 teaspoon lemon, orange, strawberry or some other fruit flavoring or extract. Whip in a few drops of the appropriate food color, if desired.
Tips on Making Meringue and Cooking with Splenda
Meringue Tips and Tricks
- It's best to separate eggs when they're cold, as this will help keep the yolks from breaking and ruining your egg whites. However, egg whites whip up best when they're room temperature, so leave them out for about 30 minutes before beating them.
- Grease or fat will prevent your egg whites from whipping up properly. Make sure there is no yolk in your whites, as the yolk contains mostly fat. Also, make sure your beaters and bowls are perfectly clean. Plastic tends to absorb grease, so it's best to use a ceramic, glass or metal bowl for whipping egg whites.
- You may add 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar to your egg whites before beating them, if desired. Cream of tartar helps stabilize egg whites. If you don't have any cream of tartar, don't worry. Your meringue will come out just fine.
Cooking with Splenda
Splenda comes in different forms, which measure out differently. If you'd like to substitute Splenda for sugar in this recipe, here are the equivalents:
- Granulated Splenda: This type of Splenda comes in a resealable plastic bag. It is used cup-for-cup in place of sugar. So, for this recipe, you'd use one cup of Granulated Splenda in place of the cup of sugar.
- Splenda Packets: The little yellow Splenda packets have a higher concentration of sweetener. If you combined the contents of the packets until it made up one cup, that would be way too much sweetener for this recipe. According to the Splenda website, one cup of sugar is equal to 24 Splenda packets.
- Splenda Blend: This product is part Splenda, part traditional sugar. !/2 cup of Splenda Blend equals one cup of sugar.