Although I don’t bake cookies often during the year, once December arrives I take out my baking sheets, search for favorite recipes, and set up a mini-bakery in my kitchen. I love to give holiday gifts of homemade food, and cookies are perennial favorites among my friends.
This year I culled my files and found the directions for Walnut and Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies. The recipe for these delicious nibbles was inspired by a visit to the Dordogne in the southwestern area of France quite a few years ago. In the medieval town of Sarlat I bought some walnut meringues in an outdoor market and was dazzled by the assertive taste of ground walnuts that had been baked into the crispy, golden cookies. Back home on this side of the Atlantic, I spent several days trying to duplicate them.
For my version, I beat egg whites with granulated sugar, then folded in ground walnuts, powdered sugar, and flour. Then I tossed in some coarsely chopped chocolate chips adding yet another dimension of flavor to the mix. Although most meringues are baked in a very low oven for a long time, these need only 20 to 25 minutes in a 300 F-degree oven.
These meringues would make a thoughtful holiday present packed in metal tins wrapped in ribbons or in clear cellophane bags tied with bows and a bit of greenery. They store well for up to a week (if they last that long). I also plan to keep these light crunchy cookies on hand to dip into cups of steaming hot coffee or tea when friends stop by for impromptu visits during the holidays.
Print This Recipe
Walnut and Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies
Butter for greasing parchment on baking sheets
1 1/2 cups walnut halves or pieces (about 7 oz)
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tbsp flour
3 large egg whites
6 tbsp granulated sugar
1 cup chocolate chips, preferably bittersweet chocolate chips, very coarsely chopped (See market note.)
1.Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper cut to fit and butter parchment paper on each generously. Position one rack at a lower level and another at a center position and preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
2.Process walnuts in a food processor until they are finely ground, and then transfer them to a medium mixing bowl. Sift together confectioners’ sugar and flour over nuts. Mix well with a spoon.
3.Place egg whites and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium high speed until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in half the walnut mixture. Then fold in remaining walnut mixture along with the coarsely chopped chocolate chips.
4.Using a tablespoon measuring spoon, scoop a generous amount of batter onto a prepared baking sheet. Use a table knife to help scoop the meringue batter from the spoon. Lightly flatten top of meringue with flat blade of knife. Continue until all batter has been used, leaving at least an inch around each meringue. You should get 30 to 32 cookies.
5.Bake until meringues are light golden, 20 to 25 minutes. (For meringues with chewy interiors and crisp exteriors bake only 20 minutes, for meringues which are crisp inside and out bake 25 minutes.) Reverse baking sheets top to bottom after 10 minutes.
6.Remove baking sheets from the oven and let cookies rest 10 minutes or longer to cool. Then gently peel meringues from baking sheets. Store in an in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Makes 30 to 32 cookies
Note: If you have two ovens it is easier to bake a batch in each oven. In this case you will not need to reverse the baking sheets. Bake each sheet on center shelf.
Market note: Ghiaradelli’s 60% bittersweet chocolate chips work well in this recipe. Chopping the chocolate chips very coarsely makes it easier to incorporate them into the meringue batter.
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2023