My mother in law used to make these at Christmas and in our house they are family favourites all year round. Light and crisp outside gives way to soft, chewy meringue inside, all mixed up with gorgeous crunchy pecans and delicious chocolate chips. I make these often and while I was testing this recipe for the blog I also developed a very tasty variation using white chocolate and macadamia nuts. I can’t decide which I like best!
Meringue is a tricky customer, and how it turns out depends on your oven. What you want with these is a crisp lightly golden outer shell which gives way to a soft, slightly chewy centre. With these cookies, the best way to do this is to cook the meringues at a very low heat and then turn the oven off and let them continue to dry out as the oven cools. Then carefully remove them from the baking sheets and cool completely on a wire reach.
I generally double this recipe as these cookies disappear as fast as you can make them. They will keep in an airtight container for at least a couple of days, but they never last that long in our house!
Chocolate Chip and Pecan Meringues
or White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Meringues
Makes 12 (easily doubled)
2 egg whites, at room temperature
½ cup white sugar
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips OR 1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup pecan halves (do not chop) OR ½ cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 200°F (100°C). Line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper or other baking paper.
Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks are beginning to form. Gradually add the sugar, a bit at a time, and beat until stiff peaks form. Beat in the vanilla.
Remove the bowl from the mixer, and using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the chocolate chips and the nuts.
Using two tablespoons, gently drop tablespoons of batter on to the greaseproof paper.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the outsides are no longer sticky and are beginning to turn golden brown. Now turn off the oven and leave the meringues inside for 20 to 25 minutes. Be careful they do not get too brown.
Remove the baking sheets from the oven and allow to cool a bit before gently peeling the meringues off the greaseproof paper and cooling on a wire rack. When cool, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days.
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