I often search for gluten free dessert options with my sister, Karyn in mind. Whenever there is a gathering, I would rather make a dessert that is naturally gluten free so that she can enjoy it, too. Although she insists that she doesn’t want anyone to go to any trouble, it is troublesome to me that someone may have to skip dessert because of an allergy or intolerance of some kind.
On one occasion, it was a birthday party, if I recall correctly, I was making my mother’s favorite dessert, a specific, gluten filled cake that would not work with my sister’s dietery restrictions. But happily, I came across this recipe for Chocolate Chip Espresso Meringues that sounded absolutely delicious. I knew that she would love the flavors and the fact that there would be no need to make any special substitutions that may or may not work out as intended, was icing on the cake. So I made these confections just for her and packaged the rest up for her take home and enjoy later.
When Karyn arrived early to help with my mother’s birthday dinner, I happily informed her that I made something special, just for her.
“I made you some chocolate espresso meringues!!” I blurted out. Eager to have her try one.
“I hate meringues!” she said with such emphasis, that I dared not mention them again.
But as the evening went on and everyone sang happy birthday, I got madder and madder about her comment. I knew she would like them and how rude was her response to a gift that I made for her? I was determined that she would at least try them. she didn’t even know what she was missing, damn it!
While everyone else was enjoying cake, I pulled Karyn into my office where I was keeping her special stash of Chocolate Meringues.
“Get in here and try these, they are really good.” I said as I pulled her arm.
Karyn looked at the meringues and decided that they were worth at least a bite. Well, her face told me the rest. Then she devoured three more in quick succession before heading back into the kitchen to join everyone else.
Later that night, after everyone when home and all the dishes were done, I got a text from her:
“I just ate the last meringue. They are so good. Will you make me some more?”
Chocolate Chip Espresso Meringues
(Adapted from Food and Wine Magazine, March 2016)
(Makes about 24 small ones)
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup sugar
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons instant coffee
Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place egg whites in a medium bowl with cream of tartar. Mix with a hand mixer on low speed until mixture becomes frothy. Increase the mixer speed to medium and begin adding sugar one tablespoon at a time. Beat until the whites are stiff , about one minute. Fold in chopped chocolate and salt. Sprinkle cocoa and instant coffee on top of egg white mixture. Fold together 2-3 times to lightly incorporate.
Spoon about 24 dollops of meringue onto prepared baking sheet. (About one heaping tablespoon each) Using the back of a spoon, gently flatten the tops of the meringues. Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes until the meringues are firm on the outside and still chewy on the inside. Let cool completely.
Can be stored in an airtight container for one week, if they last that long!