Ethereally airy with lightly crisp outsides and chewy insides, Chocolate Meringue Cookies are the closet thing I can imagine to eating a cloud. A chocolate cloud. Made by angels. Hello, HEAVEN!
A classic French confection, meringue cookies are easy to make, low calorie, and gluten free.
Talk about angel food!
Meringue cookies are probably the one major French contribution to the world of pastry that doesn’t involve copious amounts of butter, flour, or cream, a fact that made me suspicious of them when I first traveled to France (I headed straight for the French Hot Chocolate and Strawberry Crepes instead).
Boy, did I misjudge.
These tender cookies are lighter than air, sinfully sweet, and have a slight chew in the middle that makes it nearly impossible to not grab a second (or third).
Needless to say, I became intimately acquainted with meringue cookies during my travels abroad in France.
Chocolate meringue cookies especially became (and remain) a frequent afternoon pick-me-up (as are Dark Chocolate Cookies).
5 Star Review
“I have made these more times than I can count, and every time they have been absolutely divine. Light, airy, with a crazily addictive chew, but somehow still so satisfying and fulfilling.”— Taylor —
If you’re unfamiliar with the magic that is a meringue cookie, let me enlighten you (pun intended) with a few quick facts:
- In place of typical baking standbys flour, baking powder, and butter, meringue cookies are comprised mainly of eggs whites whipped into a fluffy frenzy and sugar—making them a gluten free dessert (like this Almond Flour Cake with Lemon). Ground nuts are often used too.
- Meringue cookies come in endless flavors combinations. The chocolate meringue cookies recipe I’m sharing today features additions of ground hazelnuts, espresso, and bittersweet chocolate, but you can easily tweak it.
- The batter is gloriously shiny and can either be scooped simply or elegantly piped onto a baking sheet, before being baked low and slow.
Thus the resulting confection is delicate, crisp on the outside, and melt-in-your-mouth soft and chewy on the inside (also favorite features of my Brownie Cookies). Très magnifique!
How to Make Chocolate Meringue Cookies
Chewy chocolate meringue cookies fascinate me to no end.
How clear egg white goop transforms into stiff glossy peaks laced with ground hazelnuts, cocoa powder and a hint of espresso will never cease to amaze me.
- Egg Whites. The vital base that’s essential for making perfectly light and ethereal chocolate meringue cookies. (Use the separated egg yolks to make some Oat Milk Ice Cream.)
Make sure to start with egg whites that are at room temperature. Otherwise, the egg whites will not whip properly with the sugar.
- Sugar. Sugar both sweetens the meringue cookies but also helps stabilize the egg whites and turn them into fluffy, foamy clouds of wondrous delight.
- Chocolate. Classic meringue cookies can sometimes be excessively sweet. The addition of bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder in these double chocolate meringue cookies tempers their sweetness perfectly.
- Hazelnuts. Adds a lovely nutty flavor and texture to the cookies.
- Espresso Powder. Enhances the bold flavor of these dark chocolate meringue cookies (just like in these One Bowl Brownies).
- Finely grind the nuts, chocolate, and espresso powder in a food processor.
- Sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder.
- Whip the egg whites, gradually adding granulated sugar, until glossy, stiff peaks form. Add the vanilla extract.
- Fold in the powdered sugar mixture and then gently fold in the chocolate-hazelnut mixture.
Use a gentle hand when making chocolate meringue cookies. As you’re folding together the ingredients, you want to deflate the egg whites as little as possible to ensure the cookies turn out light and airy.
- Scoop the batter onto parchment-lined baking sheets.
If you are feeling fancy-schmancy, you can pipe the chocolate meringue cookie batter into pretty shapes, but I personally love the simplicity of spooning the batter with a baby ice cream scoop.
- Bake chocolate meringue cookies at 300 degrees F for 10 minutes, reduce the oven to 200 degrees F, then bake for 1 additional hour.
- Let cool completely at room temperature. ENJOY!
- To Store. Keep leftover chocolate meringue cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
- To Freeze. Meringue cookies may be kept in the freezer for several months. Thaw at room temperature before serving.
Do not refrigerate chocolate meringue cookies as this can cause them to become soft and sticky.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Mini Food Processor. Perfect for smaller jobs when you don’t want to bust out a gigantic 12-cup processor.
- Baking Sheet. An essential tool for anyone who loves to bake. The commercial-grade aluminum is so durable.
- Small Ice Cream Scoop. For scooping uniform amounts of meringue onto your baking sheet.
So grab yourself a plate of chocolate meringue cookies and prepare to be carried away to the clouds over Paris with your first bite. Frenchman and Eiffel Tower not included.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Many meringue cookie recipes will often include cream of tartar as an ingredient to help stabilize and add volume to the egg whites. In my experience, it’s not necessary (and this recipe is proof).
A few things can cause meringue cookies to lose their airy texture. The first is overmixing which causes the egg whites to deflate and lose their volume. The second is starting with egg whites that are not at room temperature which can also impact their ability to whip and stabilize.
Yes. Overbaked meringues will often have beads of moisture appear on their surface which will caramelize and turn golden in the oven. This happens most often if you bake meringues at too high of heat. That’s why, after the initial 10 minutes, the oven temperature is reduced and we bake the meringue cookies low and slow.
Chocolate Meringue Cookies
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts whole and toasted; or swap toasted pecans or almonds
- 1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 4 large egg whites room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Place the oven racks in the upper and lower third positions. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat mat and set aside.
- In the bowl of a food processor (mini if possible), combine the hazelnuts, chocolate, and espresso powder. Pulse until finely ground. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or a large mixing bowl, whip the egg whites and salt on medium speed, until the whites are no longer clear. (Ensure your mixing bowl is perfectly clean and dry, or the whites will not whip properly.) Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to whip, adding the granulated sugar 1 tablespoon at a time as you go. Continue whipping until the whites are firm and hold stiff peaks. They should be very shiny. Beat in the vanilla extract.
- With a large rubber spatula, gently and quickly fold in the powdered sugar mixture, until most streaks are gone, trying to deflate the egg whites as little as possible. Lightly fold in the chocolate-hazelnut mixture, just until combined.
- With a small ice cream scoop, drop the meringues by rounded tablespoons 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes, then without opening the oven door, reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees F and continue baking for 1 additional hour.
- Remove the baking sheets from the oven, then let the meringues stand at room temperature on the baking sheets. Carefully pull the meringues off of the baking sheet and serve.
- TO STORE: Keep leftover chocolate meringue cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. Do not refrigerate as this can cause the meringue cookies to become soft and sticky.
- TO FREEZE: Meringue cookies may be kept in the freezer for several months. Thaw at room temperature before serving.
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