Posted by: Kristie | December 26, 2009

Holiday Cookie Time

Everyone has certain foods that remind you of being a kid. As you grow up, some of them you still love, some seem rather appalling and others should be appalling but are your secret comfort foods. An example of the latter for me is macaroni and cheese. And I don’t mean the fancypants gouda-parmesan-ricotta-blend with whole wheat-pasta kind. I mean good ol’ fashion Kraft mac n’ cheese from a box with the day-glo orange cheese powder that scares me half to death if I think about it too much.

But that’s not what we’re here to talk about today. We’re here to talk about the traditional treats that I  still love – my mom’s Meringue Teacakes. These days meringues have started popping up in grocery stores like Whole Foods (with the jaw dropping $4.99 price tag for a tiny box), their labels touting a naturally fat-free snack like it’s something just discovered. But I’ve munching on their sugary-sweet goodness for years every Christmas. Unlike the fat-free ones, my mom’s have chocolate chips and aren’t so dry and crunchy like the grocery store kind. She always packed them in the same plastic bins every year, the sturdy kind before the throwaways became popular, stacked them up and placed up high so we couldn’t get at them before Christmas.

Sporadically over the years, I would make my own batch. But it’s just not as fun when you’re making them just for yourself, or even just for your husband. Feeling somewhat displaced and adapting to a new city, I decided to pull out an old tradition this year to share with my in-laws and new neighbors. I will warn you, these babies are sweet, but if you’ve got that special sugar-craving tooth like I do, you will love them and you will not want to stop eating them. So be forewarned.

Below is the recipe my mom handed off to me, which I’ve tweaked a bit based on this year’s experience.

Mom’s Meringue Teacakes

2 egg whites
2/3 cup sugar (I bet you could get away with using a little less sugar, they really are sweet)
1/2 tsp Watkins Vanilla or 1 tsp of regular vanilla
1/2  12 oz. pkg chocolate chips
Festive holiday sprinkles (optional)
Feel free to substitute m&ms, walnuts, pecans, etc. Get crazy and add some additional flavoring like mint. Just make sure to mark them some way (i.e., food coloring or different sprinkles) so people know they are different from the regular kind.

1. Preheat oven to 350o
2. Cover cookie sheet with foil ( or brown paper)
3. Beat egg whites, add sugar till forms stiff peaks. (If you don’t have a stand mixer, just a little warning, this will take forever, it might not even be worth it)
4. Add vanilla, chocolate chips and drop by teaspoons onto sheets.
5. Top with sprinkles
6. Place in oven. TURN OFF OVEN
7. Do not open oven for at least 6 hours or overnight.
8. Test out the cookies, if they are still chewy, turn the oven on to about 200 degrees, but keep the door cracked. After about 15-20 minutes take the meringues out. Make sure to keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. They should be crunchy on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside.

*Watkins Vanilla is an excellent vanilla to use for baking. The flavor is excellent and you use less because it’s double strength. Buy it through my mom, an independent Watkins’ representative, at her website.

The meringue batter with the chocolate chips and vanilla. I didn't think to start taking photos until this step.

Brett placing the sprinkles - a very important job.

All ready for the oven

Brett's favorite part


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