Gluten Free? Low Carb? Whatever! Just Eat These Fudgy Chocolate Meringues!

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Fudgy meringues with a crispy, melt in your mouth shell will have you attending “Meringues Anonymous” if you’re not careful!

How can four little ingredients be so good together? The combination of the crispy exterior and the moist chocolate middle sans flour resulted in an entire batch of fifteen cookies disappearing in just over 24 hours. I wish I could tell you we had guests…

Although airy and relatively low on calories compared to most confections, these meringues did not come about due to New Year’s self-promises centered around slimmer waistlines. The ignoble truth is that after creating crème brûlée, another custard dish and any number of ice creams, we had on hand countless extra egg whites and, according to Jack, “egg whites, fish and beer are three items that can be consumed without fear of weight gain.”

These meringues are quick and easy to make but do require an overnight stay in the oven to finish drying  in order to create that crispy exterior.

Fudgy Chocolate Meringues

Ingredients

  • 3 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp dutch processed cocoa
  • 1/2 cup smashed chocolate chips (Place chips in a Ziploc bag and smash with a meat tenderizer)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Place egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  3. Place bowl on top of pot of simmering water, for a double boiler effect.
  4. Whisk eggs and sugar for a couple of minutes until sugar is just dissolved.
  5. Place bowl back on stand mixer. Mix on high speed until eggs are thick and glossy and hold soft peaks.
  6. Sift cocoa onto egg mixture.
  7. Mix on high speed until cocoa is just incorporated.
  8. Fold smashed chocolate chips into egg whites.
  9. Use a cookie scoop to drop batter onto parchment-lined baking sheets.
  10. Bake cookies for 10 minutes. Cookies should puff up and may crack.
  11. Remove cookies and leave oven door open to cool down.
  12. Place cookies back in oven, close oven door and let cookies sit overnight.
  13. The next day, cookies will be cooled completely and can be easily removed from parchment paper. Store in airtight container.

Arctic Amaretti

amaretti_nA perfect little cookie – crispy on the outside, chewy and sweet on the inside and accented with the wonderful flavor of almond.

I love to read blogs and look at food photos in order to hone my baking and photography  skills. Time and again, I find myself on David Lebovitz’s blog admiring  his well-staged photographs and interesting recipes. A few days ago, he posted a recipe for Italian almond cookies. I’ve never made these, but have fond memories of snacking on these delicious, crunchy treats straight out of the red tin from Cost Plus. The commercially sold cookies had a bit of a chewiness inside and a nice crunch on the outside and I  loved the almond flavor.

When I saw David’s post, I put it at the top of my “must bake” list, in spite of the fact I had neither the almond flour nor apricot jam his recipe called for. Nonetheless, the credit for the basic recipe goes to David. His idea of using jam to enhance the cookie’s chewiness and moisture is terrific.  But I did adapt the recipe to my pantry, which included swapping regular old apricot jam for fantastic Arctic cloudberry (aqpik) jam. Too good to keep for ourselves, we gave most of the batch to our  hard-working office staff who had them finished before lunch.

Arctic Amaretti

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sliced almonds, ground as fine as you can in a food processor (reserve a few slices to decorate cookies)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 tbsp cloudberry jam (any smooth jam would work)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together ground almonds and sugar. A whisk makes this job easy.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk egg whites and salt until they form soft peaks.
  4. Fold beaten eggs into almond mixture.
  5. Fold jam and almond extract into mixture. It’s OK if mixture loses volume.
  6. Mix dough until it forms a smooth ball. You may need to knead it a little with your hands.
  7. With a cookie scoop, scoop out dough balls and set them on parchment-lined baking sheets.
  8. Top cookies with reserved almond slices.
  9. Bake for 25 minutes. Cookies will be a light golden brown when done.
  10. Let cool in pans and transfer to wire racks to finish cooling.
  11. Store at room temperature.

Inspired by Rice Flour and Cardamom

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Light rice cookies with a pinch of cardamom give zest to your afternoon tea or coffee.

Dreaming about the fun of making udon noodles and mochi stuffed with adzuki bean paste caused me to impetuously purchase 25 pounds of rice flour during last year’s annual shopping trip… without having first researched how to make these items. Turns out, udon is made with wheat flour and the rice flour used to make mochi is a sweet rice flour. I now had 25 pounds of flour with no inspiration! A “no inspiration item” often transforms itself into an inspiration in our kitchen. We’ve learned that rice flour is a much better thickener in stews and soups than wheat flour or corn starch. We’ve also learned that rice flour makes light and airy cookies. When matched with the exotic flavor of cardamom, you’ve got a trip to India during your afternoon tea!

The original recipe was for Persian rice cookies. The recipe came out way too crumbly. I set the dough in the refrigerator and contemplated how to fix it. With the addition of a couple more eggs, the cookie dough was very soft and looked like scoops of vanilla ice cream while it waited to be baked. Our initial test for the cookie is dough flavor… yum. Again, it was very light with a punch from the cardamom. After they were baked and fully cooled, they were as delightful.

Cardamom Rice Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1  1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp orange extract
  • 3 cups rice flour
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp superfine sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds

Directions

  1. Combine granulated sugar and water in small pot over medium heat.
  2. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring well to dissolve sugar.
  3. Reduce heat and summer for 7 – 10 minutes. Mixture should thicken and reduce to about one cup.
  4. Remove from heat. Stir in orange extract and set aside.
  5. In a medium bowl, stir together rice flour and cardamom. Set aside.
  6. In a bowl of a stand mixer, whisk eggs with superfine sugar until smooth.
  7. Add butter and oil to eggs and beat until fluffy.
  8. Add flour to butter mixture, mix until incorporated.
  9. Gradually add in one cup of the sugar syrup and beat well with mixer.
  10. Place the dough in a container, cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for about six hours.
  11. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  12. Use a cookie scoop to drop out rounds of dough onto baking sheets. Flatten drops slightly with the back of the cookie scoop.
  13. Sprinkle poppy seeds on top of each cookie.
  14. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Bottoms of cookies will be lightly browned.
  15. Remove from the oven and gently place on the cooling racks.

Makes 4 dozen cookies.

Chocolate Mochi Cake

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Dense, lightly-sweetened chocolate cake made with rice flour offers a satisfyingly sweet bite at the end of a Japanese meal.

I learned today that there is a difference between rice flour and glutinous rice flour (mochiko flour). Rice flour can be used in baking. Glutinous rice flour is used to make sweet desserts like mochi, which is what I wanted to learn how to make. I also learned that I purchased twenty-five pounds of the wrong kind of flour in our annual shopping trip. What to do?

Obviously, I had nothing to lose by experimenting. The following recipe is a modification of one published by The Polynesian Cultural Center. The results were quite tasty. Adding half a tablespoon of baking soda will give this recipe a more cake-like result if you prefer. Following the recipe below will yield a dense mochi-like cake.

Chocolate Mochi Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 12 oz. evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter a 9 x 9-inch baking pan.
  3. Mix rice flour and sugar in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  4. Heat butter and chocolate chips in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until chocolate is melted and butter is incorporated.
  5. Pour melted chocolate mixture into bowl of a stand mixer.
  6. Stir in evaporated milk, vanilla, and eggs into the chocolates mixture on low speed until mixed.
  7. Mix in dry ingredients until batter is smooth.
  8. Pour batter into baking pan and bake for 45 minutes. Batter should no longer jiggle.
  9. Remove from oven and fully cool.
  10.  Store covered on counter. Do not refrigerate.