Homemade meringues pack flavor but not calories

If you have ever looked for a “diet” cookie, you know the options, though varied, are often disappointing. I have found that if you are yearning for an ooey-gooey chocolate chip cookie you should just go ahead and have one. ONE. Make a date to visit a bakery, select a drool-worthy confection from the case, serve your indulgence on a plate, pair it with a cup of tea or coffee, and enjoy each and every bite.

These planed-for and anticipated moments of food pleasure proved to be one of my mightiest weight-loss weapons. Picking and choosing when, where and how I would splurge made it much easier to say, ‘No thank you,’ to offers of treats I didn’t expect or weren’t part of my plan.

However, I also like to have little treats on a daily basis. Simple sweet somethings that pack in the flavor but not the calories.

If you have been following my blog for a while then you already know my love of meringues. Learning to make them at home may have been one of the steepest culinary learning curves I have tackled thus far. Now that I know what I am doing meringue cookies are one of my favorite light sweet treats. I like to play with different flavor additions to suit my moods and cravings.

My latest love may be the boldest flavor combination I have tried to date. I adore cardamom. The assertive perfume and sweetness of its pods and powder is unmistakable. It can overwhelm the palate if it isn’t balanced with other flavors. In this case I went with the smooth taste of almond to round off some of the cardamom’s sharpness while still pushing the flavor right to the edge.

If you like more than a little spice in your life these will be right up your alley. Close your eyes and you might even catch a glimpse of a bustling spice market.

Cardamom-Almond Meringues

These assertively spiced cookies make a perfect accompaniment for a bit of fruit or sorbet. When baked just right these come out light and crisp on the outside with a pillowy marshmallow center. Make them any size you wish. Reduce or increase the cooking time according to the size of the meringue.

Yields 18

Ingredients

3 large egg whites (room temperature)

1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter

1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt (or a large pinch)

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

Instructions

  1. Line two baking pans with parchment paper. You may want to make a template with 2 inch circles to help portion the meringues (make sure to flip the paper after drawing on it). Preheat the oven to 200 degrees f.
  2. Gather and measure your ingredients before beginning so you can keep your eyes and hands on the whisking.
  3. Whisk your room temperature egg whites in a squeaky clean glass or metal bowl on medium speed with the cream of tarter and salt until they turn from clear to an off white foam.
  4. Continue whisking and add the cardamom and almond extract then slowly, slowly adding the sugar in a small stream or by the tablespoonful.
  5. Increase the mixer speed to medium high and whisk the egg whites until they become white and glossy firm peaks (hold their shape when the whisk is removed and stay in the place when you hold the bowl upside down over your head – seriously!)
  6. Use two spoons or a piping bag to portion the meringues in two inch dollops on the prepared baking sheets.
  7. Bake in the oven for 60 minutes, vent the oven door with the handle of a wooden spoon to let any steam out. Check at 45 to see if the outsides have become firm.
  8. Once the outsides have become solid to the touch turn the oven off and leave the pans in the warm oven for another 30 minutes or so to finish baking in the residual heat.
  9. Allow them to cool completely before eating. Store in a dry, airtight, container. They will stay crisp for a few days depending on the weather.

Notes

Egg whites can be a little temperamental. Meringues are best made on a dry day as the process of whipping the egg whites is heavily effected by humidity. Don’t be discouraged if the first batch doesn’t come out they way you hoped. Try again when the weather changes.

Approximate Nutrition per Meringue: 46 calories, 0g fat, 11g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 1g protein, PP= 1

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