Today’s Chocolate and Vanilla Meringues are a far cry from the dry and crumbly version I grew up eating, but just as sweet and lovely. I made two versions today, a vanilla meringue and a chocolate meringue, both with a hidden surprise inside … chocolate chips. You don’t have to add the chocolate chips, but I really liked the balance of the chocolate to offset the sweetness and the added texture from the chips!
If you are looking for naturally gluten and dairy-free desserts, these meringues are perfect for you! There is no flour or milk required, just egg whites and sugar plus a touch of crème of tartar for stabilization. If you don’t have crème of tartar already, make sure you buy some. There is no substitute that will work as well. It has a really long shelf life and is needed with any meringues that you make, so it is a good investment for future baking.
Meringues may be the easiest cookies to make, although most people never attempt them. They are ethereal puffs of pure sugar that somehow becomes hard and crunchy without browning. That scares a lot of bakers but it shouldn’t. The secret is baking them low and slow. Put them in a low oven and walk away, then turn it off and walk away again.
I used an ice cream scoop to form my meringues, which was really easy and fast. But if you want the beautiful shapes that you usually see when buying meringues at the store or bakery, put the whipped egg whites into a piping bag fitted with a large round (to accommodate the chocolate chips) tip and pipe onto Silpats or parchment sheets. They will be perfectly formed, just like the pros make!
These Chocolate and Vanilla Meringue cookies are some of the sweetest cookies I’ve ever made. No surprise, they are just egg whites and sugar for the most part. If you want them less sweet, you can cut back slightly on the sugar and use a bittersweet chocolate instead of semisweet. Also, if you want a more traditional flavor you could cut back the amount of chocolate chips by half. Blasphemy for all you chocoholics out there, but it is an option.
If you are starting to put together your baking list for the holidays, add these Chocolate and Vanilla Meringues to the selection. For even more fun, divide the vanilla mixture into several separate bowls and stir a little paste food coloring into each one to make bright spots of color on your holiday dessert platters.
Happy Chocolate Monday!
Key Ingredients for Chocolate and Vanilla Meringues:
- Egg whites
- Kosher salt and cream of tartar
- Granulated sugar
- Chocolate chips
- Cocoa powder, optional
How to separate eggs:
The safest and easiest way to separate egg whites from the yolks is to use your hands. Set up two bowls, one for the whites and one for the yolks. Working over one bowl, crack the egg and holding it upright, open it, allowing the whites to fall into the bowl. Pour the yolk and remaining whites into the palm of your opposite hand keeping your fingers slightly separated. Very gently transfer the yolk from one hand to the other until all the whites have fallen through your fingers and into the bowl. Drop the yolk into the second bowl. Repeat with remaining eggs.
A Trick to get Egg Whites to Beat High and Firm:
You cannot have any yolk in the egg whites or they won’t beat correctly – fat or grease may affect the loft you get when you beat them and you may not be able to get them to the peaks you are looking for. And be sure your bowl and beaters are sparkling clean too! It is worth a quick hand wash to be sure they are clean.
Silpats are silicone baking sheets that fit a standard half sheet pan. They are non-stick and especially helpful when making candies and delicate cookies. If you pipe the meringues onto Silpats, you are guaranteed that they will easily lift off with little to no breakage. They are reusable, relatively indestructible, and are worth the cost if you bake often.
How to make Chocolate and Vanilla Meringues:
- Beat the egg whites with the salt, cream of tartar, and vanilla to soft peaks
- Slowly add the sugar, while beating then increase speed of the mixer and beat until the meringue is stiff and glossy
- Gently fold in the chocolate chips and scoop into balls onto Silpat or parchment-lined baking sheets
- If you want to make a chocolate version, sift cocoa powder over the top of the whipped whites and gently fold in until there are no more streaks; scoop or pipe onto prepared baking sheets and bake as directed
- Bake at 225°F for 1 to 1-1/2 hours; turn off oven and let cool completely on the baking sheets in the oven, another 2 hours
PRO Tip – How to Fold Ingredients:
When folding in the cocoa powder, make sure you use the classic folding technique. Using your rubber spatula, start above the bowl and cut straight down through the middle. As you reach the bottom of the bowl, turn the spatula toward you, drawing the mixture from the bottom of the bowl to the top. Turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat. Continue folding until everything is evenly incorporated and there are no streaks remaining.
You need to cut through the dough and turn it in order to find any hidden pockets of cocoa powder and to thoroughly incorporate it into the beaten egg whites. If you don’t use this technique you will wind up with streaky meringues and dense pockets of powder that haven’t been fully integrated into the mixture.
If possible, use a stand mixer for this recipe. If you use a hand mixer, be prepared to be mixing for at least 15 minutes to get the egg whites fully whipped. Your arm will definitely get tired and a stand mixer will whip more efficiently and faster.
Recommended Tools (affiliate links; no extra cost to you):
- Baking sheets
- Silpats or parchment paper
- Stand mixer
- Silicone spatula
- Spring-loaded ice cream scoop
- Piping bag with a large tip
These cookies are easily gluten-free and dairy-free as long as you use dairy-free chocolate chips!
- 4 egg whites, warmed in the shell (submerge whole eggs in medium-hot water for 5 minutes before separating them)
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup sugar pulsed in a food processor to create superfine sugar
- 8 oz chocolate chips (dairy-free if needed)
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder, optional
- Preheat the oven to 225°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper sheets.
- In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites, salt, cream of tartar, and vanilla at medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer on medium-low speed, gradually add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and when all the sugar has been added, increase speed to medium-high. Continue to beat until the meringue is stiff and glossy, about 1-1/2 minutes more. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
- Using a spring-loaded ice cream scoop, drop dollops of meringue onto the prepared baking sheets, each one about 2 tbsp for small cookies, 1/4 cup for larger ones, 1 inch apart. Bake until dry, about 1 to 1-1/2 hours, spinning and moving the baking sheets from the top rack to the bottom halfway through the baking. Turn off the oven and let cool completely on the baking sheets in the oven, another 2 hours or so. They will not get any browning but you can tell they are done when you can easily lift them off the parchment and the bottoms are dry.
- For Chocolate Meringues option: Once the sugar is completely incorporated into the egg whites and they've been beaten until stiff and glossy, sift 1/4 cup of cocoa powder over the top and gently fold it in until no streaks remain. Fold in the chocolate chips, spoon onto parchment lined baking sheet, and bake as described above. If only flavoring half the mixture, use half the amount of cocoa powder.
- NOTE: See Pro Tip above for detailed info on the technique for folding in ingredients.
Adapted from a recipe by Martha Stewart
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 37Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 14mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 0gSugar: 5gProtein: 1g
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This post was first shared in Nov 2015. The article was updated in 2020.