I seem to use more egg yolks than egg whites when baking so I always have egg whites left over. Thankfully egg whites can be frozen for up to 3 months. One large egg white is equal to 35 ml (2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon) so I like to portion and freeze them in ice cube trays, pop out the frozen cubes, and then store them in a plastic freezer bag. These individual portions can be thawed fairly quickly in the refrigerator.
Somehow I never have enough whites saved up to make an angel food cake, but I usually have enough for making cookies. Normally I bake some soft amaretti with my saved egg whites, but sometimes a girl craves a bit of chocolate. I saw this recipe for meringue cookies in Dorie Greenspan's "Baking From My Home to Yours" and decided to try it out.
My meringue cookies turned out much darker and were much flatter than the peaked mounds than the ones pictured in the book. Darker because the cocoa I used is particularly black. (It was Hershey's Special Dark Dutch Processed Cocoa.) Flatter because I planned to use the cookies to make ice cream sandwiches. The crispy meringue shells went really well with the toasted almond ice cream and espresso gelato. Unfortunately I don't have any photos of the ice cream sandwiches because we ate them all too quickly.
Cocoa Almond Meringue Cookies
(from "Baking From My Home to Yours" by Dorie Greenspan)
(makes about 30 cookies)
1 cup confectioners' sugar, plus extra for dusting
1/3 cup finely ground blanched almonds
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 egg whites, at room temperature
pinch of salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 300F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Sift confectioners' sugar, ground almonds and cocoa. Set aside dry ingredients.
In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, using the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites and salt until the whites are opaque. Increase to medium-high speed and continue to whip while adding the granulated sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue whipping until the whites are shiny and hold a stiff peak. Beat in vanilla extract.
Remove bowl from mixer and gently fold in the dry ingredients with a large rubber spatula. The whites will deflate a little bit, but fold quickly and gently to minimize the deflation.
Drop the batter by tablespoonfuls onto your prepared baking sheets spacing them about 2 inches apart. Dust the tops lightly with confectioners' sugar.
Bake at 300F for 10 minutes, then, without opening the oven door, lower the temperature to 200F and bake for 1 hour more. Remove from oven and allow meringues to cool completely on the baking sheet. Carefully peel meringues off the parchment. If desired, dust with a little more confectioners' sugar before serving.