Vanilla Bean and Cocoa Nib Meringues
Have you ever spent a hearty sum of money on something… and then didn’t want to use it because it was so expensive?
I sometimes feel that way about my couch. Ok… I didn’t spend a ton of money on my couch… but, well… it felt like a lot of money at the time. As a result, I feel like the couch must be treated with the proper respect. God forbid someone should try and jump on it. Heck.. if someone sits down on it too hard (is that really even possible) I look at them sideways.
And don’t even get me started on the cat. He has nooooo respect. Probably because he has noooo concept of what money is.
My couch isn’t fancy. But… I feel like the very fact that I have a couch puts me on the fancier side of fancy. I spent a lot of years without a couch.
Don’t sit down to hard on my couch… that’s all I ask. Oh! and if you’re going to park your rear end for a prolonged amount of time, please rotate seat spots. You’re mushing my cushions. Nevermind that it’s a couch made for sitting and mushing. I’m unreasonable. I know. I truly am.
I feel like these cookies echo my fancy couch sentiments.
See… they have fancy ingredients in them. Cocoa nibs and vanilla beans deserve some respect. When these two ingredients meet in a cookie, the cookie should be held in the highest esteem… even if it’s just a light, puff-of-air meringue.
Treating yourself is important. Treating yourself to a couch, and then acting unreasonably about its use might be silly. But splurging of some crunchy cocoa nibs and baking them into cookies is a slightly easier treat. And your cat won’t scratch cocoa nibs.
These meringues were inspired by Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. Tartine is one of the best bakeries in the land. They’re people that do things right. It is a dream. Tartine has cocoa nib studded meringues that are perfect. You’ll want to order two… and you should… but you’ll probably only be able to eat one. Trust me.
Meringues require eggs. The brown yolk-y kind… not necessarily the wood or marble type, even though they’re pretty.
These cookies are so simple… but they have some really lovely splurge ingredients in them .
They’re special baking items… and totally worth the splurge.
I always want to swim in glossy, unbaked meringue. It’s like thick marshmallow cream.
Easily dollop with a big soup spoon. Keep it easy in the kitchen.
The parchment paper is a complete must. Parchment paper might seem like another splurge item… but it’s important. It’s not like foil. It’s only like parchment paper. There is no substitute.
Take a bite while the cookies are still on the baking sheet.
You know why? Because you’re grown. You made grown cookies. There’s no butter in them. And you you you are living a good life. Bite!
Eat off the baking tray… but please don’t forget to make things beautiful. Beautiful things always make me feel better. And! Since we’ve splurged on such lovely ingredients… we really should take out a pretty plate and brew a nice pot of coffee.
These cookies are light but crunchy. The centers are simultaneously hallow and chewy. They are a combination of delicate and rustic. Have them with hot coffee, red wine, or in bed with a glass of cold orange juice. It’s your world… and it’s a beautiful one.
Vanilla Bean and Cocoa Nib Meringues
makes 12 cookies
adapted from Food and Wine
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 vanilla bean, split and scrapped of seeds (or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa nibs
Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together granulated sugar and vanilla bean scrapings with the back of a spoon. Press the vanilla bean scrapings into the sugar until well distributed and fragrant. Set aside.
Clean and dry the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Add egg whites and beat egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add pinch of salt and cream of tartar. Increase speed to medium high and beat to soft peaks. The egg whites will be white and foamy, with large but tight bubbles.
Gradually add the granulated sugar, increasing the mixer speed to high. Beat for about 3 minutes on high speed, until stiff, glossy peaks form. Egg whites will be spoonable, but keep their shape when dolloped onto a baking sheet. Once thick, remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in cocoa nibs and vanilla extract (if you didn’t use vanilla bean).
On prepared baking sheet, dollop out egg white mixture by the two tablespoonful. Space about 1-inch apart, although the meringues won’t spread as they bake. Place in the oven and allow to cook for 60 to 70 minutes. Meringues will brown sightly on the top and feel hollow to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Remove from the parchment and serve with coffee or mint tea.
Meringues will last, in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to 3 days.