Colorado is a notoriously difficult state for bakers.
Recipes must be tweaked to include more liquid (or less flour, whichever you prefer), extra leavening agents, and increased oven temperatures. Baking in the high altitude and dry climate is enough to intimidate even the most seasoned of bakers, not to mention a gluten-free one, at that!
Before moving here from Florida, I did quite a bit of research on the changes that would need to be made to my recipes, and, thankfully, the transition hasn’t been nearly as difficult as I had imagined. In fact, Colorado has allowed me to bake something Florida would never have allowed, Meringues!!!!
Meringues are fluffy, pillows of whipped egg whites and sugar that require a rather dry climate in order to be baked. The inherent Florida humidity that wreaked havoc on my naturally curly hair would have also wreaked havoc on the meringues’ texture. Too much moisture in the air ruins any possibility of accomplishing the hollow, crumbly interior of a true meringue. Colorado, however, is practically Saharan in comparison, and the perfect climate for baking meringues.
My first attempt turned out to be a winner! I used the below recipe, courtesy of the incomparable Joy the Baker, substituting an ingredient or two here and there. Since I do not keep white sugar in the house, I used turbinado sugar, which gave my cookies a darker color than traditional meringues. The taste? Perfection!
Now separate those egg whites and “whip it! Whip it good!”
Cacao Nib Meringues
(Gluten Free, Dairy Free)
adapted from Joy the Baker – Vanilla Bean and Cacao Nib Meringues
- 3 large Egg Whites, room temperature
- 3/4 cup Turbinado Sugar
- 1 tsp Bourbon Vanilla Extract
- pinch of Salt
- 1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar
- 3 Tblsp Cacao Nibs
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, combine turbinado sugar and vanilla extract. Set aside.
- Using a stand mixer, whip egg whites on medium speed until frothy.
- Add salt and cream of tartar and increase speed to medium-high. Beat until egg whites are at the soft peak stage. Egg whites will be very frothy with small bubbles.
- Slowly add the sugar/vanilla mixture to the egg whites, increase the mixer speed to high, and whip until stiff, glossy peaks form. Egg whites will be “spoonable”.
- Remove bowl from the stand mixer and gently fold in the cacao nibs.
- Spoon 2 heaping Tblsp of egg white mixture per cookie onto parchment lined baking sheet. Should equal about 12 cookies.
- Bake in preheated oven for 60-70 minutes until lightly browned and hollow sending when lightly flicked with a finger.
- Cool completely before removing from the parchment paper.