Meringue cookies are sweet and delicate, brittle on the outside, moist and chewy on the inside. These are flavored with bittersweet chocolate and hazelnuts, and because meringue cookies don’t contain flour, they’re naturally gluten free. Include them on a cookie platter with Gluten-Free Pistachio Citrus Bars, Gluten-Free Almond Crinkle Cookies, and Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies.
What to buy: Superfine sugar (in Britain, it’s called castor sugar) is finely granulated so it dissolves quickly—it’s essential to avoid grainy meringues.
Game plan: Hazelnuts usually come with the dark, paperlike skins still attached. It’s pretty easy to rub them off with a clean kitchen towel after toasting the nuts. Don’t worry if there are a few bits of skin left—they’ll add color and flavor.
- Yield: About 2 dozen cookies
- Difficulty: Medium
- Total: 1 hr 45 mins
- Active: 20 mins
- 4 large egg whites
- Boiling water
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1 cup superfine sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skins rubbed off, and chopped
- Heat the oven to 325°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. Fill another, larger bowl about halfway with boiling water. Place the bowl with the egg whites in the hot water and swirl the whites with a whisk to warm them for a few minutes.
- Add the cream of tartar and salt to the egg whites. Using a mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy. Increase the speed to high and add the sugar a little at a time, beating until stiff, glossy peaks form. Beat in the vanilla. Sift the cocoa over the meringue. Sprinkle the chocolate and hazelnuts over the meringue. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the cocoa, chocolate, and hazelnuts. Drop tablespoonfuls of the meringue onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them apart. You can also pipe the meringues onto the baking sheets using a pastry bag and a wide, plain tip.
- Bake for 3 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 300°F. Bake until the meringues are puffed and look dry on the outside, about 20 minutes. Turn off the oven, prop it open, and let the meringues dry out slightly and cool completely, about 1 hour.