Warning: do NOT attempt this cookie if you’ve never made a meringue before!
I first attempted to make a mint chocolate chip meringue like six months ago. The result?
Not quite the puffed up meringue that we’ve all grown to love. So why were they so deflated? Mint extract. The bane of my meringue-making existence (that and cocoa powder). I didn’t know the reason behind it at the time, but within seconds of adding the mint extract to my egg whites, the bowl went from containing beautifully whipped egg whites to a bubbly soup-type mixture.
Despite their pathetic appearance, those cookies tasted good! But I never bothered to try making them again, until last week that is. It was the day after I made the coconut flavored ones, and I was inspired to try working with the mint extract again.
The mixture started deflating as soon as I added the extract (it’s almost like you’re adding acid), but it wasn’t anywhere close to as bad as it was the first time, for three reasons:
- I didn’t use as much extract;
- I drizzled the extract down the side of the mixing bowl; and
- I didn’t waste any time putting them in the oven. (Last time after adding the extract I still had to mix in the chocolate chips.)
I was really pleased with the way they came out. I sprinkled some cocoa powder on top after I took them out of the oven, and when I finally tasted one at work the next day I was in heaven – more than adequate to satisfy a mint-chocolate craving.
The cookie definitely wasn’t perfect. Aside from the air bubbles, the mint wasn’t evenly distributed. You might get a bite that tasted like toothpaste, and then another bite that had no mint at all. So I tried again, this time getting the egg whites super stiff before adding the extract and making bigger cookies so I wouldn’t waste any time. I also added some food coloring to the mix.
They came out sooo good! Still a little deflated compared to the normal ones, but delicious nonetheless. And the food coloring was an awesome touch.
After I made that batch I started doing research (a.k.a. Google) to learn WHY the mint extract was making the meringue cookie deflate. I did a lot of reading before I finally found out why: Peppermint extract contains OIL! Doh! When you’re making meringue cookies, mixing them with oils (and fats) is a huge no-no – they’ll deflate every time. I had never thought to see what the mint extract was made of, but this blogger happened to write about it when describing her own experience making mint meringues. So now I know. And now you do too.
Sugar-free Mint Chocolate Meringues
- 1/2 cup liquid egg whites (or the equivalent, which is three egg whites)
- 2 Tbs. Truvia
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon mint extract
- Green food coloring – 6 or 7 drops
1. Place the liquid egg whites into a metal bowl and let them warm up to at least room temperature. (I place the bowl on the oven while the oven is pre-heating so the egg whites get even warmer.) This step is crucial.
2. Preheat the oven to 215 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
4. Beat the eggwhites for a few minutes, until they start to stiffen.
5. Slowly add in the Cream of Tartar while continuing to beat the egg whites.
6. Slowly add in the Truvia while continuing to beat the egg whites.
7. Add the food coloring and mix it well (in my first batch, the cookies had white streaks in them).
The total beat time is 5-10 minutes, depending on the speed setting you use. You’ll know you’re done when you’re able to turn the bowl upside down and nothing falls out.
8. Drizzle the mint extract down the side of the bowl and quickly mix it in. (Obviously I couldn’t take a picture of this, or it would have wasted precious time. This pic is from the coconut meringues.)
9. Use a spoon to dollop the egg whites on to the parchment paper. (Even though this pic only shows 25 cookies, I generally like to make 36. I’ve made this recipe a few times since, and 36 works fine, as long as you do it quickly.)
10. Put the tray in the oven for 25 minutes, then rotate the tray and leave it in for another 22 minutes. (Every minute makes a difference. I like the texture the best at 22 minutes, but you might like them crunchier at 23 or 24 minutes. Feel free to experiment!)
You can sprinkle cocoa powder on top of the cookies at any point after the halfway point. If you do it too soon, it will cause the cookies to deflate a bit, because like I said above, cocoa has fat and fat is a no-no. But if you do it too late, the cocoa powder won’t stick to the cookies. In this batch I did it at the halfway point, and it resulted in cookies that were a little shriveled up. But they were still yummy.
12. When the time is up, turn the oven off but leave the cookies in there for a while, then transfer them to an airtight container. (This is especially important during the summer months when it’s humid. In the winter I usually take the tray out after only 20 minutes and just let them sit on top of the stove, but when it’s warm and humid out I’ll leave them in the oven for like an hour or two.)