A simple crunch cookie your kids can make!
I recently found myself with some leftover egg whites from an ice cream project I did – which you can find on my other blog My Herbal Roots. So, I wanted to try an idea that had been swirling around in my head (pun intended; they’re great fun!).
Years ago, while teaching classes at my culinary center in Brooklyn, we attempted to flavor French meringue cookies with different fresh ingredients. We knew that it was difficult, but we felt that it could be done if we had the right texture and consistency. To a certain extent, we were right; however, it is more true that dried powders work best for flavoring meringue because the meringue will fall apart if you add something with too much moisture. It’s still possible, though, especially with thick paste like fresh sauces. We cooked down blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, and many other items until they were a thick, fresh tasting pastes and added those to the meringue batter. We got pretty good results.
When we tried mangoes, they ended up losing a lot of the fresh flavor and got a little too jammy to mix in. So, the idea to swirl the mango atop the meringue just before baking was born… a long, long ago.
The idea worked, and the result was an incredibly crunchy meringue cookie with soft swirls of fresh Ataulfo mango. It makes for a heavenly bite that’s super easy to make, and one that I think can be a fun project for kids. If you are not making ice cream with the yolks, that mango curd is a great option. Try making mango curd and tartlets or bars…
Ataulfo Swirl Meringue Cookies
Makes 24 tiny cookies
You will see that a lot of meringue cookie recipes call for super fine sugar. This basically keeps the consistency of the cookie smoother, but super fine sugar is not something I personally keep on hand. Some people grind regular sugar up using a spice grinder. I enjoy the tiny bit of texture regular sugar lends to these cookies, and I don’t find the end result at all disappointing enough to make it more difficult. If you want them really sweet, use ¾ cup sugar. Otherwise, use ½ cup.
Using a pastry bag is a super easy method, especially to get uniform cookies, BUT it isn’t necessary. You can easily use a little spoon.
½ cup chopped ripe Ataulfo mangoes
5 egg whites
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar (optional)
½ -¾ cup sugar
Preheat the oven to 225°F.
Blend up the mangoes into a super smooth puree and set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy using a hand mixer (or a stand mixer). Once frothy, add the vanilla and cream of tartar and continue to beat on medium high speed until soft peaks form. Add a few tablespoons of sugar at a time and continue to beat at the same speed. Every 20 seconds add more sugar and continue to beat until all the sugar is added. Beat the meringue about a total of 5-6 minutes until glossy and stiff peaks are formed. If you begin to overbeat the shine will start to dissipate, so keep it glossy!
If you are using a pastry bag, fit it with a large star tip and pipe 24 1-inch cookies out onto lined baking sheets. If you are using a spoon, just spoon it out. It can help to trace out 1-inch circles if you are a perfectionist. Make sure to leave about ¾ of an inch between each cookie.
Using a little tiny spoon, spoon some Ataulfo puree on top of each cookie one at a time. Using a toothpick, swirl the Ataulfo around in a circular motion. You don’t want to overmix the puree or push it deep into the meringue; you simply want to swirl some over the top portion.
Place in the oven and bake for 2 hours. Turn off the oven, leaving the cookies inside until the oven and the cookies are totally cooled about another hour.
Remove and enjoy!