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Vanilla Bean Chocolate Chip Merengues

(Also known as "Forgotten Cookies")
 
Ingredients:
 
2 egg whites
Pinch of Salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. pure vanilla bean paste (or beans from one vanilla pod)
8 oz. chocolate chips of your choice - a mix of mini and larger morsels works nicely)
 
Method:
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Have a non-greased sheet pan ready - I like to use a Silpat - the merengues just pop right off.
 
In oil-free bowl of a stand mixer, whip egg whites and salt until frothy using the whisk attachment.  Add vanilla beans or vanilla bean paste and whip until incorporated (if you want to color these cookies, add a drop of gel paste at this time).  With mixer running, slowly add the sugar until incorporated, stop and scrape down sides, and re-start - moving to high speed until stiff peaks form.  Merengue will appear thick and glossy and if you dip the whisk in and lift, the peak will hold.
 
Gently fold in chocolate chips with a spatula, taking care not to deflate merengue.  Either spoon merengue into a disposable pastry bag with no tip (just cut the end far enough up to let the chips pass through with the merengue) and pipe dollops onto cookie sheet - or use a spoon to put dollops of merengue on the cookie sheet.  Don't let merengues touch.
 
Place in oven, immediately turn off the oven, and leave the cookies overnight (hence the name Forgotten Cookies).  The next morning they will be baked/dry on the outside and light and airy on the inside.  Store well-wrapped (Ziploc bags work well) but do not refrigerate.  Humidity is not the friend of a merengue.
 
 
 
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