It's that time of the year for holiday baking again (wait a minute, isn't that the title of a fabulous holiday show--full disclosure, I am the author of said show, "That Time of the Year"--shameless plug, sorry!) and these little light-as-air but full of rich peanut flavor meringues, would be a great addition to any holiday cookie tin!
Peanut cookies are not exactly what you may think of for the holidays and I promise you'll see some more traditional holiday choices here, but you should really consider making these for your next holiday party or cookie giveaway. Everyone who tried them loved them and appreciated their unique texture and flavor! Plus they're gluten-free so if you can get past any peanut allergy issues, you're home free. And they're easy to make and only require a few simple ingredients.
You start by beating together egg whites and cream of tartar. This is what gives the cookies their light airy texture. Then you slowly add in the sugar and finally you fold in the peanut butter. Cool, huh? Like something you'd see in a modern art museum!
Then you just drop the cookies (or pipe them if you have that talent) onto lined cookie sheets and sprinkle them with some chopped peanuts
They do take a while to bake, but that leaves you with plenty of time to get some other chores done (I'm a big fan of multi-tasking!) and at last, you are rewarded with a crunchy, slightly chewy cookie that will have you reaching for seconds before you've even finished the first--I know from experience! Look at all that airiness inside--
If you like peanut butter and want something a little different for the holidays, give these meringues a try and if you want to see a holiday show that's a bit of spin on the traditional holiday fare, take a look at my show's website, www.thattimeoftheyear.com
Peanut Butter Meringues
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
Prep Time: 10-12 minutes: Bake Time: 1 1/2 hours
- 3 egg whites, room temperature
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup chunky or smooth natural peanut butter (make sure you stir it well before using)
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped salted peanuts
1. Make sure racks are in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 200ºF. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium high speed (use high speed if it's not a stand mixer) until the egg whites are creamy white and hold a soft shape when you lift the beaters. Then continuing on medium-high speed, slowly add the sugar by spoonfuls until the whites are very stiff. This should take about 2 minutes total time.
3. Remove the bowl from the mixer and slowly drop small spoonfuls of peanut butter over the batter. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold in the peanut butter till it's mostly incorporated. It's ok if there are a few streaks left--you don't want to overfold and deflate the cookies.
4. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto the prepared sheets, about 1 1/2 inches apart and sprinkle each cookie with a bit of the chopped nuts. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, rotating the sheets top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking time. Remove one meringue and let it cool for a bit to test if they are done. If it's totally crisp and dry, turn off the heat and let the cookies cool in the oven. If it still seems soft or chewy, bake for another 15-20 minutes and retest--all ovens are different and some don't cook as efficiently at such a low temperature.
5. Store the meringues in an airtight container as soon as they cool, so that they don't get soggy. They last for at least 2 weeks.
Note: Recipe adapted from Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy by Alice Medrich