Meringues are low in calories and made essentially of just protein rich egg whites and sugar, which make them a healthy holiday cookie alternative. For a decadent heart-healthy boost, drizzle the finished meringues with melted dark chocolate.
- ½ cup finely chopped hazelnuts
- 4 large eggs whites, room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- Pinch of salt
- ½ pound sifted powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 ounces dark chocolate, melted (optional)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet, and bake for 10 to 20 minutes, checking frequently, until fragrant and light golden brown. Set aside.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt on high speed. Once soft peaks begin to form, gradually add powdered sugar while mixer continues to whisk on high.
Once stiff peaks have formed, remove bowl from mixer and gently fold in vanilla and hazelnuts until combined.
Drop meringues by rounded tablespoon onto parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving about an inch between cookies. Meringues can also be piped onto baking sheet, using a pastry bag fitted with the tip of your choice.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes, rotating once. Meringues are done when they are dry to the touch and release easily from parchment. Let stand until completely cooled. Drizzle with melted dark chocolate, if desired.