Charoset-Inspired Meringue Cookies
Hi, everyone!! Passover is fast approaching, and if you are anything like me, you are dreading Passover Madness (that’s when you’ve been keeping kosher for Passover totally fine for four or five days and suddenly you’re furious at everyone and everything in your life).
Things have gotten easier since the ban on eating kitniyot during Passover was lifted in 2015 (this is the ashkenazi custom of refraining from not only the products of the five grains but also other grains and legumes) which has helped a lot since I’m a vegetarian and not eating legumes meant I was cutting out most of my protein sources for eight days.
The other struggle during the holiday, besides nutrition, is finding a good dessert without flour or any leavening agents. One of the simplest, highest-payoff-to-amount-of-work KFP desserts is meringue cookies!
These are inspired by the flavors in charoset, which I love. I’m not totally sure how popular charoset is overall, and it’s definitely not something I would eat any other time of the year but man, during the seder I cannot wait for charoset time to hit.
You can definitely increase or decrease a flavor here based on your preference. The base recipe is a compilation from a few different sources, including my fave, Baking with Julia. There is a lot of down time while these bake, so you can catch up on The CW’s Riverdale or Jane the Virgin.
These are tangy, sweet, crisp, and they melt in your mouth.
4 egg whites
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (this also works as a stabilizer, since you’re not using cream of tartar)
1 cup sugar
½ cup walnuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons apple cider/juice/extract
Tip: Get everything together before you start these! The time goes pretty quickly once you’re working.
First, separate your egg whites into a bowl. Make sure not to have any yolk or shell mixed in by accident. Pour all of them into stand mixer bowl, then set aside for at least 30 minutes while they come to room temperature.
In the meantime, preheat your oven to 175° degrees.
Toast your walnuts. I use the toaster oven set on “toast” for this, but to do it in the oven, preheat to 350° degrees (make sure to set it back down to 175 before you bake your meringues). Put the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast for just a few minutes, checking continuously, until they are browned and fragrant. Take walnuts out of the oven and let cool before finely chopping and setting aside.
Get all of your materials together: line baking sheets with parchment paper, pre-measure 1 cup of sugar.
If you are using a piping bag, assemble the bag and nozzle. This is another thing I cannot possibly describe efficiently, but decorating kits tend to have very comprehensive directions. You can also create your own piping bag by cutting the corner off a ziplock bag, which is also very effective! And if you don’t care how fancy they look- just get a spoon to scoop them out.
Time to actually get started!
Add the pinch of salt and a teaspoon of lemon juice to your egg whites. Using your whisk attachment, set stand mixer to medium high. The egg whites will froth up almost immediately, which is deeply satisfying to watch. Keep a close eye on your mixer, beating until the egg whites form soft peaks. You can test for soft peaks by lifting the whisk slightly out of the egg white mixture. If the egg whites come up, or form a peak, but start to droop back downwards, they are done. This is as opposed to stiff peaks, which hold up perfectly on their own.
Add the vanilla and apple cider, and whisk for another minute.
Start adding in sugar. While the mixer is still set to medium high, very slowly pour in the majority of the sugar, holding some (up to ¼ cup) back. Once the sugar is all incorporated, keep beating on high for about 4 minutes, until the mixture is holding stiff peaks.
In the meantime, pour your cinnamon into the remaining sugar. Pour this combination into the mixing bowl and beat on high for about another 2 minutes. The mixture should be very shiny.
Pour your chopped walnuts into the meringue and fold in very gently using a spatula.
Your dough is done! It’s so easy!
If you are using a piping bag, spoon the mixture into your piping bag. Squeeze gently to swirl dough into a circle with a point on top. If you are using a spoon, just spoon an equal amount of the meringue mixture for each cookie. I fit about 16 on a baking sheet.
Bake for about an hour, checking after 45 minutes to see if the cookies feel crisp on the outside. If they start to brown, either turn down the oven or just take them out.
Transfer immediately to a plate or cooling sheet, but honestly, these cool down pretty much immediately regardless of where you place them.
Eat and enjoy!! I hope these are an easy and fun dessert to try out, and I will be back with more Passover recipes.
Love Lisa's recipes? Let us know what you would like to see next here.