I first saw these Italian Meringue Cookies (translation: Ugly But Good) in a Weight Watchers Magazine, many years ago.
I finally made Mario Batali’s version from Foodnetwork.com—my go-to recipe resource—and they were simply divine. And the best part is they make a fantastic Passover Dessert and are low points to boot! (Weight Watchers PointsPlus value coming soon.)
I’m not usually a fan of meringues, but these light, crispy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside, nutty puffs are delicious.
I think the name is misleading because they are actually quite cute!
The perfect sweet treat following a heavy holiday meal. In my humble opinion, most Passover Desserts are not worthy; not of the time to make them nor the calories to eat them! Since no flour or leavening agents are permitted, many recipes substitute Matzo Meal for flour. The best options are recipes that naturally don’t contain flour—like Flourless Cheesecake. And these cookies!
Enjoy! Let me know how you like them.
How to Whip Egg Whites
Make sure there are no traces of fat in the whites themselves or on the equipment. (no yolk)
Egg whites should be at room temperature when whipped, but are easier to separate while still cold. (Let rest 10 – 15 minutes after separating.)
Begin whipping at a slow to moderate speed, until the whites loosen and become foamy.
Add sugar gradually with mixer on moderate speed, then cinnamon, salt and vanilla, and increase speed to high.
As more air is beaten into the whites, the texture becomes very smooth and the foam thickens enough to mound slightly. When you see the whisk start to leave track marks in the egg whites you are at the “soft peak” stage; the foam is still very glossy and moist, and when you pull the whisk out of the bowl and turn it upright, the whites slump over to one side in rounded peaks.
As you continue to whip egg whites, they reach the “medium peak” stage.
You will see distinct tracks left by the whisk or beater as you whip. The peaks formed when the whisk is lifted retain their shape longer, but are still glossy and smooth.
This is the ideal stage for foams to be folded into batters.
Maria Batali’s recipe calls for butter and sugar for greasing the cookie sheet, but I find it easier to just use parchment paper instead; and this makes the cookies non-dairy or pareve.
I forgot what a huge quantity of cookies this recipe makes, and had to run out to pick up my toddler from preschool right in the middle of batches! Even after sitting out on the counter for almost an hour, the cookies baked up perfectly.
- 1 pound (16-oz) sliced almonds, lightly toasted
- 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 7 large egg whites
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- large pinch of salt
- To bake two trays at once, set the oven shelves above and below the middle and preheat oven to 300 degrees F. (For one tray set shelf back in the centre of the oven.); Line 4 - 5 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, begin whisking the eggs on slow to moderate speed, until the whites loosen and become foamy/frothy. Once the egg whites are foamy, begin slowly adding the sugar to the mixture, then salt and cinnamon, then the vanilla. Continue beating on high until the eggs form glossy, medium-hard peaks (see notes below).
- Use a spatula to gently fold in the almonds; sprinkle about 1/4 of the almonds gently over the top and fold in, repeat until all are just incorporated.
- Using a small cookie scoop (or tablespoon), gently dollop the cookie mixture onto the prepared baking pans, leaving a 1-inch space around the individual cookies on all sides; 20 - 24 cookies per baking sheet.
- Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, rotating baking sheets and switching shelves halfway. Remove the cookies from the oven and turn the oven to 250 degrees F. When the oven comes to temperature, place the cookies back in the oven and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and after two minutes transfer parchment to wire racks and allow to cool completely.
- I use Trader Joe's Unsalted Dry Toasted Sliced Almonds
- Next time I will try 2 1/4 cups sugar because they're a little sweet
- Separate the eggs while cold and then leave out 10 - 15 minutes so easier to work with