Not That Cookie, The Other Cookie!

Happy Accidents:

A kid left a cup of juice out on the porch one frigid night.  The next morning, the juice had frozen solid.

The kid (not my Kid) had just invented popsicles!

Dr. Alexander Fleming mishandled one of his Petri dishes and gets a fungal growth in it.  Before tossing it, he notices the fungus has halted the growth of the staphylococcus bacteria in the dish. 

The name of that fungus?  Penicillin!

In 1947 two Bedouin shepherds in Qumran chased a wayward goat into a cave overlooking the Dead Sea.  Inside was a cache of ancient clay pots filled with blackened parchment.

Those shepherds had just discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls!

I decide to rework the dog biscuits I make Crowley into a pumpkin/peanut butter spice cookies for humans.  I planned to take them to a cookie swap at my local library.

The result?  A horrific disaster!

I racked my brain for something that would be quick, and for which I had all the ingredients.  I always have the components for meringues and had chips leftover from a batch of brownies. 

Chocolate Chip Meringues

4 large egg whites

½ teaspoon cream of tartar

1 cup sugar

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ of 10 oz bag of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

*The most important thing about meringues is to get them and keep them crispy.  When you take them out of the oven, they won’t be totally set.  Once they’re cooled completely, they should be totally crispy throughout.

If you cook these on a really humid or rainy day, they will likely never completely dry out.

You can also omit or change the chips, flavor with a different extract, or add cocoa or espresso powder while mixing.

For Thanksgiving, flavor with cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, or Chinese 5-spice powder, and paint the pastry bag with gel food coloring stripes of fall colors, then when piped, they’ll be colorful and festive.

For Christmas, try peppermint extract and paint the pastry bag red & green.

Preheat oven to 225, and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Place egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Beat on medium until they lighten in color and just begin to increase in size.  Slowly add cream of tartar.

When they turn white, slowly add the sugar a tablespoon at a time.  Turn off mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

When all the sugar has been added, slowly add salt, then vanilla.  Beat until glossy, stiff peaks form.  Very gently, fold in the chocolate chips.

Use a large pastry tip and a zip-top bag (or, if you don’t have a pastry tip, just cut about 1/2 inch off one corner of bag). Fill bag with half the meringue and pipe out onto parchment paper into circles of about 2 inches wide.

Place oven racks close to center and put one cookie sheet on each rack.  Bake for 30 minutes then rotate sheets to the other rack and spin 180 degrees.  Bake 30 minutes more.  Turn off oven and let meringues sit in oven for one hour.  Place parchment with meringues onto cooling rack for 10-15 minutes or until completely cool and crispy throughout.

Store in airtight container.  Silica gel barrels, like from pill bottles will help keep moisture from making the cookies lose their crispiness.

Makes approxamately 36 cookies.

The happy accident part?  Turns out, my favorite librarian and host of the cookie swap had just been diagnosed with celiac disease.  Even if the pumpkin/peanut butter cookies hadn’t been an abomination, she couldn’t have eaten them—she can’t eat gluten anymore.

Thanks for your time.

Contact debbie at d@bullcity.mom.

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