Meringue creates a lighter take on holiday cookies

Associated Press Published: November 12, 2012
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CHOCOLATE-DIPPED COCONUT MERINGUE DROPS

Start to finish: 55 minutes (30 minutes active)

Makes 5 dozen

1 cup dried cranberries

2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

4 large egg whites, room temperature

Pinch of salt

Pinch of cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sugar

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Heat the oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray and dust with flour, shaking off the excess.

In a food processor, pulse the cranberries until finely chopped. Set aside.

Spread the coconut on a third baking sheet or in a roasting pan. Bake on the oven's middle shelf until golden, about 5 minutes. Let cool. Reduce the oven to 275 F.

Once the coconut has cooled, in a medium bowl combine it with the cranberries.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites with the salt, cream of tartar and vanilla until they form soft peaks. Add the sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold in the coconut cranberry mixture. Drop rounded tablespoons of the batter, 1 inch apart, on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until the meringue drops are beige (they will be soft at the center). Put the sheet pans on cooling racks and let the meringue drops cool completely.

Bring a small saucepan of water to a gentle simmer. Set a larger stainless bowl over the saucepan, then add the chocolate. Heat the chocolate, stirring occasionally, until melted. One at a time, dip the bottoms of the cookies into the chocolate, then set chocolate side up on parchment to cool. To set the chocolate faster, the cookies can be refrigerated.

Store the cookies in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Nutrition information per cookie: 50 calories; 25 calories from fat (50 percent of total calories); 3 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 7 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 1 g protein; 10 mg sodium.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Sara Moulton was executive chef at Gourmet magazine for nearly 25 years, and spent a decade hosting several Food Network shows. She currently stars in public television's "Sara's Weeknight Meals" and has written three cookbooks, including "Sara Moulton's Everyday Family Dinners."