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It’s a happy thing when practicality and yumminess overlap in the kitchen. That’s the case with this recipe, born of the need to make a gluten-free dessert for dear friends, and helped along by the glut of egg whites in my freezer as a result of making pastry cream the week before. These homemade meringues are sweet, chewy little clouds, flavored with vanilla bean and mini-chocolate chips. They are simple, low-fat, and delicious, and that’s always a winning combo in my book.

I shaped mine with the help of an ice-cream scoop because I love the look of rows of brilliant white puffs, dotted with chocolate chips and sprinkles. However, if you’re feeling fancy, these can also be piped out of a large decorating tip into star shapes or little peaked mounds. They go beautifully with the tartness of summer berries, or served alongside coffee. They’re so easy to make, they almost qualify as an Easy-Peasy Friday recipe, and they are certainly a wonderful friend to have along for the weekend.

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Chocolate Chip Meringues
makes twenty-four 2″-wide meringues

4 large egg whites
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla bean paste or real vanilla extract
2 c. semisweet mini-chocolate chips
chocolate sprinkles (optional)

Oven 200F. In a large mixing bowl, combine the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt. Beat until soft peaks begin to form, then gradually add the sugar. Beat several minutes more, until mixture is thick and glossy, adding the vanilla at the end. Stir in the mini-chocolate chips with a silicone spatula.

Using a an ice cream/cookie dough scoop that holds 2-1/2 tablespoons, scoop out mounds of meringue about two inches apart on to parchment-lined baking sheet. Add sprinkles to the tops as desired. Bake for two hours at 200F, until outside of cookies is firm and centers are chewy marshmallow-like consistency. Alternately, pipe meringues into 1-1/2″-wide stars or mounds and bake at 200F for 1-1/2 hours.

Cool completely on baking sheets, then transfer to airtight container and store at room temperature.

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