Saturday, November 3, 2012

Easy Little Cookies!

I had some fun today making meringues!  They are easy, take few ingredients, and are delicious!  They also happen to be fat free!  Of course, there is the sugar............well, it's a cookie for gosh sakes! ;)
Also, if you saw my previous post about Mexican food, I included a picture of these shortbread cookies and wanted to give you all the recipe for those.  These are such cute little bites, made with shortening instead of butter, but still super delicious with the powdered sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom coating!  Without the powdered sugar, these cookies freeze well.  You can just dust them before serving.  They go perfectly with a cup of coffee! 
Both of these cookies take very few ingredients and just a few minutes to pop in the oven.  The meringues have to bake awhile, but that's just work for the oven!  They are flavored with vanilla and contain chocolate mint chips.  I tinted them green just to make them pretty and "minty", but of course, that's optional.  Meringues are great to make when you want to use up extra egg whites.  I store egg whites in the freezer, then  when I have a lot, I usually make an angel food cake. Now though, I might start making meringues instead! 
Note:  If you live in a humid climate, make meringues on a cool, dry day.  That way they will stay crisp if stored in an airtight container.  They don't stay fresh more than a couple days though, so you have to eat them up!  Oh, well!
1 lb. flour (about 3.5 cups)
1 cup, plus 2 Tbl. shortening (not butter-- makes a difference)
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup rum (dark or light)
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground cardamom
Line some cookie sheets with parchment paper and heat the oven to 350F.
In a stand mixer, mix the flour, sugar, and shortening together.  Add the rum.  The dough will be stiff, but should stick together.  If it's dry, add more rum or water.
Gather the dough into a flat disk, pressing it altogether.   Roll the dough to a thickness of 1/2 inch on a clean, floured tea towel.  A piece of plastic wrap over the top of the dough helps it to roll out without sticking.  Remove the plastic, and cut the dough into shapes with small cookie cutters (ones about 1.5 inch diameter are best).  Place on cookie sheets about 1-inch apart and bake for 12-15 minutes.  Don't underbake.  They take awhile because they're rather thick. 
Allow to cool, then toss the cookies around in a zip lock bag filled with the powdered sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom.  Remove and serve!
2 egg whites
pinch of cream of tartar
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
5-6 oz. mint chocolate chips (I use Andes Mint Chips)
green food coloring (optional)
Heat the oven to 200F and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. 
In a stand mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar together until pretty stiff.  Add the sugar then, a bit at a time, and continue beating into very stiff peaks.  Beat in the vanilla and green food coloring until you like the color.  Rub a little of the meringue between your fingers.  You should not feel any of the grainy sugar.  If you do, keep beating until you don't.
Fold in the chips.  Using two tablespoons, drop dollops of meringue on the prepared cookie sheets.  The dollops can be fairly close together; they don't spread.  Bake both sheets at one time for 1 hour, or until the cookies are completely dry and crisp. 
Store in an airtight container.

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