Patricia Buckholz calls these ethereal cookies "forgotten meringues" because she turns off her oven and leaves them there to cool overnight.
2 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup finely chopped semisweet chocolate (6 oz.) or miniature semisweet chocolate chips
How to Make It
In a large bowl, with a mixer on high speed, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until thick and foamy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until mixture holds stiff, shiny peaks.
With a spatula, gently stir in almond extract and chopped chocolate. Spoon 1/2-tablespoon portions into 1-inch-wide mounds (or with a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain or star tip, pipe 1-inch-wide mounds) about 1 inch apart onto cooking parchment - lined 12- by 15-inch baking sheets.
Bake meringues in a 275° regular or convection oven until dry and firm to touch on the outside and almost dry inside (break one open to test), 30 to 35 minutes; if baking two sheets at once in one oven, switch their positions halfway through baking. Let cool for 5 minutes on sheets, then slide a spatula underneath meringues and transfer to racks to cool completely.
These have been a family favorite for at least 40 years. I usually substitute peppermint extract for the almond, and then use mint flavored chocolate chips. They're great for bake sales since you can make them at night, go to bed and they're ready in the morning.
I actually got this recipe over 30 years ago from an aunt-in-law who had been making them "forever". I never made them into "stars" - only into globs, Easter/dinosaur eggs for my grandson and ghost at Halloween. They never last long - cause they are soo good they get eaten up quickly. One thing I have found is they are not a good summer cookie when there is alot of humidity - they're chewy instead of melting in your mouth.
To separate the egg white and yolk just break the egg in half, crosswise, and then catch the yolk in first one half and then the other, letting the white drip into a bowl. This recipe is pretty fool proof, makes a light cookie, and can be made with or without the chips. You can substitute finely chopped nuts if desired.