To prepare meringues, cover a baking sheet with parchment paper; secure to baking sheet with masking tape.
Beat egg whites with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and salt; beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form (do not overbeat). Gently fold in almond extract and chopped chocolate. Drop batter by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet. Bake at 200° for 2 hours or until dry. (Meringues are done when the surface is dry and meringues can be removed from paper without sticking to fingers.) Turn oven off; leave meringues in oven 1 hour or until cool and crisp. Remove from oven; carefully remove meringues from paper. Cool completely on wire rack.
To prepare glaze, place semisweet chocolate chips in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM (50% power) 30 seconds or until melted, stirring until smooth. Dip half of each meringue in chocolate. Place on wire rack to dry. Store in an airtight container.
When preparing these cookies, be careful not to overbeat the egg whites; properly stiff peaks will have the consistency of marshmallow cream.
I have tried many meringue cookie recipes, usually the "forgotten" recepies, and this is the best. As with any meringue, the key is to let it sit and cool before moving or eating. When I made this recipe, I did snitch one after it had cooled in the oven - it was not yet completely cold - and it did scrunch into a chewy, delicious chunk of sugar. Better to wait until VERY cool. I don't always coat with the chocolate, but I do like the way the chopped chocolate is distributed througout the cookie. I find that it doesn't flatten out as in the picture unless you make it that shape when you drop the cookies on the sheet. Very special.
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