Gluten Free Chocolate Cherry Cloud Cookies
It is December (how did that happen?) and while that can mean many things to many people, for me it means coming up with lots of gluten free cookie recipes! I like to give out cookies this time of year and I like to have them on hand for people who stop by during the Holidays. And doesn’t it kind of go without saying that, “I like to eat cookies?”
For some reason I always associate the flavors of chocolate and cherries with Christmastime. Maybe it is because my Dad would always buy those chocolate covered cherries this time of year. So I came up with this recipe with Dad in mind – chocolate meringues with a sweet cherry inside. They are crisp on the outside, a bit marshmallowy inside and have a secret surprise hidden at the heart – a maraschino cherry. Along with being naturally gluten free they are also dairy free and, if you worry about such things, fat free!
The way to get the very best meringues is to use egg whites that are room temperature but it is much easier to separate cold eggs so I suggest you separate your eggs first and let them sit while you get out all the rest of your ingredients, prepare the pans and dry up your cherries.
You can serve these cookies two ways – the first (and best in my opinion) is to bake them for a couple hours at low temp (275) then turn off the oven and let them sit for another 20 minutes – no peeking! But as I discovered (due to a very impatient Father who couldn’t wait for his chocolate-cherry fix) you can bake for 30 minutes in a 300 degree oven and eat. They will be a lot less crispy and much more marshmallowy. Which way is better is in hot debate around here.
So let’s hear it for December and for cookies – YAY!!!
- 24 maraschino cherries
- 3 large egg whites at room temperature
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
If the maraschino cherries have stems, remove them. Dry them well with paper towels and let sit until ready to use.
Combine the egg whites with the cream of tartar, salt and vanilla in a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Start the mixer on low then increase the speed to high. When the egg whites are very foamy, add the sugar gradually while the machine is running. Continue to beat the egg whites until they form stiff, glossy peaks - about 5 minutes. Sift in the cocoa powder, fold gently to get them mixed in a little then mix on high speed with the mixer for a few more seconds until the cocoa powder is incorporated. You may have to scrape the side of the bowl a time or two.
Spoon 12 heaping tablespoons of the egg white mixture onto each prepared pan (a small #60 ice cream scoop works really well for this). Gently press a cherry into each mound of egg whites. Top with about a teaspoon of egg whites and, using an offset spatula or your fingers, seal the two meringue dollops together.
Bake for 2 hours, turn off the oven and let the cookies sit for 20 minutes - do not open the oven door. Peel the cookies off the parchment or silicone mats and serve. The cookies are best served within 24 hours, especially if you live in a humid climate. To store, put in an air proof container and keep at room temperature.
Alternately you can bake the cookies for 30 minutes at 300 degrees, let cool on a baking sheet and serve. They won’t really be crispy, but are still delicious.
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