This Year Will be Different…

Pretty much every autumn I have the same conversation with my mom and/or my sister.

  “We should try some new cookie recipes this Christmas.”

                “Yes, we should! To the internet!” (or cookbook shelf, or Grammy’s recipe box).

We pour over recipes for an hour or two and mentally flag a few we want to try. In December, we make exactly the same cookies for Christmas that we always have. Don’t get me wrong, I cannot imagine December 25th without snickerdoodles, Moravian spice cookies and snowballs.  And, if 2016 has taught us anything it is that change for the sake of change comes with broad and possibly unpredictable consequences.  However, we are talking about cookies, not federal-level politics. The worst consequence is that some not-so-good cookies get fed to the birds.

My family’s typical cookie repertoire is rather spice-heavy, so I decided on this recipe for Peppermint Chewy Cookie Thins. An extra bonus, the author notes in the comments that this makes a fairly small batch, so if they are not well liked there will be few to dispose of.

This is a different kind of cookie in that it gets its lift from an egg white foam instead of baking powder or baking soda.  It is important to remember that you need to hustle when working with an egg white foam.  Have all your equipment and ingredients lined up and ready to go before you turn on the mixer. That foam can deflate with remarkable speed. You also need to use impeccably clean, well rinsed, well dried equipment to whip the egg whites. Any speck of grease, oil, or soap can prevent the foam from forming. Do not let these warnings dissuade you from trying recipes like this, however. Once you can make an egg foam you can create all the angel food cakes, meringues, and soufflés your heart desires!

Also, this recipe uses almond meal instead of wheat flour. As I’ve mentioned before, wheat flour and not-wheat flours behave very differently.  You can try substituting another nut meal for the almond meal, but I would not substitute a grain flour.

I started by mixing the confectioner's sugar with the almond meal.  Like I said...I want to be ready when the egg foam is done.

I started by mixing the confectioner’s sugar with the almond meal. Like I said…I want to be ready when the egg foam is done.

 

It is a good idea to give an extra scrub to the bowl and mixer attachment before you start. I also wiped down the mixer. Remember to rinse twice and dry everything well.

It is a good idea to give an extra scrub to the bowl and mixer attachment before you start. I also wiped down the mixer. Remember to rinse twice and dry everything well.

 

 

Such a big bowl for three little egg whites, but the volume will increase quite a bit with the whipping.

Such a big bowl for three little egg whites, but the volume will increase quite a bit with the whipping.

 

 

The whipping attachment and the granulated sugar physically change the shape of the egg white proteins transforming the runny raw whites into a fluffy foam.

The whipping attachment and the granulated sugar physically change the shape of the egg white proteins transforming the runny raw whites into a fluffy foam.

 

 

Here's the finished foam with the peppermint flavor mixed in. Sorry you can not smell this.

Here’s the finished foam with the peppermint flavor mixed in. Sorry you can not smell this.

 

With the egg foam prepared I gradually folded in the almond meal / confectioner’s sugar mixture. I didn’t have any food coloring, so I left that out. The gloopy mixture was scooped into a zippy top bag.  I snipped the bag’s corner and used it like a pastry bag to make little puddles on the parchment covered cookie sheets. Of course, if you own a pastry bag you can just use that.  The mix was a little hard to control. I imagine it gets easier with practice, though.  I apologize that there are no pictures of the forming of the cookies. It was a two-hand job and I was by myself.

Here is a tray with 4 puddles, pre-cooking.

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Here are the finished chewies, cooling on their parchment paper.

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You really do need to cover your cookie sheets with parchment paper for this recipe. I cannot imagine scraping the chewies off a dry sheet. Remember- egg white foam means NO OIL, so you cannot grease the sheets first.

I gave one of the smaller chewies a try. I was a little worried that they would remind me of toothpaste; I have had that issue with minty confections before. The delicate almond flavor and mix of crisp and chewy in the texture was quite pleasant. I cannot wait for my family to try them. I will let you all know what the overall opinion is.

Traditions are a good thing, especially around important holidays. However, it never hurts to shake things up a little. What is the best (or worst) recipe you ever made in an attempt to get out of a food rut? Share in the comments!