Light, bumpy, nutty and completely higgledy-piggledy-shaped, these cratered meringue nuggets are just the cookies to reach for with your last coffee of the afternoon or your last spoonful of ice cream at night. They are featherweight but packed with flavor, and I love the way they disappear in your mouth — quickly, so quickly and fizzily that if they didn't have nuts, you'd think you were eating espresso Pop Rocks.
- 1 cup blanched almonds (whole, sliced or slivered), coarsely chopped
- 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1. Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
2. Spread the chopped almonds and walnuts out on one of the baking sheets and toast the nuts in the oven. They will need 10 minutes or less to turn golden brown, so keep a close eye on them and stir them at least twice. When the nuts are toasted, remove them — with the liner — from the baking sheet and cool the sheet. Transfer the nuts to a plate, then reline the sheet and use it to bake the cookies.
3. Put all the ingredients, including the nuts, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Set it over medium heat and stir constantly with a silicone or wooden spatula until the ingredients are just warm to the touch. Remove from the heat.
4. Drop the batter by slightly rounded teaspoonfuls onto the baking sheets, leaving about an inch of space between the mounds.
5. Bake the cookies for about 20 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. When properly baked, the cookies will be puffed, cratered, shiny and dry. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them remain on the sheets for 5 minutes before gently prying them from the liners and transferring them to racks to cool to room temperature.
Storing: Kept in a cool, dry place at room temperature (they should never be refrigerated), the cookies will hold up for about 3 days. As with all meringues, humidity will make them go soggy and sticky.