Imagine what happens when a light and airy meringue meets a chewy macaroon and is embellished with cacao, fruit and nuts … The result is this crisp and light, yet dense and chewy cookie full of flavourful surprises. Introducing Chocolate, Cherry & Pistachio Macaroon Meringues.
I owe the inspiration for this recipe to my friend Charmian Christie, aka The Messy Baker, and her recipe for Cherry & Lemon Macaroon Meringues, which I wrote about here. That recipe combines two of my favourite things: meringues and macaroons. I’ve been dreaming of taking these cookies in a different flavour direction, starting with a chocolate base. From there I jumped to sour cherries and pistachios as a fruit and nut combination that would marry well with the richness of cacao.
I’ve also tinkered under the hood a bit with the core part of the recipe so it better suits my cooking style. By which I mean these are even faster to make and, more important, therefore ready to eat sooner.
Can We Talk Coconut and Sour Cherries?
Before we get to the recipe, let’s talk about two of the key ingredients here. The first is the coconut. I make a point of buying unsweetened coconut. I like to control the level of sweetness in my recipes and let’s face it, commercially sweetened coconut can be cloying. In recent years I’ve only been able to find unsweetened shredded coconut that’s been finely chopped, but I much prefer the complex architectural tangles that longer strands of coconut make.
Recently I visited Karpos Dry Nuts and Fruits here in London and I’m so glad I did. (Just to be clear, this is not a sponsored post; I’m just sharing information about someplace I like to shop for others in the London area). I’m impressed by the quality of the nuts they carefully source and then roast, as well as by other baking ingredients I’ve bought there. The coconut, pistachios and dried sour cherries that I used in this recipe all came from Karpos. I was delighted to see that they carry unsweetened coconut in the longer strands that I prefer. Yes, a little thing like that makes a big difference to a recipe. In this case, the coconut tangles raise the cookies higher and offer a more pleasing texture than the finely chopped version.
Dried sour cherries are a premium ingredient in my pantry, and at Karpos they carry unsweetened cherries, which can be hard to find. That flavour! The tart bursts of cherry flavour in these macaroon meringues are like little gifts for your palate.
Chocolate, Cherry & Pistachio Macaroon Meringues: The Verdict
It took me two tries to develop this recipe and it’s received the seal of approval from two of my stitching groups. Yes, nobody knows sweet treats like women who wield knitting needles and other pointy things to make intricate, beautiful creations. And, they give me honest feedback.
So, I can honestly say that this is a recipe you need to try!
Let’s Get Baking!
Crisp yet chewy, tart yet earthy, and chocolate ... what more could you want in a cookie? Part macaroon, part meringue and all delicious ... you'll want to keep this recipe in your standard rotation!
Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Line two baking trays with parchment paper.
Notes: Ensure your mixing bowl and beaters are impeccably clean and grease-free; you can wipe them with a bit of lemon juice or vinegar to be on the safe side. This helps ensure that the meringue portion of the recipe will achieve the desired volume and stiffness. Sometimes even though your bowl and beaters are absolutely clean, weather conditions like humidity can affect the outcome of meringue. Mine didn't achieve the lofty heights I was hoping for, but because this recipe is part macaroon (i.e., heavier than a meringue), that wasn't an issue.
- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 cup cane sugar
- 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 2 tbsp cacao powder or use cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup dried sour cherries coarsely chopped (e.g., halved)
- 1/2 cup whole pistachios
- 1-1/2 cups long shredded unsweetened coconut
Using a hand mixer or stand mixer whisk the eggs whites and cane sugar together until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is starting to get light and foamy. Sprinkle the cream of tartar, salt and almond extract over the top and continue to beat until the egg mixture is glossy and almost forms stiff peaks. Sprinkle the cacao powder over top and continue to beat until the stiff peaks stage. (As per the note above, if you don't quite achieve stiff peaks, not to worry.)
Add the cherries, pistachios and coconut to the egg mixture and fold in using a large spatula.
Drop the batter onto the prepared baking trays in generous, heaping tablespoon dollops, about 2 inches apart. Place the trays in the oven and reduce the heat to 225ºF. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the macaroon meringues are crisp and dry on the outside, but still moist and chewy inside. Cool on the baking trays for 10 minutes or so, then remove them to racks to finish cooling.