Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

I love meringue! There is something about the sweet sugar paired with the airy texture of the egg whites that I find irresistible. Turn it into a cookie that is crisp on the outside and a little chewy inside and it is like the best part of a toasted marshmallow. A sweet explosion of texture! These meringue cookies are a favorite in my home. They are naturally gluten free and easily dairy free if you use diary-free chocolate chips.

Meringue can be a little a tricky and a few simple techniques will help you succeed. First, you want to add the sugar when the egg whites start to foam. Add it very slowly so you don’t crush the air bubbles. You want to get very stiff peaks. Don’t be tempted to make these cookies big. You want them small to get the maximum crunch on the outside. You will want to bake them low and slow and let them cool in the oven. This is not a recipe for a rainy or super humid day because the moisture in the air will keep them from getting super crisp.

Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies

3 Egg Whites

1/2 teaspoon Cream of Tartar

1 Cup Sugar

1 Cup Chocolate Chips

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl (if using a hand mixer) add the egg whites and cream of tartar. Beat on high speed until foamy. Slowly add the sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. This will take 5-7 minutes. Gently fold in chocolate chips. Using a small cookie scoop or two spoons, form small mounds on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 225 for 90 minutes. Turn off the oven and allow the cookies to cool in the oven for 1-2 hours. Serve. If there are leftovers, keep very tightly sealed for 1-2 days.

Creamy Lemony Hummus

Everyone seems to have a hummus recipe. Some are made from canned beans and some from dried beans. People have different ideas of hummus perfection. My idea of hummus perfection is a super smooth and creamy hummus that has lots of lemon. This hummus is my ideal!

When making hummus, small changes in technique can make huge differences in outcome. For me, the most important technique is to make the hummus with warm beans. The best way to achieve this is to make the hummus with dried beans and mix it immediately after cooking the beans. If you prefer to use canned beans you can warm them in the microwave for a minute or two. It makes a huge difference.

While you are warming the beans, warm the garlic too. It will mellow out the flavors and helps avoid the harshness of raw garlic.

This hummus is best served warm or at room temperature. If you plan to refrigerate it, make it a little thinner because it thickens as it cools. When you serve it, let it come up to room temperature or warm it for a minute in the microwave.

Creamy Lemony Hummus

1 1/4 Cup Dried Garbanzo Beans

8 Cups Water (divided)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons Coarse Sea Salt (divided)

2 Cloves Garlic

1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin

1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

1/2 Cup Tahini

1/2 Cup Lemon Juice

1/4 Cup Olive Oil

Soak the Beans

Place beans in a large saucepan and cover with 4 cups of water. Add baking soda, cover, and let sit for 12-24 hours.

Cook the Beans

After 12-24 hours, drain out the soaking water. Add the soaked beans back to the saucepan and cover the with 4 cups fresh water and add 1 teaspoon of coarse sea salt. With the lid on the saucepan, bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low and cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. You want the beans to be very soft. You are technically over cooking them which is perfect for super creamy hummus.

Blend the Hummus

Remove beans from heat and using a slotted spoon, transfer the hot beans to a food processor. Keep the cooking water in the saucepan, you will need it later.

Place the garlic in a microwave safe dish and heat for 30 seconds. Mince the warmed garlic or press through a garlic press and add to the beans in the food processor.

Process the beans for 1-2 minutes until smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides of the food processor. Add the cumin, cayenne, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and tahini. Process until blended, then add the lemon juice. With processor running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube. Taste the hummus. If it need a little more salt, add it now.

Start the food processor again and slowly add reserved cooking water 1/4 cup at a time until hummus reaches your desired consistency. Remember that it will thicken up as it cools, so it is better to add a little extra cooking water. I usually use 1/2-3/4 cup of the cooking water.

Serve immediately. You can refrigerate this for up to 1 week, but know that it is best served warm or at room temperature.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars

When my kids were little I was in desperate need for some adult interaction. I ended up joining a group of stay-at-home moms who got together once a month to eat and socialize. We all took turns hosting and cooking a modest dinner. My favorite part was always dessert My friend, Jennifer, served chocolate oatmeal bars one evening, and I was hooked! This recipe is adapted from hers. These bars are soft and cakey and me the perfect treat for a crowd.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars

1 Cup Brown Sugar

1/2 Cup Sugar

1 Cup Butter, softened but still cool

2 eggs

1 Tablespoon Milk

1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

1 3/4 Cup White Whole Wheat Flour

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon Salt

2 1/2 Cups Rolled Oats (Oatmeal)

1 (12 – ounce) bag Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (I sometimes use mini chips)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

With a mixer, cream butter and sugars for 1 minute. Add eggs, milk, and vanilla. Mix for 30 seconds.

Add flour to the bowl. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the flour. Mix gently to combine. Add oats and chocolate chips. Mix just to combine.

Spread ingredients into an ungreased 9 x 13 baking pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes until browned on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few dry crumbs.

Allow the bars to cool for at least 10 minutes, then cut into 24 squares. Serve warm. If there are any left over, let them cool completely and store in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.