Monday, May 2, 2011

Xylitol, Part 2

I'm thinking that I should make meringues more often. They're naturally gluten free, low in fat, and relatively easy to make. I realize most meringue recipes call for quite a lot of sugar, so I decided to try making these Cocoa Meringue Kisses with Xylitol instead. For the sake of comparison, I also made the recipe with sugar. The results were rather interesting. Let me just point out that the original recipe tells you to dust the finished cookies with powdered sugar. I never got around to doing that. The cookies are more than sweet enough already, and that would have added sugar when I'm trying to make these sugar free.

3 large (1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon) egg whites
1/2 cup Xylitol
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
pinch salt (not pictured, but I added it)
First, preheat your oven to 300 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift the cocoa powder, 1/4 cup of the Xylitol, and and salt into a small bowl. As you can see, the Xylitol crystals were too big to filter through my sieve, so I ended up combining everything well with a whisk.
Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks start to form, then gradually add in the remaining Xylitol. Beat until the mixture forms medium-firm peaks.
Slowly add the cocoa mixture, beating until stiff and glossy. I had no trouble with this step when using the Xylitol, despite the fact that I could tell the Xylitol wasn't really dissolving. But for some strange reason, when I reached this step using sugar, my meringue got pretty dang glossy, but it didn't firm up any more--in fact, it started looking slightly deflated so I quit mixing it. 
Drop meringues onto prepared cookie sheets, spacing cookies an inch apart. I piped mine with a tip #1M in the corner of a gallon ziploc bag.


I used a tall plastic tumbler to hold the bag open for me.
Bake 25-40 minutes depending on how chewy/crisp you want them to be, and then allow them to cool completely. Here you can see the difference. The cookies made with sugar are on the left, and the ones made with Xylitol are on the right. Remember in my previous post how I said that Xylitol has a tendency to dry everything out? Well, this is very noticeable with this recipe.
When made with sugar, these cookies are meant to be eaten right away, as they go chewy after a while. The Xylitol caused the texture of these meringues to be way off initially--they were more like eating styrofoam or  a dry sponge--but, after a few days in the refrigerator they were more like a crispy meringue. The Xylitol meringues also got a little over browned, even though I baked them for less time than the recipe made with sugar. Overall, they came out okay, but I think they were way too sweet, and I could still detect just the slightest aftertaste.
The meringues made with sugar were softer and didn't hold their shape quite as well, but they tasted better and had the right texture. They did go very chewy after a day or so, as warned, but I didn't mind as that gave them more of a brownie-like mouthfeel. Also, I could taste more cocoa and less sweetness with these.
I'm wondering what would happen if I substituted half the sugar for Xylitol. That would still lower the glycemic index and calorie count, and maybe it would keep them from going quite so chewy while at the same time maintaining more of a true meringue texture. I would try it, except I have other plans for the last bit of Xylitol left in the bag that Xylitol USA sent me. If you decided to try this recipe with half sugar and half Xyltiol, please let me know how the cookies come out.

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Corazon said...

wow!thanks for sharing this!looks so adorable!A perfect treat to my kids!

Megan said...

They still look tasty to me. Just dunk them in some milk, they are sure to get a little softer! I have never seen that before. I guess I'm trying to stay away from sweets so I'm not baking much these days!