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Low-Calorie Orange Walnut Cookies
These sweet, crunchy meringue cookies have only 13 calories each. Fat is the most concentrated source of calories and this recipe contains no added fat. The cookies are leavened solely by whipping egg whites, which contain no fat. The only fat comes from walnuts and most health experts recommend nuts as part of a healthy diet. The recipe contains sugar, of course, but just enough to add sweetness without an overload of calories. Avoid making these cookies on humid days, which can make the cookies less crisp.

  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 3 egg whites, at room temperature
  • Pinch cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp grated orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place walnuts on a baking sheet and bake, shaking the pan once or twice, until walnuts smell fragrant, about 5 minutes. Let cool and finely chop.
  2. Reduce oven temperature to 200°F. Line the baking sheet used for the walnuts as well as another baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
  3. In a large, clean, dry and grease-free bowl, preferably copper or glass, combine egg whites and cream of tartar. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium speed until whites form soft peaks when beaters are lifted, 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually add sugar, beating until whites resemble shaving cream and hold stiff peaks when beaters are lifted, 3 to 5 minutes more. Fold in walnuts, orange zest and vanilla.
  4. Spoon meringue into a large resealable plastic bag (or into a piping bag without a tip). Cut off a corner of the bag, and squeeze meringue into 1-1/2-inch rounds on prepared sheets.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes without opening oven door. Turn off oven and let meringues sit in oven until cool, for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours. You can bake these at night, turn off the oven, and let them cool in the oven until morning. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for about 1 to 2 days. The meringues will keep longest if the humidity is low.
Makes about 60 cookies

© 2008 David Joachim and Andrew Schloss, from The Science of Good Food


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