Saturday, December 23, 2006

Low Points Cookies

Okay, for those of us that have been on the WW points program, it can be hard to find a sweet treat that has a low "point" value. WW publishes the point value of foods, but for engineers who can't stand looking up things in a table and have an overwhelming need to describe what we do with math, we like to calculate points in our heads.

Points are calculated per serving by figuring out how many calories, grams of fat and fiber are in it. I understand the formula is patented by WW, but I have figured it out by my own personal nerdly interpolation, geek that I am. By my estimates, there's 1 point for every 50 calories, plus 1 point additional for every 12 grams of fat, minus almost 1 point per 4 grams of fiber.

I used to buy meringues at Meijer because they were a good low point option, but they stopped selling them. So I am going to try making them, based on this recipe (which I modified slightly) that I read about in the AA News this week. Six cookies would be 1 pt., by my estimates.

Chocolate Meringues
Makes 84 cookies

4 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Adjust oven racks to divide oven in thirds, then preheat to 250F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In the bowl of a mixer, combine egg whites, cream of tartar and salt. Beat on medium until frothy, about two minutes. Increase speed to medium-high and add sugar in a slow, steady stream. Beat egg whites until they hold stiff peaks, about 10 minutes. Add vanilla and beat until thoroughly combined. Decrease speed to low and mix in cocoa until just combined.
Transfer meringue to a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch opening and without a tip. Alternatively, use a large plastic bag and cut off one corner. Onto prepared baking sheets, pipe peaked mounds about 1 inch in diameter and 11/2 inches apart. Bake for 30 minutes, then switch baking sheets from one shelf to the other. Bake for another 20 to 25 minutes or until meringues are dry. Turn off oven, open it a crack and allow meringues to dry and crisp in the oven for an hour.

Approximate nutritional content per serving (2 cookies):
Calories..................................... 21
Fat........................................... 0 g
Dietary fiber............................ 0 g

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