The jury is out on whether the to include the chocolate in these or not. One of my most esteemed tasters says just pecans and bacon please. Pecans and bacon are excellent, but I also like the milk chocolate in there. Have it your way.
A note on the bacon: Thin cut bacon works best, and you will need about 10 ounces or 10 strips of it, well cooked. Once it’s cool, check to see if it is crispy; if not, chop to the size of crumbles and re-cook briefly in a dry frying pan to render a little more fat. Let cool. —Alice Medrich
36 to 40 meringues
Scant 2/3 cup (85 grams) crumbled crispy cooked bacon, cooled (see headnote)
Scant 2/3 cup (60 grams) toasted pecans, chopped medium fine
milk chocolate, cut in 1/3- inch squares (or 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips), optional
Preheat the oven to 200° F and position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Set aside 1/3 of the bacon for the topping.
Mix the remaining bacon with the pecans, chocolate, and 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Set aside.
Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in a clean dry bowl. Beat at medium-high speed with a heavy-duty stand mixer (or high speed with a hand mixer) until the egg whites are creamy white (instead of translucent) and hold a soft shape when the beaters are lifted. Continue to beat on medium to high speed, adding the remaining sugar a little at a time, taking 1 1/2 to 2 minutes in total, until the egg whites are very stiff and have a dull sheen. Use a large rubber spatula to fold in the mixture of bacon mixture, just until blended.
Drop generous tablespoons of meringue 1 1/2 inches apart on the lined cookie sheets. Make sure all of the batter fits on the two sheets so all can be baked at once; if necessary, make each cookie a little bigger. Sprinkle meringues with a little of the reserved bacon.
Bake for 1 1/2 hours, rotating the pans from top to bottom and from front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. Remove a test meringue and let it cool completely before taking a bite (meringues are never crisp while still hot). If the test meringue is completely dry and crisp, turn off the oven and let the remaining meringues cool completely in the oven. If the test meringue is soft or chewy or sticks to your teeth, bake for another 15 to 30 minutes before cooling in the oven.
To prevent cookies from becoming moist and sticky, put them in an airtight container as soon as they are cool. Cookies keep for at least 2 weeks.
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on Craftsy.com, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).