Sharing Food and Memories with Friends and Family

March 11, 2010
Irene Saiger


Brownie Meringues

We are now three weeks away from Passover.  This is the first time in about twenty years that we will be conducting the Seder in the dining room primarily because twelve of us can fit there.  No need to empty out the living room, order extra tables, rent cloths and napkins.  Yet instead of being happy about shedding all of the planning and angst that can accompany preparing for a large Seder, why are my thoughts drawn to Seders past with longing and nostalgia and to future Seders with something akin to dread.  It has been a difficult year.  My 92-year-old father passed away in September and for the first time, he will not be present at our Seder. Growing up in NYC, Seders were pretty traditional affairs; my father and the other men would stand and chant the Haggadah in unison, with no one else participating.  The wives read along silently and the children wiggled and giggled and waited for dinner.  It was not egalitarian or engaging or educational and yet I have warm and happy memories.  The table was beautifully set, the fine china was brought out, wonderful aromas came from the kitchen, new clothing was purchased, cousins got together and my father and the other men argued about politics all through the meal. Pesach was special.When our children were born and my husband Norm and I took over Seder duty, we expanded the guest list. After all, we were transplants from the East Coast and so friends replaced the extended family.  My husband and I were determined to do things differently.  We wanted to make sure that we would engage the children, involve the guests, and do it all in a warm and inviting way.  We wanted to raise children who would grow up not only knowing how to conduct a Seder but we hoped that they would want to conduct their own Seders one day.  Although my father was no longer leading the Seder in my house, he always had a special role. His job was to read Ki Lo Naeh Ki Lo Yaeh, one of the supplementary hymns.  He had a special way of reading the Hebrew with an Ashkenazi intonation that sounded much more like Yiddish than it did Hebrew.  He read it quickly and with a particular chant.  There is nobody who can duplicate it and he will be remembered and missed.Yes, our Seder is smaller this year.  Our daughter will be joining us but our sons and other family members cannot.  Our friends’ children also have commitments elsewhere.  It makes me pause and wonder what future Seders will look like but for this year I am grateful to share the Seder with our friends who are like family and hope that next year we will all be together again, in the living room. My daughter Shira, who is coming has already requested her favorite Passover cookies.  Here is the recipe.

Brownie Meringues

2 egg whites

Pinch of salt

1/2 packet vanillin (passover product)

1/2 tsp vinegar

1/2 cup sugar

6 oz. bittersweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Let eggs come to room temperature. Melt chocolate in double boiler and allow to cool completely.  Separate egg yolks from whites very carefully and then in large bowl,beat whites with salt and vinegar until you can see little bubbles forming. Gradually add sugar and vanillin, increasing speed of mixer until egg whites form soft shiny peaks (like a Hershey kiss). Take a large spoonful of the chocolate mixture and gently fold into whites. Incorporate remaining chocolate mixture into whites slowly and gently.  Once combined, drop mixture by tablespoon onto cookie sheets lined with silver foil and bake for 8 minutes.  Turn off oven and leave meringues inside oven with door slightly ajar for 5 additional minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool, then transfer to a plate with a spatula.  Tops may crack and meringues will fall slightly. Centers are soft and chewy.  NOTE: I tried several variations of this recipe this past week and the clear winner was baking for exactly eight minutes, turning off the oven and leaving meringues in for an additional 5 minutes. Makes 12 Meringues.

Enjoy, Irene

7 thoughts on “Brownie Meringues

  1. Irene, I am Daniela’s Mother and she raved about your chocolate meringue cookies, and she was so right. I made them and forgot to turn the oven off after baking them for 8-10 minutes as the recipe said. I baked them for the whole 40 minutes. They were crunchy but delicious. I was determined to make them correctly for Daniela so I started over. The next batch I over baked by 15 minutes but were also delicious and will not only reserve them for the Passover Holiday but will bake them throughout the yr and hopefully remember they only bake for 8-10 minutes and then left in the oven for an additional 30 minutes in a turned off oven. Thank you for sharing such a delicious recipe. I’ve forwarded it to my best friend Sharon. I hope the next time Shira is in town the four of us can get together as I would love to meet you. Judy

    • Hi Judy,

      I am so glad you enjoyed the meringues. If you like them with a softer center then leave them in the oven for less time AFTER they bake. About 10 minutes instead of 30. I would love to have dinner!!!!


  2. Irene, I am Daniela’s Mother and Daniela raved about your cookies. I made them but forgot to turn off the oven after the 8-10 min but they were still delicious. I made them again the same day and did the same thing again only this time I turned the oven off after 15 add’l minutes of baking. No matter, we loved them and ate them with gusto. I will make these delicious chocolate bites even when we are not celebrating The Passover Holiday. Many thanks for the recipe. judy

  3. Irene, I love your blog! I will be baking these tonight before Eyal commits harakiri. One day without some form of chocolate dessert and he is chomping at the bit. Happy Passover.

  4. Irene, What kind of vinegar am I supposed to use? (I am not not a knowledgeable cook!)

  5. you are way tooo organized for me!!!!!!! count down to passover

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