Coconut-Chai Meringue Breakaway
Start to finish: 2 ½ hours (30 minutes active) Makes 16 cookies 4 green cardamom pods 2 star anise 2 whole cloves Pinch of fennel seeds 1 ml (¼ tsp) grated nutmeg 1 ml (¼ tsp) ground black pepper 1 ml (¼ tsp) ground dry ginger 10 ml (2 tsp) hot water 10 ml (2 tsp) honey Hefty pinch of saffron 4 egg whites 1 ml (¼ tsp) cream of tartar Pinch of salt 180 ml (¾ cup) sugar 160 ml (2/3 cup) unsweetened shredded coconut
Heat the oven to 95 C (200 F). Line a baking sheet with kitchen parchment.
Break open the cardamom pods, placing the seeds in a mortar or a spice grinder and discarding the shells. Add the seeds from the star anise, discarding the star shell. Add the cloves and fennel. Pound with a pestle or grind until you have a powder. Stir in the nutmeg, pepper and ginger. Set aside.
In a small bowl or cup, combine the hot water, honey and saffron, smashing the saffron with the back of a spoon. Set aside.
In a large bowl use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until very foamy. About 15 ml (1 tbsp) at a time, add the sugar while continuing to beat, beating until all of the sugar is incorporated. Continue to beat until thick and glossy peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes. Gently stir in the spice mixture and half of the coconut.
Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Drop small dribbles of the saffron mixture onto the surface, then swirl with a butter knife or a toothpick to make bright yellow saffron-honey swirls. Sprinkle with the remaining coconut. Bake for 2 hours, or until dry. Allow to cool. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container at room temperature for about 1 week (if kept very dry and away from humidity). Nutrition information per serving: 50 calories; 20 calories from
fat (40 per cent of total calories); 2 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 25 mg sodium; 8 g carbohydrate; 1
g fibre; 8 g sugar; 1 g protein.
Alison Ladman is a chef, food writer and recipe developer for The Associated Press. She also owns The Crust and Crumb Bak
ing Company in Concord, N.H.