I was getting tired of seeing and hearing about bacon in every recipe all day every day. The only answer was to try it myself. These meringues really are good. You might want to cook the whole pound of bacon although the recipe calls for only 10 strips, because (who knows) you might need a snack...
One of my most esteemed tasters says "just pecans and bacon please, hold the chocolate". I see her point, the pecans and bacon are superb with nothing else, but I also like the milk chocolate in there. Have it your way. Let me know.
BACON PECAN MERINGUES WITH (or without) MILK CHOCOLATE
Something sweet and salty with nuts? And chocolate? How can this be wrong?
Makes 36-40 meringues
Scant 2/3 cup (85 g) crumbled crispy cooked bacon*, cooled
Scant 2/3 cup (60 g) toasted pecans, chopped medium fine
3 ounces milk chocolate, cut in 1/3 inch squares (or ½ cup milk chocolate chips) (optional)
2/3 cup (133 grams) sugar
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
*Thin cut bacon works best, you will need about 10 ounces or 10 strips, before cooking. It should be well cooked, using your favorite method. Once cool check to see if it is mostly 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.
Cookie sheets lined with parchment paper
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven
Set aside 1/3 of the bacon for the topping.
Mix the remaining bacon with the pecans, chocolate, and two 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 all, until the egg whites are very stiff and have a dull sheen. Use a large rubber spatula to fold in the 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 each meringue with a little pinch of 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 when 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 a few days at least.