I have never been a huge fan of meringue cookies.  They are the type of cookie that usually pales in comparison to other cookies and they're usually hard and dry.  Naturally, I was skeptical when I found this recipe, but the fact that it had "chai" in the title was intriguing, since I'm a huge fan of chai tea.  So, I gave these a try and honestly, they are the best meringue cookies I've ever had!  They resemble little clouds...heavenly looking AND tasting.  Three days later and they're still soft and chewy--true to their title!  I adapted the recipe a bit and put toffee bits in place of white chocolate since I didn't have any.  I'm sure they'd be great with the white chocolate, but the toffee was a nice compliment to the spices and nuts.  A great cookie for tea!

Chewy Chai Meringue Cookies
(makes about 2 dozen)

3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. cornstarch
4 egg whites
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
1 tsp. white or rice vinegar
1 cup white chocolate chips  (or 1 cup toffee bits)
3/4 cup chopped nuts, lightly toasted (Macadamia or pecans)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift together powdered sugar, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and cornstarch and set aside.

In a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a pot of boiling water, whisk together egg whites and granulated sugar until mixture is warm and sugar has dissolved. Be careful not to overheat, as egg whites will cook and congeal. 

Remove from heat, add cream of tartar and salt and beat with electric mixer until egg whites hold stiff peaks, about 3 minutes. Add vinegar and mix just until incorporated.

Gently fold in reserved powdered sugar mixture, white chocolate chips and nuts.

Drop by large tablespoonfuls onto parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.   Cookies will be soft in the middle and firm on the outside.

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