Friday, April 16, 2010

Cleo Coyle's Little Chocolate Clouds

This post
was named a
Number One
9" Pick

“I had some dreams, they were clouds in my coffee…” One of songwriter Carly Simon’s many inspired lines—and my inspiration for today’s recipe post.

With warmer weather finally making its appearance here in New York City, and the threat of sleeveless tops and shorts coming at me like a Sisyphus boulder, I knew my craving for something chocolate needed to be tempered into something light.

Then Elizabeth/Riley’s excellent spring cleaning post (click here or scroll down) started me thinking about using up my foods before they hit their dreaded expiration dates. And what was on the cusp of being ejected from my fridge? Eggs!

The result was this recipe for Little Chocolate Clouds. These simple chocolate meringues are easy to whip up and bake. They are bursting with chocolate flavor yet still light and with the added bonus of protein.

Serve these as a light, after-dinner treat or eat them as a satisfying coffee break snack. You can even float one in a hot cup of joe or espresso. It will melt right into the liquid, giving you an instant mocha drink.

My husband, Marc (a tough critic) loves these sweet, little morsels. He describes them as "little chocolate cotton candies," which pefectly captures their melt-in-your mouth appeal, especially after you soften their crunchy exteriors by dipping them into a cup of warm coffee or tea.

The only tricky technique in making this simple
recipe is whipping up the egg whites...

For a quick video tutorial on how to whip egg whites properly,
just click on the arrow in the window below.

Cleo Coyle’s Little Chocolate Clouds

Makes about 36 cookies

For a printable version
of this recipe (PDF format)



4 egg whites (room temperature)
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar (to stabilize the egg whites)
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
Optional decorations: chocolate sprinkles, chocolate chips, toasted coconut, chopped nuts


Step 1 – Before You Begin: First preheat the oven to 300° Fahrenheit. Some notes to help you get the best results here: Start with a mixing bowl that is glass, metal, or ceramic. The bowl must be free of grease for your egg whites to whip up properly. (Grease clings to plastic bowls, which is why you should not use plastic.) Also, for best results, your egg whites should be room temperature. I simply set my cold eggs in a bowl of warm tap water for 2 to 3 minutes before cracking.

Step 2 – Whip Egg Whites: Place egg whites, cream of tartar, vanilla, and salt into bowl. Using an electric mixer or handheld whisk, begin to whip the whites. When you see soft peaks begin to form (see "soft peaks" photo below), continue beating while slowly sprinkling in the sugar. When the egg whites have become stiff and glossy (see "stiff and glossy" photo below), stop whipping. Sift the cocoa over the egg whites and gently fold into the mix. The whites will deflate a little, but that’s okay.

Egg Whites Beaten to "Soft Peaks"

Egg Whites Beaten "Stiff and Glossy"

Sifting in the Unsweetened Cocoa

Folding in the Unsweetened Cocoa

Step 3 – Form Little Chocolate Clouds: Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Make rustic little chocolate clouds by dropping batter by heaping teaspoons onto the paper. As a fun option and to create variety, try sprinkling some with finely chopped nuts, others with shredded coconut, chocolate sprinkles, or a few chocolate chips.

Step 4 – Bake in the preheated (300° F.) oven for about 25 to 35 minutes. Meringues should be dry and somewhat firm on the outside (not hard just firm) and still gooey in the center. Remove from oven and carefully slide the parchment paper off the hot pan and onto a rack to cool. Note: Warm meringues will stick to the parchment paper. But as they cool, they will harden. Then you can easily lift them free and…

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of 

To get more of my recipes,
enter to win free coffee, or
learn about my books,
including my bestselling
Haunted Bookshop series,
visit my online coffeehouse:

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are national bestselling
culinary mysteries set in a landmark Greenwich Village 
coffeehouse, and each of the ten titles includes the 
added bonus of recipes. 


The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name Alice Kimberly
To learn more, click here.


  1. Did you hand whip this? I am impressed!! Also - I love that you mention protein as a benefit of these chocolate clouds! They are very cute.

  2. Oh, I don't think I could stop at just one!

  3. Clouds in my coffee, can't go wrong there. These look delicious.

    Thoughts in Progress

  4. Oh my goodness....these look sooooo good, Cleo. I could just eat the picture.

    Love Carly! And "You're so Vain" is one of her very best!


    Mystery Writing is Murder

  5. Chocolate and egg whites -- yummmmmmm!

    ~ Krista

  6. YUM! The pictures made me drool on my keyboard. Must go count my eggs now.

  7. Replies to--

    @Jeanne C

    Thank you! I'm so happy you stopped by today to let me know you liked the post. It means a lot to me :-)

    “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”

    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  8. Reply to--

    @Trix -- Tasty Trix is in the House! I am so happy that you stopped by! I have been enjoying your own Von Trix Family Travels!Looking forward to more of your fantastic foodie posts and recipes.

    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  9. Replies to--

    @Elizabeth - Carly is just the best, isn't she? She's such an amazing writer, artists, and person. Count me among her longtime admirers. :)

    @Krista and Jenn - Chocolate kisses to my fellow mystery writing cooks. I'm so glad you liked today's post and thanks for dropping by to let me know. :-)

    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  10. Oh, Cleo,

    They look great! Even I can do meringues, so I'll have to try them.

    And, I'm looking forward to Roast Mortem! Great title.


  11. I love chocolate meringues and these look adorable - really like little chocolate clouds! What's even better is that they're not as fattening as most chocolate treats tend to be :)

  12. these look fabulous! i will definitely be making these to put in my coffee, hot chocolate, and anything else really! yum!

  13. Hi Cleo - I think you're fabulous and you never fail to put a smile on my face so, I've nominated you for an award.

    You're not obliged to accept but I do hope you will come by my blog and take a look :)

  14. Sounds delicious. If your chocolate clouds had bread and cinnamon, you'd have french toast. So I thought, what if you added the chocolate to french toast? I Googled 'chocolate french toast.' Thought I had come up with something new, but everybody and their brother has a recipe for chocolate french toast. 'Nihil novi sub sole.' (Old Latin expression for 'there is nothing new under the sun.') But choc. clouds and choc. french toast are new... to me.

  15. These look delicious! I like the idea of putting them into the coffee, that would be fantastic.

  16. Love your chocolate clouds! Sounds and looks delicious! Im kinda afraid in making meringue. I think i would have to try it sometimes. Thanks for your tips. U

  17. yumm and congrats on Top 9 this is featured number 1 great job! looks so light and delicious :)

  18. Mmm, yummy. I have kind of s sugar craving right now and this did not make it easier!

  19. Hey Cleo, these are absolutely beautiful. I love how they look on the plate next to the window with the somewhat overcast looking light-very pretty. Makes me want one.
    Ooh, I'm going to check out your contest!

  20. Oh my! My husband would love me forever if I did this...and the pairing with coffee...YUM!

  21. Congratulations, Cleo! This looks is a clear and helpful recipe for chocolate meringues, with great photos.

  22. THOSE LOOK FLAWLESS!!! Great job!

  23. Chocolate Clouds + Coffee = a good way to start a morning! :D

  24. nice and simple- i love it! I'm new to this baking thing so what if I leave the meringues in the fridge overnight? I cant wait to try this recipe!

  25. Thank you, everyone, for your wonderful comments. I'll check back again to answer questions if I can.

    Anonymous -- Not sure exactly what you're asking. If you're wondering whether you can mix up the meringue batter and leave it overnight in the fridge before baking, the answer is no. You want to whip up the batter just before baking. After the meringues are baked, you can treat them just like any other cookie. I don't store mine in the refrigerator, I simply keep them in a cookie jar or plastic container. I hope that answers your question. Thank you for stopping by.

    BTW - I'm so happy to hear that you're new to baking but you're giving it a try anyway. Remember - everyone makes mistakes so don't be hard on youself if everything does not come out perfectly every time. Enjoy yourself and try, try again. A good philosophy to live by and to cook by. :)


  26. Thanks! That was what I was asking and your answer was such a big help! I cant wait to try it! Thanks for being so encouraging! ^_^

  27. i bookmarked this! going to make these for my mom for mother's day! thanks.

  28. i just made them and i love them so much. i could eat these all day. this is my first time makin meringues and im only 14 but they came out amazing. thanks so much fer this recipe.