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Joan Lunden's Chocolate Meringue Cookies

Compiled by Vicki McClure Davidson

 

Frugal Celebrities' Recipes Legendary TV journalist Joan Lunden

Journalist, author, producer, and television talk news anchor Joan Lunden was named "Television's Favorite Morning Anchor" in an Entertainment Weekly national viewer poll. Born Joan Elise Blunden in 1950 in Sacramento, California, the budding journalist was instructed to change her professional last name to Lunden because of fears that Blunden would be mispronounced "Blunder."

She was cohost of ABC's Good Morning America for 17 years (prior to that, she had worked as a beat reporter for WABC-TV's Eyewitness News in New York City), making her at the time the longest-reigning news cohost on American early-morning television. Her accomplishments are impressive. Lunden reported on the 50th anniversary of D-Day, five Olympic Games, and two royal weddings (Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding in 1981 and Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding in 2011). She also covered the inaugurations and administrations of three U.S. presidents: Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan.

The Emmy Award-nominated Lunden was one of only three American journalists to interview Prince Charles during his 1983 visit to the United States. She is the face of Murad's skincare line, Resurgence, and has spearheaded a number of other successful television projects, including the hosting of Health Corner, a Lifetime cable TV series sponsored by Walgreens, developed a series with A&E, titled Behind Closed Doors with Joan Lunden, and has been involved in different charity efforts. In 1991, the New York Women in Communications group presented Lunden with a Matrix Award for her "outstanding contributions to the broadcasting field."

After giving birth to three daughters, going through a bitter, public divorce in 1992 from television producer Michael Krauss, and a hectic news career, Lunden battled weight gain and low energy. For a long time, she used food as an escape and a comfort to offset the many challenges and stresses in her life. After years of failed diets, she finally managed to break the cycle and stick to a program of sensible, satisfying, low-fat eating, shedding her excess weight.

At 46, Lunden and cohost Charlie Gibson were forced to retire from their GMA cohost spots in 1997 to be replaced with younger hosts (viewers were so upset with the network's ill-advised decision, it was reported that the show lost more than 1 million viewers). Lunden embarked on new projects, and three years later, married her second husband, businessman Jeff Konigsberg, in 2000. At age 54 in 2003, she became the mother of twins (a boy and a girl) through the help of a surrogate mother. In 2005, the couple welcomed their second set of twins, another girl and boy, using the same surrogate.

Here's an amusing observation about life that Lunden has posted on her blog:

THE FOUR STAGES OF LIFE
1) You believe in Santa Claus.
2) You don't believe in Santa Claus.
3) You are Santa Claus.
4) You look like Santa Claus.

The recipe below is from her private collection of wonderful, low-fat, healthy recipes contained in her 1996 bestselling cookbook that she co-wrote with Laura Morton, Joan Lunden's Healthy Cooking. She is the author of a number of other books, including Joan Lunden's Healthy Living, Your Newborn Baby, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Caregivers, and A Bend in the Road Is Not the End of the Road: 10 Positive Principles for Dealing with Change.


 

About these fabulous, guilt-free chocolate cookies (each has only about 27 calories), Lunden wrote, "These melt-in-your-mouth cookies are a terrific almost-no-fat treat to satisfy a chocoholic's craving for a quick hit."

 

Joan Lunden's Chocolate Meringue Cookies

 

Preheat oven to 325°F.

In a metal bowl, set over a pot of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and cool chocolate to room temperature.

With an electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt until frothy. Add cream of tartar, and whip to soft peaks. Continue beating, adding the sugar gradually, until the mixture just forms stiff peaks when the beaters are lifted from the bowl. Fold in the cocoa and melted chocolate. Drop batter by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a foil-covered baking sheet. Bake meringues for 13 to 15 minutes until the tops have cracked and the centers are fairly dry. Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes. Using a metal spatula, carefully transfer meringues to a rack to finish cooling.

You can store these in an airtight container for 2 days, or freeze for up to 6 months between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container.

Makes 2 to 3 dozen.

 

 

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Sources:
Film Reference, Lunden, Joan (http://www.filmreference.com/film/45/Joan-Lunden.html).
Internet Movie Database website, "Joan Lunden", (www.imdb.com).
Lunden, Joan and Laura Morton Joan Lunden's Healthy Cooking, New Life Entertainment, Little, Brown & Company, NY, 1996.
Norville, Deborah, NBC News Interview, "Joan Lunden, 54, Mother of Twins," (http://www.nbcnews.com/id/5014340/ns/msnbc-deborah_norville_tonight/t/joan-lunden-mother-twins/#.Uhk2z9K-qDs), May 19, 2004.
Silverman, Stephen M., "Joan Lunden's Second Set of Twins Arrives," (http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,1035272,00.html), March 7, 2005.
Wikipedia, Lunden, Joan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_Lunden)