I’m a little obsessed with meringues at the moment, like the way I did with lemon meringue pie. Although my technique is far from perfect – I envisage rows of uniformly pert and pretty meringues and instead, end up with a higgeldy-piggeldy heap. I enjoy making them and experimenting with flavors.
As this particular batch was for a gift, I opted for a classic combination of hazelnut and chocolate and made mini hazelnut chocolate meringue kisses.
It’s been a hectic week – I’ve just finished my job and I’m moving house at the weekend, so it’s been packing chaos. Anyway, in a dilemma of what to get as goodbye gifts for people at work, I decided to make a batch of mini meringues and divide them up into pretty packages – problem solved!
Easy Chocolate and Hazelnut Meringue Kisses Recipe
Like so many things, meringues are not as difficult to make as they first appear. Meringue is simply a mixture of egg white and sugar – it just needs a good beating and a long time in the oven.
To start with hazelnut chocolate meringue kisses, you whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks, then add the sugar a little at a time, whilst continuing to whisk. The mixture should be stiff – hold it upside down over your head and if you end up covered in it, you didn’t whisk it enough!
At this point, you can fold in any flavors and colors that you like, or just leave it plain. To get it into a piping bag without ending up in a sticky mess, it’s a good idea to put the piping bag into a tall glass or cocktail shaker and fold the edges over – it makes it really easy to get the meringue in. Then chop off the end and pipe onto a lined baking tray. That’s where my tips end, since making pretty meringues, as stated above, still evades me!
Meringues need a relatively cool oven and then need to be allowed to cool in the oven once it has been switched off. So the work time is low, but don’t plan on using the oven to make dinner half an hour later – meringues are fussy things and don’t like being disturbed.
Once hazelnut meringue kisses cool, they can be eaten with cream or ice cream, or wrapped up and given as gifts – continuing the ‘kisses’ theme, I wrapped mine in pink tissue paper and finished with a heart-shaped tag. These chocolate meringue kisses are one of my favorite chocolate dishes. Here is how to make hazelnut chocolate meringue kisses:
Chocolate and Hazelnut Meringue Kisses
- 2 egg whites from medium eggs
- 100 g caster sugar
- 2 tsp cocoa powder
- 3 tsp chopped hazelnuts
- 3 tsp dark chocolate flakes
- Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and preheat the oven to 140oC.
- Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, then slowly add the sugar, whisking all the time. The mixture should be stiff and glossy.
- Gently fold in the remaining ingredients, then spoon into a piping bag.
- Cut off the end of the piping bag and pipe small circles of meringue onto the baking tray, leaving a decent space between each.
- Put into the oven and turn down the temperature to 120oC. Bake for 30 mins, then turn off the oven.
- Leave the meringues in the oven until the oven has cooled completely.
- Sandwich together with cream, or add to ice cream for a decadent dessert.
What is meringue?
Meringue is a light and airy dessert made from just a few simple ingredients – egg whites and sugar.
The origins of this dessert are somewhat disputed, with both the French and Swiss laying claim to its invention. Some culinary historians believe that meringue was born in the Swiss town of Meiringen in the 18th century, hence its name. However, it was the French who popularized meringue and incorporated it into their culinary repertoire. The first recorded meringue recipe dates back to the 1600s in a French cookbook.
Meringue’s light and crisp texture makes it an excellent addition to various desserts. Some classic meringue-based desserts include lemon meringue pie, pavlova, eton mess, or meringue cookies.
There are three basic types of meringue:
French Meringue: This is the most common type, made by whipping egg whites and gradually adding sugar until stiff peaks form. It is used in a wide range of desserts like pies, tarts, and pavlovas. Swiss Meringue: In this method, sugar and egg whites are gently heated over a double boiler before whipping. This results in a more stable meringue, often used for frosting cakes and making buttercream. Italian Meringue: Hot sugar syrup is poured into whipped egg whites, creating a stable, marshmallow-like meringue. It's commonly used for making toppings for pies, desserts like Baked Alaska, and as a base for macarons.