Two words of advice – Valentine’s Day. It’s next Tuesday! If you are looking for an easy but impressive dessert to serve your sweetheart, this is it.
Only a few simple ingredients are needed to create these beautiful, swirled puffs of chocolate and cocoa. The recipe calls for espresso powder which is easy to find at the store, but if you’d like to try making your own, I’ve included directions below.
The cool and dry indoor humidity of winter is the best time to make meringues. Shatteringly crisp on the outside but chewy and decadent on the inside, these are sure to impress.
Alone, these cookies are delightful, but if you wish, you can make a simple frozen berry sauce in less than 30 minutes. Topped with a scoop of fine vanilla ice cream and berry sauce, you can turn the meringues into a spectacular dessert. Be sure to use a very sharp serrated knife to cut the tops off of the meringues or they could shatter and break. If you prefer, you can use the back of a spoon and make a shallow indentation in the top of the meringues before you bake them (think of the pre-made sponge shortcake indentation). Or, simply fill an ice cream dish with ice cream and berry sauce and serve the meringue cookies on the side!
Speaking of hearts and love, I have been working on creating some special baby shower games using art that I purchased on Etsy from some very talented artists. Good friends are expecting their first grandchild in June. Don’t you love this baby fox with the heart on its chest?
Whatever your plan for Valentine’s Day, whether it’s spending time with your special loved one or by yourself watching a good movie with a bowl of meringue cookies, I wish you a very happy day!
3 large room temperature egg whites*
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup superfine sugar*
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup toasted pecans, finely chopped* (optional)
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons espresso powder
Pinch of salt
Place whole eggs in a dish of warm water to get them to room
temperature more quickly. If you have a coffee/spice grinder or a food
processor you can make your own superfine sugar by pulsing several
times. Roast pecans in a 350F oven for about 7 minutes. Allow to cool,
then chop finely.
Preheat oven to 225F and line a 18 x 13 inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.
egg whites into a medium bowl and add the cream of tartar. With a hand
mixer, beat the egg whites at low speed until frothy, about 30 seconds.
Turn the the speed up to medium and add the sugar while beating, 1
tablespoon at a time, until the egg whites are stiff and glossy. This
will take about 1 minute.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the
meringue and fold in gently with a spatula to incorporate. Only fold a
few times, you want the the meringue to look marbled.
eight 1/2-cup mounds of meringue onto the prepared baking sheet. Using
the back of a spoon, gently swirl the meringues into approximately 3
inch rounds, making a peak at the top. If desired, you can use the spoon
to make an indentation in the top of the meringues if you wish to use
them as a base for ice cream and berry sauce.
Bake for 1 hour and
15 minutes, or until the meringues are firm on the outside but still
chewy in the center. Cool completely.
Meringues can be stored in an airtight container, separating layers with parchment paper, for about a week.
Adapted from: Chocolate Chip Espresso Meringues from Food and Wine
2 cups mixed frozen berries (organic preferred) such as strawberries, blueberries and raspberries
1/4 cup sugar or honey
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
berries in a small saucepan. Over low heat, allow the berries to thaw
and soften until they release their juices. Add the sugar or honey and
turn the heat to medium low and simmer for about 15 minutes. Taste and
adjust sweetness, if necessary.
Remove from heat and mash berries with a large fork or pastry blender. Add the fresh lemon juice and allow to cool.
covered in the refrigerator until ready to use. May be reheated gently
in the microwave for about 30 seconds when ready to serve.
This makes about 1-1/2 tablespoons of espresso powder.
you have an espresso maker at home, after brewing a double shot, save
the grounds or ask your barista to give you the grounds after you order
your next espresso drink at the coffee shop.
Spread the grounds on a small baking sheet and spread them out to dry.
Preheat the oven to 300F and place the baking sheet in the oven and allow the grounds to toast for 30 minutes.
Allow the grounds to cool and pulse them in a coffee/spice grinder until finely ground.