Meringue Kisses

Meringue Kisses

February 14: Valentine’s Day

If chocolate-covered strawberries are getting too cliché for Valentine’s Day, try strawberry-flavored meringue kisses instead. The latter are light-as-air, cute crispy-puffy, melt-in-your-mouth sweet treats. They are easy to make and yield several dozen cookies, which look perfect on party trays or in heart-shaped gift boxes. Show your love (of baking) and make meringue kisses for someone special. These bite-sized babies are sure to earn a kiss for the cook. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from McCormick)

Ingredients

  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¾ cup sugar, granulated white
  • 1 teaspoon flavoring/extract (vanilla, strawberry, cherry or raspberry)
  • red food coloring
  • Valentine-colored non-pareils (optional)

Directions

Line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper. Set aside. In a grease-free bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and beat on high speed until glossy and stiff peaks form. Stir in the flavoring (we used strawberry extract).

Meringue Kisses

Fold the red food coloring into the meringue until the desired shade of pink is reached. Fill a pastry bag outfitted with a star tip or round nozzle and pipe two-inch rounds with peaks about two inches apart. Sprinkle with Valentine-colored non-pareils (optional).

Meringue Kisses

Bake in a preheated oven at 225 degrees F for one hour. Turn off the oven and leave the meringues there to cool without opening the door for another hour. Remove from the oven and carefully peel them from the parchment paper.

Meringue Kisses

Notes

  • Make more meringues for other holidays. For fiesta and Cinco de Mayo, make cactus meringue cookies. For Halloween, make meringue skeleton bones.
  • Avoid opening the oven door while the meringue cookies are baking land cooling so moisture does not interfere with the drying process.
  • Humidity affects making meringues. When the weather gets this way, the meringues become sticky and chewy.
  • This “kiss” name is probably descriptive of the slight touch of the pastry tip on the baking sheet. When piping out the meringue from the bag, squeeze then lift off gently to form the distinctive peak on top of the meringue cookie. The peak looks like the top on the tiny chocolate kiss candy as well. Both are delicious desserts for Valentine’s Day.

Dark Chocolate Heart Cookies

with Fondant Decorations

Dark Chocolate Heart Cookies with Fondant Decorations

February 14: Valentine’s Day

Love is patient…..” This scripture can apply to making dark chocolate heart cookies with fondant decorations for Valentine’s Day. Islander loves to bake but sometimes decorating cookies tries her patience. These cookies are like the chocolate wafers that we made before but Islander wanted to try out her new fondant imprint mat to decorate them. It really makes a great impression when the cookies go from plain to pretty! Dark chocolate heart cookies with fondant decorations may be time-consuming to make but are worth it when loved ones like to eat them all on Valentine’s Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Southern Living Incredible Cookies)

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 ¼ cup powdered sugar, sifted (plus more for decorating with fondant)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ½ cup cocoa powder (we used Hershey’s brand Special Dark)
  • pinch of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon (we used Wilton brand)
  • Pink fondant (Wilton, Satin Ice, Fondarific or homemade)
  • clear piping gel

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg. Stir in the vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon.

Dark Chocolate Heart Cookies with Fondant Decorations

Gradually add these ingredients to the butter mixture. Blend until a soft dough forms. Make a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate to firm the dough for at least an hour.

Dark Chocolate Heart Cookies with Fondant Decorations

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and work in small portions at a time. On a lightly floured surface, roll out a piece of dough to no thicker than ¼  inch. Cut out with a heart-shaped cookie cutter, re-rolling scraps as necessary.  Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and let sit in the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Cool completely to crisp up a bit. Store in an airtight container until ready to decorate with fondant.

Dark Chocolate Heart Cookies with Fondant Decorations

On a surface dusted with powdered sugar, roll out the fondant to 1/8 inch thick. Place on an impression mat and press gently over the surface. Remove the fondant and cut with the same heart-shaped cookie cutter used for the cookies. Cut out enough imprinted fondant hearts for all the cookies. Set aside in a covered container so the fondant does not dry out.

Dark Chocolate Heart Cookies with Fondant Decorations

Scoop out 1-2 tablespoons of clear piping gel into a bowl. Using a food-safe paint brush, brush gel over the surface of a cookie. Place a fondant heart over it and smooth out the edges with fingertips. Repeat until all the other cookies are complete. Brush off any crumbs and powdered sugar residue from the surface of the cookies. Store in an airtight container until ready to place on a cookie platter and serve.

Dark Chocolate Heart Cookies with Fondant Decorations

Notes

  • We used a 2 ½ inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, which yielded a little over two dozen cookies.
  • If clear piping gel is unavailable, water may be used as an adhesive between the fondant and the cookie.
  • Thanks to Lisa L. for gifting Islander with the cookie recipe book! Happy birthday and Valentine’s Day, Lisa!
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