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!
(Adapted from McCormick)
- 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)
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).
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).
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.
- 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.