These chocolate hazelnut meringues are deceptively light. I fooled myself into thinking I’d be fine after eating about 15 over the course of one fateful hour as I dipped the crisp, nutty kisses into silky, melted chocolate, and later suffered the wrath of the subsequent sugar rush. But hey, they were pretty irresistible! They are relatively easy to whip up, and are a great dessert for feeding the masses on a small list of ingredients. I think they taste very much like Ferrero Rochers, so in my books they are pretty close to perfect. My Nan is an excellent cook, and I was on the phone to her for advice as I watched the glossy blobs of egg whites puff into beautiful crispy peaks. According to her, the meringues are ready when ever so slightly golden, but more importantly, when you can gently tap them against the side of the tray and they sound crisp and hollow. This tip gave me perfect meringues, so listen to your Nan…(or at least to mine)!
Chocolate and Hazelnut Meringue Kisses
Preparation Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: up to 2 hours
- 4 egg whites (120g), at room temperature
- 240 g sifted caster sugar
- 2 tablespoons sifted cocoa powder
- 75 g hazelnuts
- 250 g good quality dark cooking chocolate
- Preheat fan-forced oven to 200°C/390°F. On a lined tray, toast hazelnuts in oven for 5 minutes until golden brown and slightly aromatic. Keep a close eye on them as they burn easily. Once cooled, rub them between your fingers to remove any loose skin, and then very finely chop or blitz in food processor.
- Line a deep roasting dish with baking paper, and pour the sugar in. Bake for 5 minutes, until the edges just start to melt. Remove the sugar from the oven, and reduce the heat to 100°C/210°F.
- Wipe out the bowl of your mixer. Pour in the egg whites, and whisk on low speed for 2 minutes until small bubbles form. Turn the whisker up to medium/high speed, and whisk for 5-8 minutes until very stiff peaks form. You should be able to hold up the whisker and see that the meringue does not move or flop at all. With the whisker still going at medium/high speed, gradually add the sugar spoonful at a time, whisking well between each addition to ensure sugar dissolves.
- Once all sugar is incorporated, continue to whisk for another 5-7 minutes until the sugar is dissolved. Test this by rubbing a bit of meringue between your thumb and forefinger. If it feels gritty, keep whisking until smooth and glossy.
- Using a large metal spoon, very gently fold almond meal through meringue mixture until just combined. Take care to not over mix.
- Gently spoon meringue into a large piping bag with a 1 cm round nozzle, and pipe meringue kisses onto lined tray. To yield approx 40 kisses, diameter of meringue base should be about 4-5 cm. When piping, keep the nozzle close to the tray and positioned in the same spot, and as you squeeze slightly raise the nozzle to allow the meringue to form a peak.
- Bake kisses for 45 minutes-1 1/2 hours, depending on your oven, until the meringues appear crisp and lightly golden as pictured. Use the ‘tap test’ to check that the meringues sound hollow by gently tapping one against the tray, and once you’re satisfied, turn off the oven and open the door slightly, allowing the meringues to cool slowly in the oven until completely cooled (or overnight).
- Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Once almost all of the chocolate is melted, remove from heat and continue stirring until completely melted and silky.
- Allow the chocolate to cool slightly, for about 5 minutes. Dip the base of the cooled meringues into the chocolate, swirling them gently for an even coverage. You can dip them in as deeply as you’d like.
- Return dipped meringues to freshly lined baking trays, and allow to cool until the chocolate hardens.
Store meringue kisses in an airtight jar or container in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks.
Revised 9th May 2015.