Sunday, February 20, 2011

Nutella Meringues

Last week I stumbled upon one of my friends who works at my kid's school. I often find her during her lunchbreak catching up on all of the blogs that she enjoys following. She had just printed up this recipe she came across, and offered me a copy.

 I originally discovered meringues in a little French restaurant 13 years ago and fell in love with them.  Despite automatically making a mental connection with lemon pie at the mention of meringue, these meringue cookies are made with the same ingredients for a meringue pie, however, the meringue is cooked until it reaches a hard and crunchy state.   These are light and airy (very much so), and crunchy on the outside with just a tiny bit of chewiness on the inside. They are gluten free, and very easy to make. My kind of mix'em, put'em in the oven and forget about them type of easiness...

3 large egg whites at room temperature
1/4 t. cream of tartar
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. + 1 T. granulated sugar
1/4 Nutella hazlenut spread - most grocery stores carry this near their peanut butter section

Preheat oven to 300*F, and place one oven rack in the bottom 1/3 of oven, and another in the upper 1/3 of oven.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Using either a double boiler (or a microwave on half power stirring frequently) to melt Nutella, then set aside to cool.

Using a mixer, beat egg whites until completely foamy.
Add cream of tartar and salt, and continue to mix until soft-peaks form.

Increase mixer speed, and add sugar 1 tablespoon at a time.
Continue to beat on high until the meringue reaches hard peak consistency.

With a rubber spatula, gently fold the Nutella into the meringue three or four times. Avoid over mising as variegated and swirled effect is desired. Over mixing may also deflate the meringue.

Using two spoons, drop the meringue onto the parchment - lined baking sheets in large dallops.

Place in oven for 10 minutes.
After 20 minutes, lower the heat to 200*F, and rotate trays. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Meringues should be completely dry, and will sound hollow tapped on the bottom after they cool.

Yield 15-25 meringues depending on size
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