This week’s column from the editors of Relish magazine is a great one for Valentine’s Day treats: Light, delicious meringue kisses. Meringue looks incredibly hard because it’s so delicate. But I made some for the first time this Christmas, and it’s really easy. If you’re unsure about what a “stiff peak” will look like, don’t worry, you’ll know. Major key: Your eggs must be room temperature.
Free-form your kisses by dropping the batter onto a cookie sheet in spoonfuls, or you can pipe them with a pastry bag (or a zip-top plastic baggie with a corner cut off).
There’s some variation recipes at the end if you want to shake up your meringues. You can also add mini-chocolate chips, or sub the vanilla for peppermint. Add food coloring of your choice to change up the color.
Basic Meringue Recipe
3 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, securing paper to baking sheet with masking tape.
Beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form (when the beater is lifted from the whites, peaks with curled-over tops form). Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form (when the beater is lifted from the whites, peaks remain standing straight up).
Add vanilla and beat 30 seconds more.
Drop batter by level tablespoonfuls onto prepared pan; or fill a disposable pastry bag with batter and pipe a small amount (about 1 tablespoon of batter for each meringue) onto pan. Bake 40 minutes, or until crisp. Let cool on pan on a wire rack. Repeat procedure with remaining batter, reusing parchment paper. Store in an airtight container. Makes 40 (1-inch) meringues.
• Per kiss: 20 calories, 0g fat, 0mg chol., 0g prot., 5g carbs., 0g fiber, 20mg sodium
Double-Chocolate Mocha Meringue Kisses
Omit the vanilla. Sift 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa and 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder over egg whites; fold in. Fold in 3 tablespoons semisweet chocolate minichips.
• Per kiss: 25 calories, 0g fat, 0mg chol., 0g prot., 6g carbs., 0g fiber, 20mg sodium
Use 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Omit the vanilla. Fold in 1/2 cup milk chocolate toffee bits.
• Per kiss: 35 calories, 1g fat, 0mg chol., 0g prot., 7g carbs., 0g fiber, 30mg sodium