|Almond meringue kisses. (Courtesy of Almondboard.com)
Valentine's Day is just around the corner and it's the perfect time to indulge in something sweet. Instead of shopping for store-bought heart-shaped sugar cookies, why not make your own treats?
Jenny McCoy, pastry chef of Craft in New York City, has created a delectable recipe for the Almond Board of California: Almond Meringue Kisses. These light, sweet and crunchy bites are full of flavour and sure to be a hit no matter who you give them to. Check out Almondboard.com for more great recipe ideas.
ALMOND MERINGUE KISSES
3 large egg whites
1/4 tsp. (1 ml) cream of tartar
3/4 tsp. (3 ml) almond extract
1 1/4 cup (300 ml) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (50 ml) water
1 tsp. (5 ml) honey
3/4 cup (175 ml) almond flour
1 -1 1/2 cups (250-375 ml) sliced almonds, very finely chopped
1 cup (6 oz., 180 g) dark chocolate chips
1 tsp (5 ml) canola oil
Position two racks in the centre of oven and preheat oven to 175F (80C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with whip attachment, beat egg whites on medium speed until frothy. Reduce speed of mixer and add cream of tartar and almond extract and continue to mix.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring sugar, water and honey to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook until mixture reaches 238F (115C) on a candy thermometer. Immediately remove from stovetop and slowly pour into mixer while still running.
Once entire sugar mixture has been added, increase speed of mixer to high and whip for 6 to 8 minutes, or until thick, glossy and cooled to room temperature. Remove from mixture, add almond flour and gently fold until evenly combined.
Transfer mixture to a large piping bag, fitted with a 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) round pastry tip and pipe into large kisses, about 2 inches (5 cm) wide. Bake for 6 hours to overnight, or until meringues have completely dried through but have not browned. Let cool to room temperature.
Spread chopped almonds onto a large plate; set aside. Over a double boiler, gently melt chocolate chips. Add canola oil and stir until combined. Transfer mixture to a shallow bowl and dip bases of meringues into chocolate. Gently shake each meringue over the bowl of chocolate after dipped to remove excess chocolate and set in chopped almonds. Transfer meringues to a baking sheet to set chocolate before serving, about 20 minutes.
Makes 80 kisses.