Valentine’s Day is a perfect excuse to make meringue kisses, but it has been a year or ten since I last made them. While perusing the recipe box, I was torn between two different meringue versions, so I decided to go head-to-head in a Throwdown with myself … Bobby Flay style. Well, I didn’t actually sneak up on myself and challenge me, but I did try both recipes and present them to two judges (husband and child) to choose the best meringue kiss. Here is the exciting result of the first-ever Meringue Kiss Throwdown:
Caveat: If you want to try your own Meringue Throwdown before Valentine’s Day, plan to make the quick and easy recipes on February 13 or before, because both recipes are left in the oven for several hours. And, you might avoid meringue-making on a rainy day, as the damp weather can sometimes affect the airy crunchy texture, thus producing a sweet gummy thing that sticks to one’s teeth … not a good look for Valentine’s Day.
Recipe A: This meringue includes pecans and chocolate chips, so it is light and airy with sweet and crunchy surprises in every bite. I like to make them small so that I can just pop the whole cookie in my mouth at once … in a polite manner, of course.
Meringue Kisses with Chocolate and Pecans
2 egg whites
1/2 cup of sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract (I used Mexican vanilla)
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with foil.
Beat egg whites until stiff, adding sugar gradually. Beat at high speed for 5 minutes. Fold in vanilla, chips and nuts. Drop from a teaspoon onto a foil covered cookie sheet. Put in oven, and TURN OFF HEAT. Leave overnight or for at least 8 hours. Cookies should be dry and crisp all the way through. Yields about 24, depending on the size of your dollops.
Recipe B: This meringue version is a Weight Watchers recipe, so, not only is it tasty, it’s figure friendly! (Only one point for two cookies!) It is also a split recipe, with half vanilla and half chocolate, so it looks very pretty in its presentation.
Chocolate and Vanilla Meringue Cookies from Weight Watchers Weekly
4 egg whites
1/2 tsp distilled white or cider vinegar (I used white)
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract (I used Mexican vanilla)
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with foil.
In a large bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until frothy. Add vinegar; beat until soft peaks form. Increase speed to high and gradually add sugar; beat until glossy stiff peaks form. Beat in vanilla.
Remove half of meringue to another bowl; stir in cocoa until blended.
Spoon tablespoons of both meringues onto prepared baking sheets about 1 inch apart each, making about 44 cookies–half vanilla and half cocoa. Or you can make marbleized cookies by spooning 1/2 tablespoon of each type of meringue into a mound and then swirling the two together with your fingers.
Bake until meringues feel dry and crisp all the way through, about 3 hours. Turn off oven; leave meringues in oven for 1 hour. (I left them all night.) Transfer baking sheets to wire racks to cool completely. Peel meringues off foil and store in an airtight container at room temperature. Yields about 2 cookies per serving.
Our first judge, Margaret, chose Version B, because (and I forgot about this concern) she doesn’t like pecans. While Judge Jim chose Version A, because, he does like pecans. So we had to call it a tie. Happily, both versions looked great together after they were packaged for the winning girls soccer team … I know, it’s not really a macho looking soccer snack, but after a tough soccer game, there’s nothing like a little sugar to sweeten the win.
So, happy Valentine’s Day everyone, and as Bobby says at the end of each show, “So to all you cooks out there, keep doing what you do. But ask yourself this: Are you ready for a Throwdown?”