When I was little, I was convinced that the clouds tasted like whipped cream and cotton candy. Now that Iâm a mature adult, I know better. They taste like Hazelnut Mocha Meringues.
Meringues are probably the one major French contribution to the world of pastry that doesnât involve copious amounts of butter. In place of the typical flour, baking powder, and classic bakery ingredients, meringues are comprised of eggs whites whipped into a fluffy tizzy, along with sugar, and the flavorings of your choice. The creamy, shiny batter is then scooped or piped into little rounds, then baked at a low temperature. The result is a melt-in-your mouth confection that is light and crispy on the outside, and soft and chewy on the inside.
I was introduced to meringues when I studied abroad in France. Pastry shops were a necessary part of my daily routine, and I was initially attracted to meringues because they are one of the least expensive pastries in the case. What a deal! After one bite, I was smitten these sweet, ethereally light treats.
Meringues fascinate me endlessly, mostly because I still cannot get over the miracle of egg whites.Â What begins as a clear liquid is transformed to stiff peaks that become the building blocks of this delightful dessert. No wonder I associate meringues with cloudsâthey taste heavenly!
In addition to being a naturally light way to satisfy your sweet tooth, meringues are endlessly customizable. Hazelnut Mocha Meringue Cookies combine three of my favorite flavors: deeply toasted hazelnuts, espresso, and dark chocolate.
I often find that meringues can easily become too sweet, but the dark chocolate and coffee temper the sweetness perfectly. The hazelnuts are rich and warm, giving the meringues extra depth of flavor. The final combination is a fabulously-flavored meringue cookie that is sweet enough to feel like dessert but not so sweet that you can only handle a few bites. Translation: prepare to eat more than one!
If you are feeling fancy, you can pipe these Hazelnut Mocha Meringue Cookies into pretty shapes, but I personally love the simplicity of spooning the batter with a little ice cream scoop. The meringues crackle as they bake, making them extra fun to pull apart and munch.
The next time you are looking for a sweet treat that satisfies but wonât weigh you down, search no farther than Hazelnut Mocha Meringue Cookies.Â
We love that these meringue cookies are naturally gluten free. If you're looking for more cookies like these, try Erin's gluten free coconut cookies recipeÂ or her gluten free chocolate orange cookies too.
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts, whole and toasted
- 1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 4 egg whites, room temperature (large)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place the oven racks in the upper and lower third positions. Preheat oven to 300Â°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat mat and set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor (mini if possible), combine the hazelnuts, chocolate, and espresso powder. Pulse until finely ground. Set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Set aside.
In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or a large mixing bowl, whip the egg whites and salt on medium speed, until the whites are no longer clear. (Ensure your mixing bowl is perfectly clean and dry, or the whites will not whip properly.) Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to whip, adding the granulated sugar 1 tablespoon at a time as you go. Continue whipping until the whites are firm and hold stiff peaks. They should be very shiny. Beat in the vanilla extract.
With a large rubber spatula, gently and quickly fold in the powdered sugar mixture, until most streaks are gone, trying to deflate the egg whites as little as possible. Lightly fold in the chocolate-hazelnut mixture, just until combined.
With a small ice cream scoop, drop the meringues by rounded tablespoons 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes, then without opening the oven door, reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees F and continue baking for 1 additional hour. Remove the baking sheets from the oven, then let the meringues stand at room temperature on the baking sheets. Carefully pull off the meringues off of the baking sheet and serve. Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.