You can’t have missed the pink assault on the senses as you approach any shop at the moment. It can only mean one thing, Valentines Day is on the horizon. For me, Valentines Day poses an interesting culinary dilemma, obviously I want to cook for my beloved carnivore but February 14th is also my Dad’s birthday. As a result Valentines Day has never really been a massive ‘lovey dovey’ event on the calendar for me but I appreciate that it features on most other people’s calendars, even if it’s just a girly get together to celebrate all things lovely and not needing a man (for this year at least).
Meringues will fit the bill for all guises of Valentines celebration. They are a perfect light dessert after a romantic dinner for two (or a birthday meal for 4 in my case) or as a sweet pick me up for your friends at your ‘no boys allowed’ party.
I decided on making meringue kisses, they are cute and I like the idea of little clouds of meringue, crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside (in my book a meringue has to have a chewy inside, you don’t want it just crumbling to dust). I used raspberry ripple flavour from the fantastic Sugar and Crumbs range. I have being using their icing sugars for some time now having discovered them at the Cake and Bake show last year. They provide a great option for flavours, especially flavours that could be hard to create yourself for example raspberry ripple just like you’d get in a childhood ice cream. As I opened the packet I was instantly transported back to memories of ice creams at the beach as a child (and adult)! Previously I’d just used icing sugar for a simple dusting or to make buttercream so branching out to create meringues with the icing sugar range shows you just how diverse this product is.
To make the meringues even more eye catching and more raspberry ripple like I swirled red food colouring through the mix to give a pink marbled effect. If you were using a different flavour then you could easily choose a colour to match your flavour and achieve the same look.
The meringues I made were sandwiched together using Sugar and Crumbs blueberry icing sugar to make a butter cream. It’s worth saying that you can be as creative or as adventurous as you like and select your flavours from their huge range.
My meringue kisses were quite sizeable (just like everything I make!) so I would suggest when you give this recipe a try you either size down the blob of meringue you put on the baking tray or just make individual kisses and not sandwich them together. It was a serious sugar rush, not something I’m adverse to but it depends on your taste, your conscience and your dentist fees how much sugar you can face on a plate.
It’s also possible to make this recipe as one big meringue for a pavlova, follow the same recipe just put it on the tray in one big circle, the baking time will be roughly the same.
Makes approx. 20 individual meringues and 10 kisses
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
115g caster sugar
115g Sugar and Crumbs raspberry ripple icing sugar
Red food colouring gel
For the blueberry butter cream –
125g Sugar and Crumbs blueberry icing sugar
40g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp milk
Preheat the oven to 110C (100C fan oven)
Line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment
Ensure your mixing bowl is spotlessly clean, any grease will affect the results.
Whisk the 4 egg whites using an electric mixer (or by hand if you fancy the work out) until fluffy and will stand in stiff peaks when you remove the beaters
Turn up the speed of the mixer and add the caster sugar a spoonful at a time, beating between each addition. When ready the mixture with be thick and glossy.
Tip: to test if the sugar has been completely mixed in, rub a small amount of mixture between your fingers, there should be no graininess.
Sift in the icing sugar a third at a time, gently folding it into the mixture. Once all the icing sugar is incorporated the mixture will look smooth and cloud like
Spoon the mixture on to the prepared baking tray using a dessertspoon to make individual kisses
Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, the meringues will sound crisp when tapped underneath
Switch the oven off and leave to cool completely in the oven with the door slightly ajar
Meanwhile, make the buttercream.
Beat the icing sugar and butter together in an electric mixer on a medium, slow speed until the ingredients come together
Turn the mixer down to a slow speed and add the milk
Once incorporated, turn the mixer to high speed and beat until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. This will take about 5 minutes.
To sandwich the kisses together pair together roughly evenly sized meringues and stick them together using a teaspoon of buttercream.
Please Note: Sugar and Crumbs provided me with samples of icing sugars to review. I developed this recipe based on their chosen flavours. I have used their products before and continue to purchase them for myself. All opinions are my own.