Happy Valentine’s Day, and Happy Snow Day to you lucky people out there! I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day, whether or not I was in a relationship. My mom always made delicious holiday treats, such as cupcakes, pink peppermint brownies, and chocolate-covered strawberries. Plus I bought Disney princess lollipop valentines for my friends and classmates…in fact, I still sometimes do this as an adult!
As I mentioned on last year’s V-Day post, I hate most pink and fluffy things. I’m delighted to share another exception to this rule, the meringue!
Meringue is a dessert made from whipped egg whites and sugar. Sometimes extra binding agents, such as gelatin, cornstarch, and cream of tartar, are added to make the meringue less fragile. The mixture may be used as a cookie or a topping for cakes and pies (I’m still looking for that Rascal House lemon meringue pie recipe from Miami, if anyone has leads).
Some historians trace meringue back to an 18th century Swiss chef named Gasparini, who lived in the town of Meiringen (now part of Germany). Others argue that the pastry was born in England—a country rarely known for its tasty cuisine. Lady Elinor Fettiplace penned what might have been the first recipe for meringue in 1604 in Oxfordshire. The treat was called white bisket bread, and was circulated in Fettiplace’s cookbook.
One of the most famous meringue addicts was Marie Antoinette. As queen of France, Marie became notorious for throwing elaborate parties with elegant pastries and sweets. This frivolity of course ended in 1793 when she and her husband, King Louis XVI, were beheaded as part of the French Revolution.
Even so, meringue remains at the center of many French dishes, savory and sweet. While the first meringues were shaped with a spoon, it was the French who switched over to elegant designs created by piping the whipped egg white through a pastry bag.
For today’s recipe, I’ve opted to go old-school and shape the cookies without a piping bag. Hope you (and your valentines) enjoy!
For further reading:
Jackson, Linda and Jennifer Evans Gardner, Meringue. Utah: Gibbs Smith, 2012.
Raspberry Chocolate Kisses
These cookies are great for parties, or just to eat with your friends! They also make terrific gifts if wrapped in a nice container. Just be sure not to over-pack as they are quite fragile.
3 egg whites
¾ cups sugar
3 ½ tablespoons raspberry jello mix (cheap grocery store brand works too)
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1) Whip egg whites in an electric mixer on high speed for 2 minutes or until foamy.
2) Add sugar and jello mix and beat until stiff peaks form
3) Pour in chocolate chips and vinegar. Whip for an additional minute.
4) Drop batter by the spoonful onto parchment paper-lined cookie sheets.
5) Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, no not allow to brown.
6) Once cooled, pack cookies in airtight containers for your valentine(s).