Chocolate might reign supreme as the sweet choice for Valentine's Day but if something lighter tickles your fancy meringue hearts just might make your heart flutter.
The ingredients are very simple: egg whites, cream of tarter, granulated sugar and vanilla.
The heart shape is made by piping the meringue through a 1/2" round cake decroating tip placed in a pastry bag.
Follow the pictorial tutorial for piping instructions.
The recipe and tips for success follows.
Meringue Heart Cookies Recipe
1/2c. egg whites (approx. 3 - 4 large eggs, room temperature)
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 c. super fine granulated sugar (this is called Baker’s sugar, it is not powdered)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 225 F. Line 4 baking sheets with parchment paper for this recipe.
Place egg whites in a mixer bowl fitted with a whisk attachment.
Beat on medium speed until egg whites are foamy. Add the cream of tartar and
continue beating until soft peaks form.
Keeping the mixer on medium speed, begin to add sugar one tablespoon at a
time waiting 30 seconds between addition.
With all sugar added, beat the mergingue at high speed for an additional eight
minutes to dissolve any remaining granulated sugar.
If food or cake decorating color is to be added, stir into meringue on low to
medium speed. Scrape the bowl.
Fill a pastry bag with a plain round tip that has an opening approximately 1/2 inch
and add meringue mixture. See photos and TIPS below for piping and decorating
Bake 1 hour at 225 F. Turn off oven and let the meringues cool completely
with the door shut.
Tips To Success
Eggs - bring to room temp or warm eggs by placing them in bowl of hot
tap water for 10 minutes before separating whites from the yolks.
The yolks are not needed. If any broken yolk gets into the whites,
you’ll have to start over. The whites won’t form stiff peaks with any trace of yolk in them.
If the tips on the bottom of the hearts are too long and pointy after you’ve
piped them, pinch it off and pinch a new point with your fingers.
Wet your fingers, just slightly, and smooth over to fix any imperfections.
If the hearts have air bubbles after piping you can smooth over as
directed above or leave them 'as is'. It's part of nature and charm of fluffy stuff.
Meringues don’t to be fussed with too much.
Disco Dust is edible glitter and lends a nice sparkle for decoration. It's pretty. It's optional but I like using it. To apply, use a dry craft brush, dipping the tip in the edible glitter. Holding the brush, tap it over the hearts. You‘ll find the method that works best for you.
Let piped hearts sit for at least 10 minutes before putting into the oven. This allows the meringues to crust over slighty and will prevent them from cracking while baking. I found this out by trial and error and it's the key to perfect
Baking - At the end of the baking period, turn off the oven but keep the door shut and let meringues cool completely in the oven. They will not brown. You can even leave them in the oven overnight or until you wish to use them. That’s what I do.
How to tell when they meringues are done:
The meringues will easily peel off the parchment and will be completely dry inside.
How are they best storaged and kept?
Never in the fridge. They are suspectible to moisture so keep them in a moisture-proof storage container or plastic zip bag. There are also moisture-resistant cello bags available.
* More Valentine's Day treats and ideas can be found in past posts and on my blog, Pink Martinis and Pearls:
Boston Creme Cupcakes, Collegiate Care Package, 'Glass' Heart Valentine's Cookies, Valentine's Day 'Tushie Cookies'
Have a sweet day! :)