March 29 2020
Meringue cookies are a staple in our household when it comes to Passover desserts. They are always on the dessert buffet, and are nibbled on throughout the eight days of Passover. Besides being delicious, they have no flour or leavening, which makes them perfect for observing the traditions of this beautiful Spring holiday.
There are many different versions of meringue cookies, but this one stands out. It has a ribbon of hazelnut butter running through the whipped egg whites and the cookies are topped with crushed coffee beans. The flavor is decadent but the texture is light.
A few keys to this recipe:
Don't make meringues if the humidity is high. The humidity will weigh down the egg whites and you'll end up with weepy, chewy cookies (not ideal).
Because this recipe is Kosher-for-Passover, I eliminated the cream of tartar that you usually find in meringue recipes. I replaced it with a small amount of lemon juice. The acid that you get from adding cream of tartar or lemon juice will give you a sturdier meringue.
Add the sugar to the egg whites very slowly. If you add it too quickly, the whites will deflate and you'll have to start over again. But, don't be too slow or you'll never get done! It's a balancing act. I add the sugar in about 1 to 2 minutes.
If you follow these simple tips, your meringues will be perfect every time!
Stiffness of white prior to adding hazelnut butter
being folded in to whites
Folded hazelnut butter into meringue
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Hazelnut & Coffee
Makes 18-24 depending on size
Active Time: 25 minutes
Bake Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
1 cup hazelnuts
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 tsp white vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp coffee beans, chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F. Toast hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, 10–12 minutes. Remove nuts and reduce oven temperature to 200°. Bundle nuts in a kitchen towel and rub vigorously to remove skins (it’s okay if some skins remain). Spread out and let cool.
Blend hazelnuts and salt in a food processor until a smooth, creamy nut butter forms (it should be pretty fluid; keep processing if still stiff); set aside.
Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat egg whites and vinegar until frothy, about 1 minute. With motor running, gradually add granulated sugar and beat until medium peaks form, about 5 minutes. Test the meringue by rubbing a small amount between your fingers; if you still feel some sugar, continue to beat for 2-3 more minutes until most of sugar has dissolved.
Transfer meringue to a large bowl and gently fold in half of reserved hazelnut butter, leaving plenty of streaks. Add remaining hazelnut butter and fold once just to barely blend. Mixture should be marbled with thick ribbons of nut butter.
Spoon heaping spoonfuls of meringue onto parchment-lined baking sheets (meringues will flatten slightly as they bake, so make them tall) and top with coffee beans. Bake until dry, 2–2½ hours. Turn off heat and let cool in oven.
Meringues can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
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