WHITE CHOCOLATE AND HAZELNUT MERINGUES

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This recipe is pretty dear to my heart. I’ve honed it over a good few years and it’s been a staple at home for ages. These white chocolate and hazelnut meringues are amazingly simple once you have the knack but meringue has this air mystery around it, people think it’s very complicated to get right so are generally pretty impressed. All in all, a win win!

I’ll hold my hands up and admit that I went through a very naughty stage growing up. People who know me are all too aware that when it comes to sweet foods I have the will power of a tiny gnat. I was also home alone after school a fair bit growing up and so the result was I got into a dangerous cycle of baking batches of goodies for myself that, I am ashamed to admit, sometimes no one else would ever see. I used to scoff the lot… And THEN have dinner so my parents wouldn’t suspect anything. I was the real life version of the fat Monica from friends.

One good thing that came from those guilty bakes was this recipe. Although at the time I used our AGA, I’ve since cooked them all over the show so there’s no issue in a normal oven. The key is just a long bake at a low temperature.

 

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The ingredients below will make one batch of about 20 depending on how generous your dollops are. I’m not going to pretend I ever ponce around trying to make them look refined; they are what they are, rustic.

  • 6 egg whites
  • 12oz caster sugar
  • 300g roughly chopped white chocolate
  • Couple of drops of vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp white wine/rice vinegar
  • 75-100g chopped hazelnuts

Preheat your oven to 110 degrees celsius.

In a large bowl whisk the egg whites with an electric whisk until they form stiff peaks. This is usually no less than a minute and given it’s six eggs, I would suggest 90 seconds minimum. Don’t skimp on your whisking or your meringues will slop and sink.

Add half of the sugar and whisk again for another two minutes. Again you’re aiming for stiff peaks.

Add the remaining sugar and whisk until combined. Make sure to dig your whisk down to the bottom (there’s a lot of mixture and you want the sugar evenly distributed).

Now’s the point to add your vanilla extract and vinegar, whisking until combined.

Fold in your white chocolate chunks and half the chopped hazelnuts. I like to have so e decent sized chunks of chocolate and some smaller ones which almost disappear but leave behind a delicious tasting meringue.

Spoon your mixture onto a lined baking tray making sure you leave a good inch and a half gap between each in case the meringues spread slightly whilst cooking (the more you’ve whisked the less this should happen). Sprinkle the remaining hazelnuts on the top and whack them in the oven.

At this stage you realise how low maintenance meringues really can be. They will quite happily sit in the oven for hours at a very low temperature but if you want them crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle aim to leave them in for about 2.5-3 hours. It’s as much a judgement call as a science I’m afraid and depends entirely on how you like your meringue crispy and slightly golden or very soft and fluffy. Whatever floats your boat.

P.S. Sorry for the lack of photographs on this post. I considered making the meringues to shoot them as I went along but, like I said, I would probably just eat them all afterwards which is a terrible idea. Next time I’m making them for an occasion I’ll make sure I document it with some pretty snaps!

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