Gingerbread Kahlua Meringue Kisses

I'm a fan of simple, especially during the holidays.

During December alone there's always so much pressure! End of year tasks to finish, gifts to buy, appearances to make, fake/awkward smiles to be forced upon your face while you make nice with the in-laws and the friends of friends ... it's a lot of work!

With all of this hustle and bustle, I find little time is left for little pleasures in life, be they quiet time with a good book, binging while watching Netflix, or my personal favourite, a little baking time in the kitchen (not to mention blogging ... Christmas post after Christmas ftw)

So that being said, this time of the year, simple recipes are a must! No one wants to be stuck in the kitchen all day long, mixing and folding (and dropping things, and cursing under their breath ... and sometimes very much out loud) when they could be spending time with the ones they love, doing the things they love.

Enter the meringue.

This versatile dessert is easy to prepare, easy on time and ingredients, and just happens to be completely delicious. Whether piped into a nest to hold whipped cream and fresh berries, or made into "kisses" or drop cookies like we're doing today, you can't really go wrong. I'm going to show you how easy it is to do, and then you'll be on your way to meringue mastery.

First we start with a 200 F oven, and you'd be right by thinking that this temperature seems abnormally low. But essentially we're "drying" the meringues, not baking them, so we need a constant low temperature. That's one of the great things about this recipe, it's really one of those "set it and forget it" desserts.

Next we separate our eggs, as we're using egg whites only in this recipe. It's super important that there's no drops of yolk in the whites as just a few drops can really affect the ability of these whites to whip properly. That being said, separating eggs perfectly is a bit of an art form, so if some yolk does drip into your whites, like the obnoxious yellow jerkface that it is, here's a little trick: take an eggshell, dip it into the egg whites, and scoop the yolk out. That's it. Yolk is attracted to the shell, so no need to dump your hard work down the drain (literally!). This works when you drop egg shells in as well. You can store your egg yolks in an air tight container in the fridge for other uses (or for this which just happens to call for the exact amount of yolk we're left with [and also happens to be my guilty pleasure]. Sold).

Now we add the sugar and cream of tartar to our whites, and set over a double boiler, whisking until you can't feel the sugar granules anymore when you rub the mixture between your fingers. Transfer this mixture to your stand mixer with whisk attachment and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form, adding in your flavouring near the end. This Christmas I was given Gingerbread flavoured Kahlua liqueur that, truthfully, I would never drink. In this dessert however ... Christmasy perfection. You can use any extract you'd like, vanilla being the most popular choice, as well as a few drops of colouring to really personalize this dessert. And that's it! On a parchment lined baking sheet, pipe your meringues evenly spaced (I used a star tip, but you can use whatever you'd like). Then set in your preheated oven for about an hour. You'll know they're done when you can lift them off the baking sheet with no residue left behind.. If they're not quite done after an hour, check every 10 minutes afterward. Then shut the oven off completely, leave the oven door ajar, and let them sit there for about 30 minutes to cool and crisp up. Bam! You're done. Store these in an airtight container for a few days, or invite your friends over and demolish them immediately (the meringues, not your friends ...). If you're feeling generous they're beautiful packaged as a simple homemade gift for friends and family, but no one will blame you if you keep these all to yourself. At least I won't ;)

Happy Baking!

Somehow I was feeling generous ... the spirit of the holidays possessed me

4 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla (if using other flavourings, add to taste)


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Simply Sweet Sayings...

"A party without cake is just a meeting."

-- Julia Child