Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Chocolate Pecan Meringues with Easy Berry Sauce


Two words of advice - Valentine's Day. It's next Tuesday!  If you are looking for an easy but impressive dessert to serve your sweetheart, this is it. 


Only a few simple ingredients are needed to create these beautiful, swirled puffs of chocolate and cocoa.  The recipe calls for espresso powder which is easy to find at the store, but if you'd like to try making your own, I've included directions below.


The cool and dry indoor humidity of winter is the best time to make meringues. Shatteringly crisp on the outside but chewy and decadent on the inside, these are sure to impress.


Alone, these cookies are delightful, but if you wish, you can make a simple frozen berry sauce in less than 30 minutes.  Topped with a scoop of fine vanilla ice cream and berry sauce, you can turn the meringues into a spectacular dessert.  Be sure to use a very sharp serrated knife to cut the tops off of the meringues or they could shatter and break.  If you prefer, you can use the back of a spoon and make a shallow indentation in the top of the meringues before you bake them (think of the pre-made sponge shortcake indentation).  Or, simply fill an ice cream dish with ice cream and berry sauce and serve the meringue cookies on the side!


Speaking of hearts and love, I have been working on creating some special baby shower games using art that I purchased on Etsy from some very talented artists.  Good friends are expecting their first grandchild in June. Don't you love this baby fox with the heart on its chest?


Whatever your plan for Valentine's Day, whether it's spending time with your special loved one or by yourself watching a good movie with a bowl of meringue cookies, I wish you a very happy day!

Chocolate Pecan Meringue Cookies

Printable Recipe

3 large room temperature egg whites*
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup superfine sugar*
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup toasted pecans, finely chopped* (optional)
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons espresso powder
Pinch of salt

*Tips: Place whole eggs in a dish of warm water to get them to room temperature more quickly. If you have a coffee/spice grinder or a food processor you can make your own superfine sugar by pulsing several times. Roast pecans in a 350F oven for about 7 minutes. Allow to cool, then chop finely.

Preheat oven to 225F and line a 18 x 13 inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.

Place egg whites into a medium bowl and add the cream of tartar. With a hand mixer, beat the egg whites at low speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. Turn the the speed up to medium and add the sugar while beating, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the egg whites are stiff and glossy. This will take about 1 minute.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the meringue and fold in gently with a spatula to incorporate. Only fold a few times, you want the the meringue to look marbled.

Spoon eight 1/2-cup mounds of meringue onto the prepared baking sheet. Using the back 
of a spoon, gently swirl the meringues into approximately 3 inch rounds, making a peak at the top. If desired, you can use the spoon to make an indentation in the top of the meringues if you wish to use them as a base for ice cream and berry sauce.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the meringues are firm on the outside but still chewy in the 
center. Cool completely.

Meringues can be stored in an airtight container, separating layers with parchment paper, for about a week.

Adapted from: Chocolate Chip Espresso Meringues from Food and Wine

Simple Frozen Berry Sauce

Printable Recipe

2 cups mixed frozen berries (organic preferred) such as strawberries, blueberries and raspberries
1/4 cup sugar or honey
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Place berries in a small saucepan. Over low heat, allow the berries to thaw and soften until they release their juices. Add the sugar or honey and turn the heat to medium low and simmer for about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust sweetness, if necessary.

Remove from heat and mash berries with a large fork or pastry blender. Add the fresh lemon juice and allow to cool.

Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to use. May be reheated gently in the microwave for about 30 seconds when ready to serve.

How to Make Your Own Espresso Powder


This makes about 1-1/2 tablespoons of espresso powder.

If you have an espresso maker at home, after brewing a double shot, save the grounds or ask your barista to give you the grounds after you order your next espresso drink at the coffee shop.

Spread the grounds on a small baking sheet and spread them out to dry.

Preheat the oven to 300F and place the baking sheet in the oven and allow the grounds to toast for 30 minutes.

Allow the grounds to cool and pulse them in a coffee/spice grinder until finely ground.

38 comments:

  1. Oh Susan, these meringue cookies look awesome...I love how you describe them...crispy and chewy...heavenly...the combination of chocolate, espresso and pecan just sound delicious!
    I hope you are having a fabulous week :)

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    1. Thank you, Juliana! They are delicious :) I loved this combination!

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  2. Hey Susan - these look fantastic - you had me at "Shatteringly crisp on the outside but chewy and decadent on the inside!" They look amazing. How cool you make your own express powder - awesome!

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    1. I wish I had begun making espresso powder sooner! I can't tell you how many jars of espresso powder went to taste since I just don't use it very often. Such a simple solution and it worked great. Thank you, Tricia!

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  3. Adorable fox:)
    Never knew re the espresso powder .must be more flavorful..than my big jar lol.

    So pretty!

    That is what a good macaron should be..crisp on the outside,and just a bit of chew inside.:)

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    1. Thank you, Monique! The espresso powder is SO fresh and flavorful. We loved these meringues. Oh my, so good :)

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  4. Those are a very special and beautiful dessert without too much difficulty. I do like the little fox wearing a heart...cute!

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  5. Oh boy do these look delicious! I can hardly wait for an excuse to make them! Just wait until I get home.

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  6. These meringues look really impressive! The colour contrast between meringue and red berry sauce is just stunning, Susan.

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    1. It was a delicious combination too :) Thank you, Angie!

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  7. I haven't made meringues in years! You have inspired me. I'm happy to have the espresso tip because I've certainly wasted my share.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  8. Hi Susan, I saw these beauties first on IG and thought there she goes again these are gorgeous. You always prepare the most appropriate meal, dish or dessert for each holiday. The little fox with the heart is adorable.

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  9. These are beautiful. It's almost like finding a surprise inside. I've never seen these before. Can't wait to try them.

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  10. a wonderful combination Susan, these meringues look so delicious ! A warm hug from Trieste

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    1. We enjoyed them very much, Chiara :) Thank you! xoxo

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  11. OMG these are gorgeous! Love the combination of the meringues and berry sauce- even better idea to join them with vanilla ice cream! YUM! And the little fox with the heart is adorable. Have a great weekend, xoxo

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    1. My words exactly the first time I had a bite :) Thank you, Ladies!

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  12. I've always wanted to make a chocolate meringue and yours look fabulous. I can only imagine how delicious they taste.

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    1. Dangerously delicious! At least there is no flour involved :)

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  13. These look amazing and very very festive. I'd love to try them.
    Amalia
    xo

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  14. Susan, these look wonderful and I love how versatile they are. Although I'm not sure they'd last long enough around my house to make it to dessert. I have a feeling they are quite addictive!

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    1. They are addictive, Chris, but we've used restraint. At least they still taste good a few days after making them :) Thank you!

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  15. I'm drooling! Perfect dessert...but you are so right! Florida and meringues do not like each other. I used to make brandy snaps all the time, but they get soggy too. You have to make and serve these kinds of desserts right away! Fun to use flavors in the meringues, Susan.

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    1. I knew they wouldn't be possible for those in humid areas ;) I think I'll need to try some brandy snaps before we get humid too! Thank you, Barbara!

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  16. Great post, Susan! They're perfect for Valentine's Day! It has been a long time since I've made meringues and your version works for me! Happy Valentine's Day!

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  17. What an elegant dessert to celebrate Valentine's! They look absolutely tempting Susan! Perfect pictures as well!

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  18. Beautiful dessert Susan. Just left Monique's blog and saw your beautiful watercolor. You are a gal of many talents!

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    1. Monique and I do share many of the same hobbies. She is more dedicated to her art than I am :) Thank you, Penny!

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  19. Wow, these look fabulous. I adore meringues! They are so light and wonderful, but never thought to add chocolate to them! Yum.

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  20. I have a weakness for pecans and a great love for chocolate. These meringues have got to be in my future…they sound great.

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