Let me tell you a little story.
Once upon a time, there was a little girl who loved to make her mother a nice cup of coffee. Not only because that entailed climbing the kitchen counter and earning the right to drink the last sip of her mom’s coffee, no, the little girl also loved the smell of ground coffee.
And when I say that she loved it, I mean that she LOVED – L.O.V.E.D. – it. In fact, she loved the smell of ground coffee so much that, before she would measure out the coffee and carefully scoop it in the coffeemaker, she would luxuriously inhale the rich, deep coffee aroma’s wafting out of the coffee tin.
Oh, how she loved it!
One day, however, one catastrophic, rainy Sunday, as the girl was making her mom a cup of coffee, she – ever so enthusiastically and with the measuring scoop in hand – stuck her nose in the coffee tin as usual to enjoy the earthy spiciness of the ground coffee. Maybe the tin was unexpectedly full… Maybe an open window let in a gust of wind just as the girl inhaled deeply… Maybe she was just a little too enthusiastic…
No one really knows what happened, but somehow the coffee granules – with their intoxicating smell but jagged, sharp edges – ended up in the girl’s nose. And it hurt. It hurt a lot. It hurt for days and days on end. It hurt during the day and it hurt during the night. It hurt as she was brushing her teeth and it hurt when she was riding her bike.
Days later, when the coffee granules were finally gone and the girl’s nose was back to normal, the girl had come to hate coffee. And ever since, whenever the girl – who grew up to be quite a cool and collected woman – would smell coffee, she would involuntarily start sneezing and coughing. And she never stuck her nose in the coffee tin again.
That little girl was me and this is the famous story of my peculiar childhood trauma. I still can’t stand the smell of coffee. But – and this is a big but – I DO like anything mocha flavored. Mocha buttercream, mocha ice cream, mocha mousse… You name it! Regarding my oversensitivity to coffee, this is quite surprising, because mocha is basically the same as coffee. Yes, these adorable meringue kisses could just as easily have been called coffee meringue kisses. And I love them!
I actually made them for my youngest sister’s birthday tea. I also made her a cake – which I will post about soon – but I thought I’d start with these little babies. Besides, for a blog that’s called ‘The Tough Cookie’ there aren’t nearly enough recipes for cookies on this site!
These are easy, cute and delicious and they make a perfect gift. All you need is some egg whites, sugar and instant coffee powder (try not to inhale too deeply).
Stir the ingredients together with a rubber spatula…
… then place the bowl on top of a pan with simmering water to allow the sugar to dissolve. You can check whether the sugar has dissolved properly by rubbing a bit of the mixture between your fingers.
Once the sugar has dissolved, you’re basically halfway there already! All you need to do now is to start a-whipping!
… and whip…
… and whip!
Until your meringue can hold funny little peaks like this one!
Next, fit a piping bag (I use disposable ones) with a big star tip.
By the way, I have no idea what kind of tip this is. Is was my grandma’s before she gave it to me and it’s not numbered or anything.
It’s almost antique, you know…
By the way, there are a few different ways to fill your piping bag, but for meringue I usually prefer this approach. The measuring cup allows you to easily scoop the sticky meringue into the bag, while enabling you you to use both of your hands so you won’t make a sticky mess out of your kitchen.
Once the bag is filled, pipe little kisses. You can pipe them really close together, because they won’t expand or anything.
By the way, curse the Dutch light for me while you do this…
Now all you need to do is bake them until they’re completely crisp, light and perfect! I guess you can take them out of the oven a little sooner if you prefer your meringues more on the chewy side, but I like them crisp.
When they’ve cooled, make yourself a big pot of tea (coffee anyone?) and…
- 4 large egg whites
- 250g (or 1¼ cup) granulated sugar
- 2½ teaspoons instant coffee powder
- Preheat the oven to 90°C or 195°F (standard oven setting).
- Add the egg whites, the sugar and the instant coffee powder to the bowl of a double boiler. Gently heat the mixture, stirring with a rubber spatula until the sugar has completely dissolved into the egg whites. To make sure the sugar has dissolved, rub a little of the mixture between your forefinger and thumb. Once the sugar has properly dissolved, you no longer feel any sugar grains.
- Take the bowl off the water bath and, using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the mixture until it holds stiff peaks, about 7 minutes.
- Line two baking sheets with baking parchment by sticking the parchment on the sheets with a little meringue.
- Transfer the meringue to a piping bag fitted with a medium star tip. Twist the end of the bag to seal and push the meringue down towards the tip. Pipe 5-cm (2-inch) kisses onto the prepared baking sheets.
- Dry the meringues out in the oven for about 3 hours, until completely crisp.
- Let the meringues cool completely before storing in an airtight container for up to a week.