Look at those beautiful, pillowy hearts!
Don’t you just want to dive in?! I mean, I do…Well, actually, I already have and you should too!
Meringue is one of those desserts that is highly intimidating. Maybe it’s the name. Maybe it’s the technique. Maybe it’s just that it looks too pretty to be easy to make, but I really think you should give it a try, I’m so glad I did!
Basic meringue is made up of beaten egg whites and sugar with different flavors added to change it up a bit. There are three main types, French meringue, Italian meringue and Swiss meringue, all of which produce delicious results. For my cookies, I went with a Swiss Meringue, which I feel is the simplest way to make it without having a major fail. For the Swiss technique, you first beat the egg whites and sugar for a few minutes by hand over a pot of simmering water to heat the egg whites and dissolve the sugar. Then the mixture is beaten using a stand mixer until the egg whites become glossy, fluffy, pillowy, marshmallow-y goodness.
It’s like magic.
I’m always so excited when it gets to that stage and can’t stop “sneaking” bites of it because it is JUST SO HEAVENLY. I could seriously eat a whole bowl and not even notice.
Just thinking about that is making me want to make a batch and eat it straight….
Fine, half a batch? Is that so bad???
Anyway! Back to the actual recipe. I’ve made Swiss Meringue Buttercream several times now (more on that sooooon, I hope) and that is what really got me wanting to make these cookies. Every time the meringue portion of the recipe was complete, I would wish I didn’t have to add the butter to make buttercream right then and there so that I could bake some up and enjoy the fluffy-turned-crispy results.
Since Valentine’s Day is coming up, I wanted to make a very Valentine-y version, and this one turned out to be just that. Rose and Pink and Hearts and Sweetness all rolled into one. If that doesn’t scream Valentines, I don’t know what does ;). It might sound like I’m a die-hard Valentine celebrator, but to be honest, my husband is more of an I-don’t-want-to-be-told-when-to-show-my-love kind of guy so we don’t really celebrate it in the traditional sense. BUT I love themes and seasonal items (especially when it’s candy or chocolate or kitchen related), so I do fall for the heart shaped everything in stores this time of year. Who will be at target on February 15th stocking up on the sale items?? 😉 #Guilty
For the flavors, I paired rose water and pomegranate molasses which was absolutely addictive! I wanted to add a Middle Eastern flair to a European specialty, and that was most definitely achieved. The pomegranate molasses gave the meringues a nice tang without being overpowering, and the rose water added an exotic, candy-like element to the whole thing. I colored the meringue pink to make it a bit more festive. I initially had thought that maybe the pomegranate molasses would color the meringue pink, lol! If anything, it made the meringue a bit darker, but nothing close to pink. I used gel paste food coloring like you would normally use to color frosting so that it didn’t affect the consistency. You can definitely keep it white and it will be just as pretty, I just had some on hand so I went with it.
The easiest way to pipe meringues is with a a piping bag and tip, but if you don’t have any on hand, you can use a ziplock bag and cut the end off of one side and it works just as beautifully. You can adjust how big the meringues are depending on how much of the tip you cut off. It’s best to start small then trim a bit if you want your opening to be bigger. To make the heart shapes, I just piped tight little V’s, and loved the drawn look the baked up meringues had.
The smaller meringues baked up a bit better for this project because of the addition of the rose water and pomegranate molasses, so if you don’t want anything seeping out or the color changing, small is the way to go. They were also the perfect size for snacking (minis for the win) but beware, its hard to stop once you’ve had one!
I can’t wait to experiment more with meringue and share my findings with you all. It’s definitely something I didn’t expect to love so much and hope you give it a try!
- 2 Egg Whites, room temperature
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 1/8 tsp Salt
- 3/4 tsp Pomegranate Molasses
- 1/2 tsp Rose Water
- Pink Gel Paste Food Coloring, optional
- Preheat oven to 200 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Fill a medium pot with about 2 inches of water and bring the water to a simmer. This will serve as your double boiler. Use a pot that will hold the bowl of your stand mixer without the bottom of it touching the water.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer add the egg whites, sugar and salt and whisk to combine using the ballon whisk of your stand mixer.
- Place the bowl over the pot of simmering water and whisk constantly for about 3-4 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved. You can test it by rubbing a bit of the egg mixture between two fingers. Once it feels smooth, it is ready.
- Transfer the bowl to the stand mixer and attach the balloon whisk. Start whisking on low then gradually increase the speed to the highest setting and allow to whip until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 6-8 minutes. This is the heavenly, marshmallow-y stage.
- Sprinkle the rose water and pomegranate molasses over the top, add a bit of the pink gel paste, if using and whisk to combine.
- Fill a piping bag or zip lock bag with the meringue, snip off a bit of the end, and pipe tight little V's onto your parchment lined baking sheet. Other shapes can be made, but keep the size fairly similar so that the baking time is the same.
- Bake in preheated oven for an hour and a half to two hours. I start checking mine at about 1 hour 30 minutes. Once they are ready, you'll be able to lift the meringue off the parchment fairly easily.
- Allow to cool to room temperature and store in an airtight container. Serve them on their own or with fresh whipped cream and berries and enjoy!