My mother and I are in the midst of reading the entire Hannah Swensen Murder Mysteries series by Joanne Fluke. They are light reading, no big sex scenes, and there are recipes in each edition. I read one because I was looking for a new series...and half way through I knew Mom would love them. She's even finding large print editions at the library to go easier on her eyes. I like them because I can set them down, even read another book at the same time, and can pick them right back up without losing my place. Easy reads....and they are not embarrassing to share with my Mom :-)
In these books, main character, Hannah Swensen, owns a cookie shop...and since I'm big on cookies, I enjoy looking at the recipes she includes in each book. Her batches tend to make huge quantities so I haven't had the urge to actually make any of the recipes. However, she had a meringue cookie recipe with a Hershey Kiss in the middle. Meringues AND chocolate are an intensely happy combination for me :-)
So, I started to dig out the book I saw it in...and realized that the author quite likely had a web site with the recipes on them...so I googled. Drat, didn't find it. BUT, I found a list of the recipes and the name of the book where it appeared...the Cherry Cheesecake Mystery. I strolled my butt to the bookshelves in hopes that this was not one I had already mailed to my Mom. (I buy them first and then mail them to her after I have a few to send) Whew, I was in luck. (I felt sure I could have done these without a recipe, but I wanted to post it accurately since I was quoting the source). Well, glad I checked...I would never have thought of flour as an ingredient. Huh!
Well, here it is and I'm sure these will be awesome. I've been sitting here unwrapping Hershey Kisses while I typed and searched. Good grief...unwrap 5, eat 1, unwrap 5, eat 1. Yikes!
Adapted From Cherry Cheesecake Murder by Joanne Fluke
3 egg whites - at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup white granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
Approximately 36 Hershey Kisses - unwrapped
|Ingredients gathered and pre-measured|
Preheat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place Rack in middle position.
Separate egg whites and allow to come to room temperature to get the best volume for your meringues.
Prepare two baking sheets (I use a Professional Baking Sheet/Silpat) but the original recipe calls for parchment lined baking sheets prepared with baking spray and dusted lightly with flour. I've never heard of that for a meringue...but that's what it says, and I believe these were all tested prior to the the book being printed...because she references a person who does the testing in the Acknowledgements.
In a stand mixer bowl (you could do these by hand but you gotta have arm muscles and endurance for that) or a mixing bowl with hand-held electric mixer, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, salt, and vanilla until they hold a soft peak. Add the cup of sugar gradually, 1/4 cup at a time (I did 1 Tbsp at a time as I learned to do), and beating hard (on high) for 10 seconds after each addition. Sprinkle in the flour and beat on low speed, or fold if by hand.
|rub some of the meringue between your fingers - if you still|
feel gritty sugar, they are not ready.
|Nice stiff peaks ready for the flour...I almost forgot it....|
I'm not used to putting flour in meringue!
Drop little mounds of meringue on your prepared baking sheet...4 mounds in a row with 4 rows.
Place one Hershey's Kiss, point up, on each little mound of meringue without allowing it to touch the baking pan (you are going to encase the chocolate in meringue). Be sure you don't let the chocolate touch the baking sheet - really integral in getting them to release! Another note - do't push them down like I did in the photo below. Just set them on the bottom mound. The original recipe said to push them down into the dollop without letting them touch the baking sheet...and I did. However, there was such a small bit of meringue between the bottom of the baked cookie and the Hershey's Kiss - that several broke through that thin meringue base and plopped on the floor before I could bite into them...THAT was a bummer! So, make sure you have them just "perched" on the top of the meringue base.
|You can see I messed up and put too many on a baking sheet|
Bake at 275 degrees for about 45 minutes, until the meringue is dry to the touch and just slightly golden.
Allow to cool on baking sheet parked on a cooling rack. When completely cool, store in an airtight container in a dry place...not the refrigerator! In my humid environment we can only take out what we are eating at the moment - they start to get gummy within a few minutes of being out of the container.
Now, the original recipe said 30 kisses needed. And the yield shows 3 to 4 dozen cookies...and that doesn't add up. I screwed up and put 30 on one cookie sheet! I was talking on the phone with my son and didn't pay attention...went 5 across. I also used a piping bag so they would have cute little mounds and look more like kisses. Oh well, the bottom line - they spread a bit and touched sides when I put the candy on the bottom and pushed down a bit...bummer. Then, to make matters worse, they spread like a cookies in the oven (not like a meringue that just sits there and holds its shape...guess that's the flour component and the weight of the kiss). Word to the wise - do the 16 to a tray...it matters - if they stick together they are like cement to separate and the cookies crack. No need for fancy piping, they are going to spread! I ended up with exactly 40 "cookies" but they all touched each other so they aren't as pretty as they might have been. They sure do taste good though! Crunchy on the outside, melt in the mouth down to a chewy nugget, big bite of chocolate. Yum!
Bon Appetit, Y'all!
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