There are three main types of meringue, French, Italian and Swiss. Each use the same base of egg whites and sugar, but use different methods of bringing them together to create a meringue. Fun fact… in Switzerland it is customary to give three kisses on the cheek when greeting friends and family, so it seemed only right that these particular kisses should be Swiss.
French meringue is made by whipping up cold egg whites, then adding sugar and continuing to whip until you have stiff peaks. Italian meringue whips up cold egg white then adds a hot sugar syrup to partially cook the egg whites while making the meringue. Swiss meringue heats the sugar and egg whites together at the beginning of the process over a double boiler and is then whipped until cool. Personally, I like making the Swiss one the best. It is a very stable meringue which means it is harder for it go wrong – always good if you ask me!
You will see in the picture below how the mixture should hold itself when it’s ready to be piped. When you stir the balloon whisk through the mixture there should be quite a lot of resistance. This is key in making these tiny meringues hold their shape and deliver their crispy-chewiness. After a dusting of cocoa powder they are ready for a long, slow bake – we don’t want any colour on the surface.
They are melt in the mouth moments, cute and addictive. It’s (far too) easy to pop 5 of these in your mouth at once… maybe we should have some kind of contest? The kisses are a little like Macarons, being meringue based, but they are just pure meringue rather than having a solid like almond meal added as well.
Depending on what you fancy, you could make these all sorts of different colours or flavours. I’ve enjoyed experimenting for other recipes! If you want to colour the meringue I would recommend gel food colouring. It’s more concentrated in colour so you won’t need as much and the gel won’t alter the texture of the mixture as much as liquid food colouring. You could dip the finished kisses in chocolate for a fun twist, or even sandwich two together end to end with some kind of filling! I went for a simple dusting of cocoa powder for a subtle chocolate flavour. Who doesn’t love chocolate?
How cute would these look in a little gift box for a friend or as a centre piece for an afternoon tea? Give them a go and let me know if you try any different colours or flavours!
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Swiss Meringue Kisses
2 Egg Whites
112g Caster Sugar
1-2 Tsp Cocoa Powder
Note: I would recommend a freestanding mixer for making this meringue due to the long beating time needed. Use the balloon whisk attachment.
1. Place the room temperature egg whites and the caster sugar into the bowl from your freestanding mixer and mix to combine. On the stove, fill a saucepan with about 1.5 inches of water and bring to a simmer. You should be able to place the bowl of your freestanding mixer on top of the saucepan so that the steam can heat it, but the water does not touch the bowl.
2. Once the water is simmering, place the bowl with the egg white mixture over it to create a double boiler. Mix by hand with the balloon whisk constantly for 3 minutes. The sugar should completely dissolve. You can test if it is done by rubbing a small amount of mixture between your thumb and index finger. If it feels grainy, continue whisking over the steam until it is completely smooth.
3. Transfer the bowl onto the freestanding mixer, attach the balloon whisk and beat on a high speed for 10 minutes or until the bowl is completely cool. You will be left with a very stiff meringue that is almost marshmallow-y in texture. There will be stiff peaks that support themselves when the whisk is lifted out and turned over.
4. Preheat the oven to 100 degrees Celsius. Place the meringue in a piping bag fitted with a round tip. On a flat baking tray lined with parchment paper, pipe dots of mixture so they are about 1.5 inches round. Release the pressure on the bag and lift it away to create a point on top. Dust the kisses lightly with cocoa powder and bake for 90 minutes. After 90 minutes turn off the oven and leave the meringues in it for another 30-60 minutes to continue drying. After this they are done and should be crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside!