These crisp, chewy little meringue kisses are so simple, yet so good. Plain, without food coloring or chocolate, they’re an addictive treat, but for the holidays, a few drops of red food coloring and a collar of white chocolate make them amusingly reminiscent of little Santa hats. You could instead add a few drops of green coloring, dip them in white or dark chocolate, and call them elf hats. It’s the spirit of the thing that your kids will appreciate! When it comes to the dipping, the chocolate isn’t hot, and this isn’t a particularly messy job, so it’s perfect for any small children who may be hanging about. In my house, boys on the cusp of six turned out to be ideal for the project.
- Yield: 3 Dozen Meringues
- 2 egg whites
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Red food coloring, preferably paste
- 1½ cups (9 ounces) white chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 200°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone sheet. (Do not use wax paper; it will stick badly! If you don’t have the right liners, grease the baking sheet and dust it with flour, shaking off the excess.)
- In a large glass mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with a hand mixer until soft peaks form. Sprinkle in the sugar, then add the vanilla and a few drops of red food coloring. Go as red as you dare but don't add to much liquid color; paste coloring will make for a more intense final product. Continue beating until the mixture is thick and glossy.
- Using a teaspoon, drop small dollops of the meringue close together on the baking sheet, lifting the spoon as you drop in order to form a peak on each hat.
- Bake for 45 minutes, then turn off the oven. Crack the oven door a little to let the heat escape, and let the meringues cool completely in the oven, an hour or so.
- Put the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave it on high for 1 minute. Stir vigorously, then continue to microwave it in 10-second blasts, as necessary, stirring after each, until the chocolate is smooth. Each time you stir, wait a few moments before heating it again; the chocolate may smooth without further cooking. You must be especially careful not to overheat white chocolate chips, or they’ll seize into a stiff mass.
- Dip the base of each meringue in the white chocolate and set it back on a prepared baking sheet. Let the chocolate firm up at room temperature, then store the meringues in an airtight container for 3 or 4 days.