This recipe is part of Crispianity: a column devoted to all foods crispy and crunchy, two of the most underappreciated attributes of a great dish. Author Adeena Sussman is a food writer and recipe developer, pairing here with a friend, photographer Evan Sung. Sussman’s most recent cookbook, co-authored with Lee Brian Schrager, is Fried and True: More Than 50 Recipes for America’s Best Fried Chicken and Sides.
Chances are you’ve had a meringue, but one with a hidden Nutella center? That might make you look twice. The homemade hazelnut-chocolate spread is easy to pull off, but if you want to take a shortcut, by all means go for store-bought. With their snowy white exterior and gooey, dark brown center, these meringues will take the cake this Valentine’s Day.
- 1 cup whole toasted blanched hazelnuts, plus 1/3 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the chocolate filling:
- Place the whole hazelnuts and 1 tablespoon oil in a food processor and process until a smooth paste is formed, 4-5 minutes, scraping down sides if necessary.
- Add confectioner's sugar, cocoa, chocolate, remaining tablespoon of oil and salt and process until smooth.
- Transfer to a container and chill until mixture has hardened, at least 2 hours and up to 8.
For the meringues:
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and reserve.
- Place egg whites in the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer with cream of tartar and salt.
- Beat until foamy, stop mixer and add sugar and vanilla, then beat on high until mixture forms stiff peaks, 4-5 minutes.
- Fold in toasted hazelnuts.
- Pipe 1 tablespoon meringue onto parchment.
- Using a small melon baller, scoop 2 teaspoons chocolate mixture and place in center of meringue.
- Top with an additional 2 teaspoons meringue, completely covering chocolate (see photo).
- Repeat with additional meringue, leaving about 2 inches of room between cookies (you will have a little extra chocolate filling, perfect at room temperature for spreading on matzo).
- Bake until meringues have set and edges are very lightly browned, 25-30 minutes, then remove from oven and cool completely.
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