Cookie of the Day
Leading up to Christmas, we’ll be featuring one standout cookie recipe every day. Let the holiday cookie exchanges begin!
Chocolate-Dipped Hazelnut Meringues
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. fine sea sealt
1 cup superfine sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and coarsely chopped
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Position 2 racks in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 275 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
To toast hazelnuts, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the shelled nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden brown and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Wrap the hot hazelnuts in a clean kitchen towel and let stand for 1 minute, then roll the nuts in the towel between your palms to rub off the skins (not all the skins will come off, which is fine).
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar. Beat on medium speed until foamy. Sprinkle in the salt. Raise the speed to high and beat in the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat in the vanilla. At this point, the egg whites should hold stiff, glossy peaks that curl at the tips. Using a silicone spatula, gently fold in the hazelnuts.
Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of the meringue onto the prepared baking sheets. (If you want more uniformly shaped meringues, spoon the meringue into a pastry bag and pipe it onto the parchment-lined pans.)
Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake until the edges of the meringues are pale golden, 35 to 40 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the meringues in the oven for 30 minutes without opening the oven door. Remove the baking sheets from the oven. Using a spatula, gently transfer the meringues to wire racks to cool completely. Reserve the parchment-lined baking sheets; you will use them after you dip the meringues in chocolate.
Put the chocolate in the top of a double boiler and set over (but not touching) barely simmering water. Heat, stirring,until the chocolate has melted. Stir in the oil. Remove from the heat.
Carefully pick up a meringue and dip the bottom into the hot chocolate, letting the excess drip off. Set the meringue, chocolate side down, on a reserved parchment-lined baking sheet. Dip the remaining meringues into the chocolate in the same way. Place in the freezer until the chocolate sets, about 5 minutes. Store the meringues in airtight containers, using a sheet of parchment paper to separate the layers, at room temperature for up to 1 week.
For more modern Italian recipes, be sure to check out our new cookbook Williams-Sonoma Rustic Italian.