Meringue Acorns with Salted Pistachios and Chocolate
Ingredients for Meringue:
- 3 egg whites room temp (you can bring them to room temp in warm water for 15 min)
- 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Toppings and Coating:
- 1 cup truffle chocolate sold at Costco or melted semi-sweet chocolate
- 1 1/2 cups of nuts I used a mix of 3/4 cup salted pistachios and 3/4 cup hazelnuts
How to Make Meringue Acorns: Preheat Oven to 200° F.
Add 3 egg whites, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/8 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp cream of tartar and beat on high speed for 7 minutes until you have glossy ribbons and the peaks stay fairly stiff. Beat in 1 tsp vanilla on high speed for another min or so or until well incorporated (scrape down the bowl if you see stray streaks of vanilla).
Use a 3/8" piping tip. I used my wilton 2A tip with a piping bag and pipe meringue kisses onto a parchment lined large cookie sheet (about 1" apart). You want the base of your "kisses" to be about 1-inch wide. Here's my technique, squeeze until your base is 1" in diameter then release pressure as you lift your bag up to create a pointy tip. This might work with a big ziploc bag and a 3/8" round hole cut in the corner. I don't see why not.
Bake at 200˚F for 1 hour 30 min. They should slide easily off the parchment paper easily when they are done. Remove from oven and pull the parchment paper off the baking sheet and let the meringues cool on the paper at room temp. When they come out of the oven, they will be crisp on the outside a little marshmallowy on the inside, but will harden as they cool.
Once they cool to room temp. Grind up some nuts in a food processor by pulsing them until they are coarse crumbles. After about the 5th hazelnut, I was really wishing I had just bought the pre-shelled nuts. My poor fingers. My husband had to finish them off ;).
Melt some chocolate over very low heat just until melted. Dip the bottoms of the meringue kisses into the chocolate and let any excess poor off, then pat/roll the chocolaty bottom into your chopped nuts. You can also spoon the nuts onto your acorns. The more nuts and chocolate, the merrier.
P.S. I tested these with both organic sugar from Costco and regular white granulated sugar and had much prettier results with the granulated sugar. Bummer. I think it was because the granules were bigger with the organic sugar and they didn't blend into the eggs very well. They granulated sugar meringue also had a better crunch.
PPS. P.S. If you are using chocolate truffles, you want it thin enough to coat a spoon. Don't over melt them (they melt super fast) or it won't coat well. If that happens, let it sit and cool down a bit so you get a real nice coating. You can also heat it back up again if needed. This chocolate isn't as finicky as semi-sweet chocolate when it comes to re-heating.