Italian Meringue Kisses

At the end of the reception, send guests on their way with sweet kisses packaged in clear plastic boxes lined with patterned paper and tied with ribbon in a matching color.

  • Yield: Makes about 400

Photography: Ellen McDermott

Source: Martha Stewart Weddings, Spring 2006

Ingredients

  • 2 2/3 cups sugar
  • 9 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons plus 2 1/4 teaspoons coffee extract
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons chocolate extract
  • 12 ounces best-quality bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees. Bring sugar and 2/3 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Swirl pan to dissolve sugar. Wash down sides with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals from forming. Boil until syrup registers 238 degrees on a candy thermometer.

  2. Put egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; beat on low until foamy. Add cream of tartar. Raise speed to medium-high. Beat until stiff (but not dry) peaks form.

  3. With mixer running, slowly pour in hot sugar syrup. Raise speed to high. Beat until cooled, about 10 minutes. Place 1/3 of meringue in each of 2 bowls. Fold vanilla into 1 bowl. Fold 3 tablespoons coffee extract into other bowl. Sift cocoa over the mixer bowl; add chocolate extract and remaining 2 1/4 teaspoons coffee extract, and beat on high speed until combined.

  4. Transfer each batch to a separate pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip (such as Ateco #806). Pipe 1-inch kisses onto baking sheets lined with parchment, spacing about 3/4 inch apart. Bake until hard to the touch but not browned, 5 hours or overnight. Transfer kisses to wire racks; let cool completely. Kisses can be stored in airtight containers up to 1 week.

  5. Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in oil. Dip bottoms of kisses in melted chocolate; transfer to baking sheets lined with parchment paper to set, about 1 hour.

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