Being in the hospitality industry, my boyfriend + I are typically working on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. It’s a marathon working about 24 hours within 29, but it’s something that we know is going to happen and the team makes it a lot of fun to be there together.
This year due to COVID, the restaurant closed for the season right on New Year’s Eve with the last orders doing out early evening so we actually have the night to ourselves. We planned for two of our dear friends to come over for dinner and to simply celebrate safely so we could still feel festive going into the New Year. (We’ve been ‘podding’ with these friend the whole year so it was the safest we all could be while also enjoying the holiday.)
These angel beauties were a part our New Year’s Eve dinner as both a light bite before dessert and a crunchy topping to the chocolate mousse we enjoyed. Light, airy with a slightly caramel crunch, they’re highly satisfying to the sweet tooth with lingering deep chocolate taste.
You’ll see that I’ve been using an Italian meringue, where a sugar syrup is added to either gelatin for marshmallows or egg whites for meringue, a lot recently. I have found that alternative sugars create stronger bonds in the cooking process to produce a more stable product. When I tested these + the chocolate mousse with a French meringue (adding maple sugar or coconut sugar into foamy raw egg whites), the whites deflated + never grew into the clouds we’re looking for.
Please note that the “cook time” is the longest part of this recipe so do plan accordingly and preferably on a drier day to help with the drying process. they’ll keep in an airtight container for a week with parchment in between layers.
2 egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ cup maple syrup
¼ cup water
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons cacao nibs
Preheat your oven to 250 degrees + line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. set aside.
In a small, heavy bottomed pot with a candy thermometer, add your maple syrup, water and sea salt. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat and cook until it reaches 240F, about 10 minutes, stirring every so often. While that’s happening, add the egg whites + cream of tartar to the bowl of your stand mixer. With a whisk attachment, start whipping on medium speed until they’re frothy. When the syrup is ready, slowly pour the syrup down the side of the bowl into the whites. Turn the mixer to medium high + whip until you reach soft peaks, or when it slightly curls onto itself.
Here, you can either put the meringue into a piping bag + pipe kisses or specific designs, or if you’re like me, use two spoons to dollop the meringue onto your lined cookie sheets, spacing them about 2” apart. Place them into the oven for 75 minutes. Turn off the oven, crack the door + let the meringue dry out for an hour longer before enjoying or storing.