Flo Braker | Sweet Miniatures | Chronicle, 2000 | Makes 4 dozen 1 1/4-inch cookies
You taste chocolate right away when you bite into these, but the appearance of a snowy white meringue “kiss” shape atop a short tender cookie gives no clue. A creative baker can have fun with these cookies: Rather than a kiss, pipe the chocolate-flecked meringue into any shape on the cookie bases — hearts, butterflies, rosebuds, leaves, latticework, even a family coat of arms.—Flo Braker
For the dough
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsifted all-purpose flour
For the meringue
1/4 cup (about 2 large) fresh egg whites
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely grated
Make the dough
1. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter at medium speed just until smooth, about 1 minute. Beat in the sugar and salt until well combined and slightly fluffy, scraping down the sides. Lower speed, gradually add the flour, and mix just until thoroughly combined.
2. Divide the dough in half. Roll out each portion of dough between two sheets of waxed paper to form a circle 6 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick. Leaving the dough between the waxed paper, transfer circles to a baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days; or freeze, well wrapped, up to 1 month.
3. Adjust rack to the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Line two large cool baking sheets with parchment paper.
4. Remove one dough package at a time from refrigerator. Remove top waxed paper sheet, and lay it loosely back on the dough. Turn the dough over and peel off and discard the second sheet of waxed paper.
5. Using the wide end of a 1/2-inch plain decorating tip (such as Ateco #6) as a cutter, cut out circles of dough. It they stick to the decorating tip use a chopstick or wooden spoon handle to gently push through the decorating tip to release the circle, of dough. Place the circles 1/2 inch apart on a baking sheet. Partially bake the cookies one sheet at a time, for 6 to 8 minutes only, or until just set. Set the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 225°F (110°C). When the cookies are cool, place all of them on one baking sheet lined with parchment, leaving about 1/4 inch between cookies.
Make the meringue
1. Using an electric mixer, preferably with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites in a large bowl on medium-low speed until surface is frothy. Increase speed to medium, then pour in half the sugar and whip until soft white peaks form, about 30 seconds. While continuing to whip, slowly add the remaining sugar and the vanilla and continue whipping until the egg whites form stiff, shiny peaks, about 1 1/2 minutes.
2. Using a rubber spatula, fold the grated chocolate into the meringue. Immediately scoop all of the meringue into a 16-inch pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain decorating tip (such as Ateco #6). Pipe a bulb of meringue onto each cookie in a candy “kiss” shape. The bottom of the meringue “kiss” should be the diameter of the cookie circle. Bake the Meringue Bubbles for an additional 60 minutes, until the meringue is firm to the touch. Place the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool. Lift cookies from parchment when cool.
3. These are best eaten the same day. To store, place them in an airtight metal container for up to 1 week.
Recipe © 2000 Flo Braker. Photo © 2000 Michael Lamotte. All rights reserved.