Thursday, February 19, 2015

Chocolate Nutella Nests with Strawberries

Meringues are one of my dessert tray staples. I make them with peppermint at Christmas. I add lemon juice and lemon zest for a treat after a heavy meal. I make vanilla meringue nests to put fruit in (like Pavlova, named for the dancer).

You probably have your own favorite recipe, but if not the Internet abounds with versions. You want to use one with cream of tartar (or use citrus juice). It has to do with the chemistry of egg whites and chemical bonds and stuff like that.

I created this version just for this month since DH is my chocolate monster. You could just drop these onto the baking sheet in dollops of chocolate meringues or you could take it the extra step I did with Nutella and strawberries. This recipe makes about 12 meringue drops or 6-8 meringue nests for filling. The recipe is for the nests.
Chocolate Nutella Nests with Strawberries (makes 6-8)
2 egg whites      
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 pinch of cream of tartar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 heaping tablespoon Nutella for each nest
1 strawberry, sliced to fan for each nest

Preheat oven to 225°.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Allow enough paper to separate the meringues since they spread a bit while baking.

In medium bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Whisk together the sugar, cream of tartar, and cocoa.

Add a tablespoon of sugar mixture at a time and beat until dissolved then add more. Gradual works best.

Drop two heaping spoonfuls of meringue onto the baking sheet. Use the spoon to create the nest. Repeat with remaining mixture until you have 6 to 8 nests.

Bake 35 minutes (but check after 20 minutes since ovens vary) until they are dry but crispy.

Turn off oven and leave meringue nests to cool inside.

When cool, fill with Nutella and place the strawberry fan on top. Serve as soon as possible. Diners pick up the nest to eat in three or four bites.

NOTE: You can bake the meringues and store them in an airtight container for several days until needed.

DH’s RATING: 5+ Tongues Up
He told me he loved the combination of flavors and textures. There was crunchy, chewy, and gooey! This was one of his favorites this month.

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