These chocolate hazelnut meringue biscuits were inspired by Nigella Lawson’s forgotten cookies in her cookbook, At My Table: A Celebration of Home Cooking. Since we’ve been bunkering down at home, our family has had a special occasion dinner every Sunday. We all dress up, set the dining room table with candles, flowers and linen napkins. Everyone takes responsibility for a course. This week’s theme was Italian cuisine, and my chosen course was dessert. The meringue biscuits have crunchy morsels of hazelnuts and dark chocolate, which gives them a lovely texture. The orange zest, together with thyme leaves, add a subtle flavour. Figs are in season, so I served them alongside the biscuits with a dollop of ricotta and honey. You could also serve them with yoghurt, ice cream or custard. The meringue biscuits are a perfect treat to have with coffee. Why not double the recipe and give some to a friend? Use the left-over egg yolks to make custard.
If you love figs as much as I do, why not serve them as an appetizer? Grilled Figs with Pancetta, Goat’s Cheese and Thyme
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Chocolate Hazelnut Meringue Cookies
- 2 large eggs at room temperature, whites only
- fine sea salt, just a pinch
- 100 g caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp cornflour
- 1 orange, zest only
- 75 g 70% cocoa dark chocolate finely chopped
- 75 g hazelnuts blitzed briefly in a food processor
- 1 tsp thyme leaves
- Preheat the oven to 120 °C (100°C fan-forced). Line a baking tray with paper.
- Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk together the egg whites with the salt until soft peaks form.
- Whisk in the sugar a little at time, then continue to whisk for 3 minutes at high speed until the meringue is thick and gleaming.
- Gently fold in the cornflour, vinegar, orange zest, hazelnuts, chocolate and thyme, reserving a a little of the thyme and chopped hazelnuts to sprinkle on the top.
- Drop tablespoon-sized blobs of the mixture onto the tray, leaving space in between as they will spread a little. Sprinkle remaining thyme and hazelnuts on top.
- Turn the oven temperature down to 90°C (70°C fan-forced). Put the cookies in the oven, and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Let the cookies remain in the oven until the oven is no longer warm (about 2 hours).
- Serve with figs, ricotta and honey for dessert, or on their own with coffee.