Do you remember the film Chocolat? Have you seen it loads of times like I have? If the answer to those questions is yes then you will remember the main character’s gift.
She was able to unmistakingly guess everyone’s favourite chocolate treat. No one could stump her until Johnny Depp’s character came along. He was oh so mysterious. 😉
No matter how often Vianne tried she was wrong, until at the end of the film, Roux (played by Johnny Depp) reveals that his favourite type of chocolate is hot chocolate.
My husband Brad told me today that having grown up on powdered hot cocoa mix he could never understand how Roux could possibly choose hot chocolate when there are truffles, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, chocolate covered cherries, spicy chocolate, fruit and nut bars in the world.
Hot chocolate doesn’t even taste like chocolate! Fair enough, he stayed true to his indignation until one day he had hot chocolate in Italy, which tasted like…well melted hot chocolate. 🙂
He told me this story today after he had some hot chocolate I made. Believe me, friends, it tastes just like in the best Italian coffee bar.
It’s smooth and rich and it will make you forget all worries in the world, ie your Christmas shopping hasn’t even begun. It will take you right in the middle of Winter Wonderland but the kind that is not cold and windy.
The recipe is good as plain as can be but it’s Christmas and I couldn’t resist. My hot chocolate is spiced with all the right things and topped with a gorgeous meringue kiss.
Say what! I know it’s genius but the idea belongs to the amazing Meringue Girls. The things they do with meringue are so cool!!
I won their book in a photo contest and fell in love with their work. Meringue is so fun to eat but temperamental to make.
Their method is so simple and includes a few tricks I’ve never heard of before. In the end you get these little cuties to drop in your hot chocolate or… Actually, it’s a matter for another post. Come back tomorrow to see what else I’ve done with meringue.
We all know what meringue tastes like but when you drop a meringue kiss into a steaming cup of hot chocolate Christmas magic happens.
The inside melts and turns into a creamy marshmallow encased in a thin crispy kiss-shaped shell.
There is nothing like it! You have to try it for yourself. My kids were absolutely thrilled that this reward was waiting for them at home on the last day of the school term!
For Meringue Kisses
- Egg whites- 5 medium/150 gr
- Fine/Caster Sugar- 1 ½ cups/300gr
- Cocoa powder- 1 tbsp.
For Hot Chocolate
- Whole Milk- 500ml/2 cups
- Brown Sugar- 2 tbsp.
- Cinnamon- 1 tsp.
- Nutmeg- ¼ tsp.
- Ginger-¼ tsp.
- Cloves- ¼ tsp.
- Vanilla- 1 tsp.
- Dark chocolate chopped- 100 gr
For Meringue Kisses
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Preheat oven to 400F/200C. Spread sugar on your baking sheet and heat it in the oven for 5 minutes until the edges start to melt.
- While your sugar is in the oven put your egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer (it should be grease-free) and start whisking first on slow and then on high speed until stiff peaks form.
- Your sugar should be ready by now. Take it out of the oven and turn the temperature to 200F/100C.
- With the motor of the stand mixer running start adding hot sugar to the egg whites 1 tbsp. at a time, avoid large caramelised clumps of sugar. Hot sugar dissolves much quicker in egg whites. Your goal is to have a smooth, free of grit mixture. Rub a small amount between your fingers to make sure sugar is completely dissolved.
- Load the meringue mixture into a piping bag and pipe a bite-sized kisses using a plain tip or a star tip. It's your choice. Squeeze, pull and release. Don't worry if they are not perfect and uniform. Mine weren't!
- Dust a tablespoon of cocoa over meringue kisses.
- Bake for 40-60 minutes depending on the humidity outside. As soon as you can peel them easily off parchment paper they are done.
For Hot Chocolate
- Pour milk in a medium saucepan, add spices and vanilla.
- Bring to a simmer slowly allowing milk to infuse with spices.
- When milk is just about to simmer (you see first small bubbles) add chopped chocolate and stir with a wire whisk, continue stirring until chocolate is completely melted and well incorporated into milk. It will take about 2 minutes.
- Immediately take off the heat and serve.
- Pour in small cups and top with a meringue kiss.