Happy Valentine’s Day! Celebrating the love with these tasty hearts bursting with a delicious strawberry flavor. I had a craving for something light with just the right amount of sweetness for Valentine’s Day.
Meringues are a straight forward dessert that you can easily master and turn into your own, I use these for many holidays and it’s easy to make a big batch of these to gift for someone’s birthday. The recipe list is just how I like it, short and sweet! Egg whites and sugar, followed by your flavors of choice, for Valentine’s day I went with freeze-dried strawberries to add a sweet but tart flavor. Freeze-dried fruit is awesome (Thank You Trader Joe’s), it not only boosts flavor but also adds a slight boost of color, though I still added a tiny bit of food coloring to make show off the pink more.
I surprised Michael with these when he got home from work, the verdict…he loves them! He never had them before, delighted by a crisp yet fluffy treat, woofed a couple more down and took the rest of them to work to share with his co-workers. That’s a happy Valentine!
- 4 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup freeze-dried strawberries, ground
- Pink food coloring (optional)
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set them aside.
- In a stand mixer bowl or medium mixing bowl with a hand mixer, add egg whites to the bowl and turn speed on low.
- Add cream of tartar and wait until whites have formed a surface of foamy bubbles.
- Stop the mixer and add all granulated sugar to the egg whites. If sugar got on the sides of the bowl, use a spatula to push it down to the whites.
- Turn mixer speed to medium high speed (I use a 6 on my KitchenAid and halfway bump it up to an 8). Whites should go from clear to a glossy and shiny white.
- Keep the mixer running until you reach stiff peaks, feel free to stop the mixer a couple of times and see if your peaks on the end of the whisk move or stay still, you want it to barely move when you shake it.
- Crush your freeze-dried strawberries until finely ground (you can use a food processor, I was lazy and used my mortar & pestle) and run through a fine-mesh strainer over the bowl of your meringue.
- Take a toothpick or use the edge of a spoon to dip into your food coloring (Little goes a long way!) and add to meringues. Fold the mixture with a spatula until combined and the color is to your liking.
- Transfer mixture to a piping bag with a pastry tip of your choice (I used a Wilton #10 for simple smooth piping (feel free to use a star tip or any tip you like).
- You can either free form your hearts, I used a 2-inch heart cookie cutter to help pipe more consistent looking hearts. Place the cutter on parchment, pipe inside cookie cutter until the shape is filled. Pull cookie cutter firmly straight up and shape should still hold the place.
- Pipe all hearts leaving an inch apart from another.
- Transfer baking sheets to oven and cook for 110-120 minutes depending on the size of meringues, or check by touching texture until dried out on the outside.
- Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring to cooling racks.