Have you been attempting various fancy confections but have found you aren't a macaron master or buttercream queen? Trying to impress that special someone? Maybe you have a formal party to host. Well, I've got the dessert for you. The light and airy meringue combined with the rich filling and bright strawberries make these cookies fit for a princess. Besides being naturally gluten-free, these gourmet treats are surprisingly inexpensive to make. The process is fairly straightforward and even though they take a good chunk of time to make, they're completely worth it.
*This recipe was inspired by various Pinterest posts and a recipe I have for pavlova. I found (and tweaked slightly) the recipe for the white chocolate frosting filling here.
Step 1: Ingredients
Ingredients (aka Shopping List):
- 4 Eggs (egg white will also work)
- Pinch of Salt
- 1 Cup Fine Granulated Sugar
- 2 Teaspoons White Vinegar
- 2 Level Tablespoons Cornstarch
- Wilton Gel Food Coloring (optional)
- 1/2 Cup White Chocolate Chips
- 1/2 Cup Butter
- 2 1/4 Cups Powdered Sugar
- 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- *2-3 Tablespoons Milk (recipe called for heavy whipping cream)
- Fresh Strawberries (optional but highly recommended)
*I ended up using evaporated milk because someone used up the last bit of milk before I made the frosting.
Step 2: Tools
- KitchenAid with Whisk Attachment (or hand mixer and large mixing bowl)
- Large Cookie Sheet
- Piping Bag
- Plastic Wrap
- Parchment Paper
- Cutting Board
- Kitchen Scissors
- Dry Measuring Cups
- Measuring Spoons
- Small Seive
- Piping Tip (I used Wilton 1M)
- 2 Spoons
- 3 Medium-Sized Bowls
- Small Plate or Dish
- Large Plate or Tray
- Microwave (optional, you can double-boil the chocolate over a saucepan)
- Offset Spatula (optional, a butter knife will also work)
- Clean Paintbrush (optional, ideally one meant for culinary use)
- Small Rubber Band (optional, for holding the piping bag closed)
- 1 1/2 to 2 Inch Round Lid (optional, to trace for accuracy)
Step 3: Prep
Cut two sheets of parchment paper to fit the cookie sheet. Trace circles on the parchment paper where you want your cookies to be (some of the pencil did end up rubbing off on the cookies). Be sure to leave some space between the circles. I was able to fit about 15 circles on one sheet of parchment paper. Set out the 1/2 cup of butter on a small plate to come to room temperature and preheat your oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 4: Eggs
Next, carefully separate the egg whites from the yolks. Put the whites in the large KitchenAid or mixing bowl, making sure that the bowl is clean and dry and there is no egg yolk in the whites. Cover and refrigerate the egg yolks (we won't be using them in this recipe).
Step 5: Meringue
Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and beat at high speed until foamy. Slowly and gradually add the fine granulated sugar and beat until sugar is completely dissolved, scraping the sides of the bowl with the spatula as needed (it should not feel grainy to the touch). Add the vinegar and cornstarch and beat until incorporated and stiff peaks have formed.
Step 6: Tinting
Prepare the piping bag by cutting the tip off so that the metal piping tip sticks out but is still held in place. Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap. Using the gel coloring and a little bit of water, paint stripes on the plastic wrap. Put about half of the meringue in the center of the plastic wrap (half was a bit too much for my small piping bag). Take care not to deflate the foamy meringue mixture. Fold the plastic wrap around the meringue and, holding each end of the plastic wrap, spin the meringue so that the plastic wrap is tight at each end. Pull one end of the plastic wrap through the tip of the piping bag and cut off the excess. Secure the other end of the piping bag with the rubber band and you're ready to pipe!
Step 7: Piping and Baking
Using consistent pressure with your left hand while guiding the tip in a spiral motion with your right hand, pipe rosettes on the circles you drew on the parchment paper. Bake the meringues for 30-40 minutes in the preheated oven until light and dry inside. Place the parchment paper with the meringues on the cutting board to cool and replace with the other piece of parchment paper. Pull the plastic wrap out of the piping bag and repeat with the rest of the mixture.
Step 8: Filling (Part 1: White Chocolate)
For the filling, start by melting 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each time until smooth. Let the melted chocolate rest for one to two minutes while you prepare the frosting.
Step 9: Filling (Part 2: Frosting)
Beat the room-temperature butter on high speed until creamy. Slowly add 2 1/4 cups of powdered sugar and beat until incorporated. Beat in vanilla extract and milk (or heavy cream or evaporated milk, as I ended up doing), scraping the sides of the bowl with the spatula as needed. Slowly* add the melted white chocolate and beat until fluffy and smooth. Transfer to one of the medium-sized bowls and set aside.
*I added the white chocolate all at once and ended up having a bit of graininess to my frosting. It wasn't too grainy and still tasted good, but I think adding it slowly would help it stay smooth.
Step 10: Filling (Part 3: Strawberries)
Next, wash and dice the strawberries. Put them in another of the medium-sized bowls.
Step 11: Assembly
Spread about a teaspoon of the white chocolate frosting on the bottom of each of the cookies with the offset spatula. Spoon the diced strawberries on half of the cookies and put them together into strawberry cookie "sandwiches."
Step 12: Enjoy!
That's it! Lightly dust with powdered sugar and serve with a garnish of strawberries if desired. Enjoy immediately to avoid mushiness, or refrigerate in a sealed container if necessary. These elegant cookies are perfect for your next tea party or get-together; give them a try! You won't regret it.
For a printable version of this recipe, see the pdf below.
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Sweet Treats Challenge