Hang up that mistletoe, because a kiss just doesn’t get any sweeter than this! Each chewy chocolate brownie is filled with a sweet surprise and topped with a crisp peppermint meringue rosette, creating a harmony of flavors and textures. These little two-bite treats are sure to brighten up a holiday cookie platter or buffet table. And make sure to put one next to Santa’s glass of milk to give him a break from all of those sugar cookies.
If you prefer cake brownies, well . . . move along; there’s nothing to see here! Nope, these are chewy with a crunchy edge, just the way I love them.
It took me a few tries to get this right. Okay, five. It took me five tries. My first attempt was with a chocolate cookie crust. They were delicious, but so messy. SO MESSY. Meringues crackle and crumble when you bite into them, which is expected, but add a crumbly crust that falls everywhere, and it simply wasn’t going to work. I could just see these being served at a tea and having to hand out bibs!
I tried baking the brownies for a bit first, and the final result was a dry, hard, brownie brick. Nope.
The third time I realized that they were hollow. The bottom of the meringues melted into the brownies, and the meringues puffed and were hollow (as meringues are) which would have been kind of neat, if the tops didn’t pop off so easily. I could see them filled with ganache, and almost went that direction (you can, if you wish) but ultimately tried, tried again.
On the fourth batch I went for a slower, shorter bake time. Goo. ‘Nuff said.
So . . . I tried an experiment, hoping to give the meringues something to hold onto besides brownie batter. Peppermint patties erupted in the oven, but the other three options—soft peppermint candy, chocolate kisses (point down) and peppermint kisses (point up)—all worked great. Whew. You have a choice!
And if you’d like to really add some bling, dip the tips of each kiss in a little melted white chocolate and sprinkle with crushed peppermint candy, grated chocolate, or sprinkles.
Here’s the recipe . . . tips and photos are below.
|Christmas Kisses (Meringue Topped Brownies)|| |
- BROWNIE LAYER
- ½ cup butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1½ cup white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used half regular, half special dark)
- ¼ cup grated or very finely chopped dark chocolate
- ¾ cup flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Candy for filling - 48 each peppermint puffs or chocolate kisses)
- 4 egg whites (at room temperature)
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¾ cup ultrafine sugar (Baker's Sugar)
- ¼ - ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
- red food coloring (optional)
- White chocolate melts, crushed candy cane, grated chocolate for decorating if desired
- Heat oven to 250 F. Place 48 paper liners in mini muffin pans.
- In a large bowl, stir together the melted butter, cooking oil, and sugar.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla until frothy, then add to large bowl and stir to combine.
- Add cocoa powder, grated chocolate, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir just until combined. A few wisps of flour showing is just fine.
- Using a pastry bag with large tube tip (or you can use a spoon) divide the brownie mixture between the 48 cavities - approximately 2 level teaspoons each.
- Add a piece of candy to each cup, pressing down firmly. If using a chocolate kiss, place it point down. Set aside.
- In a squeaky clean bowl, beat egg whites until thick and foamy, then sprinkle in the cream of tartar and continue to beat until soft peaks form.
- Trickle in the superfinen sugar, a tablespoon or two at a time, beating well before adding more. Take your time to ensure the sugar dissolves completely.
- Once all sugar has been added, beat until mixture is at stiff peak stage and holds its shape. Depending on many factors (weather, size of eggs, etc.) this can take 5 or 6 minutes.
- Add peppermint extract and beat until combined.
- For striped meringues, use red paste food coloring to paint stripes up the inside of a large pastry bag fitted with a large open star tip. (It's easiest to do this in two steps, folding down the top of the bag and painting from the tip up, then unfolding the bag and continuing the stripes.)
- Pipe in a circular motion upwards. Leave a little edge of brownie showing to make them easier to handle. (Use up extra meringue mixture by piping on a baking sheet covered with parchment.)
- Place pans in the oven (including extra meringues) and let them cook for 30 minutes, then WITHOUT OPENING THE OVEN DOOR, turn oven off and leave the kisses in there overnight.
- If desired, dip the tip of each in melted white chocolate and sprinkle on crushed candy cane, grated chocolate, or chocolate jimmies.
- Store in airtight container.
- Start the day before, because these really should be left overnight in the oven.
- When you wake up in the morning and remove the kisses from the oven, immediately place them in an airtight container.
- Putting the chocolate kiss point down seemed to support the meringue better
- Skip the stripes if you’d like. They’re pretty plain white or light pink, too.
- Regardless of what you may have heard, meringues are simple to make, and unless you are in Florida and the humidity is ghastly, don’t sweat the weather. I made this batch while it was snowing like crazy outside.
- You can skip the paper liners if you use a baking spray (like Baker’s Joy) in the cavities. Just use a table knife to pop the kisses out when they’re cool.
- This recipe can easily be halved to make 24. (If you don’t have a 1/8 cup measure for the 3/8 cups of flour and superfine sugar, use 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons.)
I’m hoping to get one more Christmas post up, but things are crazier than usual around here, so just in case . . .
Merry Christmas to you and yours!