Mini Meringues with Salted Caramel & Dark Chocolate
These easy to make Mini Meringues with Salted Caramel & Dark Chocolate are a delightful treat in the perfect candy size. Sweet and crispy with just a hint of salt - you won't be able to stop at one, or ten... Great on their own - as well as on top of ice cream and other desserts.
Mix water and sugar in a saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir constantly until it starts to boil, then stop stirring completely.
Let it simmer until the color has changed to a caramel or amber color, this takes about 5-10 minutes - keep a close watch. Remember, don't stir. If the coloration comes out uneven you can instead tip the saucepan slightly to either side to gently mix it.
Once the color is right, remove the sauce from the heat and slowly mix in the cream. Be careful as you do this, as the mixture might bubble up a lot. Then mix in the butter until melted, followed by vanilla powder and salt. Taste test and add more salt if desired.
Set the salted caramel sauce aside for now and let it cool a bit before using for your meringues.
Start by bringing out a glass or stainless steel bowl and wash and dry it to ensure no fatty residue, as this will beak the meringue. Dry the bowl off.
Place egg whites and vinegar in the bowl and mix with an electric mixer, starting on a low setting and increasing the speed as the egg whits get more solid. Mix until firm (5-10 minutes) - check by removing the mixer and making sure the peaks formed stay in place, or by carefully turning the bowl upside down and making sure it all stays in place.
Once the egg whites are firm, keep mixing and add in the granulated sugar a little at a time. Add no more than 1 tablespoon at a time, and then mix well and ensure the meringue is still firm before adding more sugar. Repeat until all granulated sugar has been added.
Finally, turn the electric mixer off and add in the confectioner's sugar. Gently fold into the meringue with a large spoon. Set aside for now.
Preheat the oven for 210°F (100°C).
Break the chocolate into smaller pieces and place in a heat resistant bowl. Place the bowl over a pot of boiling water - it should not touch the water - and stir until the chocolate has melted. Let cool for 5 minutes before using.
While the chocolate is cooling, place a baking sheet on an oven tray. Then bring out a piping bag and fit with your piping tip of choice.
Mix in the salted caramel sauce with the meringue batter.
Lace the inside of the pastry bag with melted chocolate. Don't use too much (it should just be on the sides), but make sure you have chocolate on all sides.
Scoop in the meringue in the piping bag, remove the clamp and pipe out mini meringues on the baking sheet. Make nice-looking meringues by holding the nozzle straight and lifting straight up when you're happy with your meringue. Top with crushed salt flakes.
Bake in the middle of the oven for about 1.5 hours. Open once halfway to let out any steam. The meringues are finished when they are easily lifted from the baking sheet.
Ingredient notes & substitutions
Salted caramel sauce - I make my own, but you can use store bought as well
Dark chocolate - I prefer one with at least 85% cacao
White wine vinegar can be swapped for lemon juice or eddik vinegar
Salted butter can be switched for unsalted and an extra pinch of salt
Egg whites - the best ones have been sitting in the fridge for a few days
Tips & tricks
Don't make meringues on a humidday or they might never set
Don't stir the salted caramel once it starts boiling - no stirring is the best way to avoid sugar crystals in the finished sauce. If the coloring is uneven, you can instead tip the pan gently to mix it.
Never use a plastic bowl for making meringues - always use either glass or stainless steel
Always wash and dry the bowl thoroughly before using, so there is no fatty residue on it. Fat is meringue's worst enemy!
Use room temperature eggs - warmer egg whites will whip a lot faster
Whip the egg whites on their own first, together with the acidic component, until they're hard and peaky and can withstand the bowl-upside-down test. This makes it much faster than if you add sugar from the start.
Add in the granulated sugar slowly. Really slowly. A tablespoon at a time, or even less.
Don't add too much salted caramel sauce or it might negatively impact the stability of the meringues
Open the oven dorr once halfway through baking to let out any steam
Mini meringues take their time in the oven - take them out too early and they will not just be chewy in the middle, they will be underdone
They're done when they're easy to remove - in one piece - from the tray