Oops! I made something really delicious.You know how meringue cookies are airy and sweet and irresistible? You know how whipped cream is also airy, sweet and irresistible? You know how when making an icebox cake you put cookie wafers and whipped cream together and set them in the fridge (icebox) for a while until the moisture from the whipped cream turns the cookies into cake? Behold: espresso meringue torte with cocoa nibs and hazelnuts.
I found this fantastic recipe for vanilla bean & cocoa nib meringue cookies on Joy the Baker’s blog. I didn’t have a vanilla bean but I did have some instant espresso powder so I forged ahead and doubled the recipe to make 6- 9″ cookie discs.
Once the meringues came out of the oven and had cooled, I started stacking them, adding a generous layer of whipped cream between each disc and then sifting a bit of cocoa powder over the cream. Divine! When I ran out of layers, I sifted more cocoa powder over the top and dropped a few toasted hazelnuts on. If i make this in the future, I will probably crush the hazelnuts and distribute a more consistent layer of them over the top. The crunch they add really echoes the cocoa nibs and gives a really satisfying nutty flavor to balance out the sweetness of the meringues and cream. That said, I still couldn’t keep my hands off it. This should sit in the fridge to “meld” for at least an hour but I would not recommend letting it sit overnight before digging in. Luckily, in my house that was NOT a problem.
Espresso Hazelnut Torte with Cocoa Nibs and Hazelnuts
6 Egg White
¼ tsp Salt
½ tsp Cream Of Tarter
1 tsp Instant Espresso Powder
1 ½ C + ¼ C Granulated Sugar, separated
6 T Cocoa Nibs
½ tsp Vanilla Extract
1 C Whipping Cream
¼ C Toasted Hazelnuts, whole or crushed
Cocoa Powder for sifting
Directions: Preheat oven to 275 degrees F with a rack in the upper third of the oven. In a small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar and espresso powder. Set aside.
In a large bowl, or in the bowl of your electric stand mixer, beat egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add salt and cream of tartar. Increase speed to medium high and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1 ½ C sugar, increasing mixer speed to high. Beat until stiff glossy peaks form. Once thick, remove bowl from mixer (if using stand mixer) and fold in cocoa nibs and vanilla extract.
On 2 large baking sheet, or in 5- 9” cake or pie tins lined with parchment rounds, spoon a large dollop of egg white mixture onto each round and smooth with a rubber spatula into a 9” disc about 1/2 “ high. (I used cake pans, of which I only have 4 so I had to bake the 5th meringue separately.)
Place meringue discs in the oven and cook for 60 minutes. They will brown slightly and feel hollow to the touch. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
In a large bowl, or in the cleaned bowl of your stand mixer, beat whipping cream and remaining sugar until stiff peaks form.
Assemble the torte by layering meringue discs with a layer of whipped cream and a dusting of cocoa powder between each. Place in refrigerator to set for at least one hour. Enjoy in a timely manner!