Hazelnut meringue cookies have just three simple ingredients, yet they're the most deliciously nutty, chewy dessert. What's more, they're naturally gluten-free and super versatile.
I like to take these hazelnut mini meringues with me as a potluck dessert, as the recipe makes a good number for a crowd, and they can be left out in bowls for people to grab. They also make a great petit four to serve after dinner parties with coffee.
Why you'll love this easy recipe
- It's easy: Homemade meringue cookies are so easy to make. There are only a handful of simple ingredients, and are very quick to put together.
- It's tasty: Meringue can sometimes be a bit too sweet on its own for my liking. But the addition of toasted ground hazelnuts takes the edge off and gives the meringue cookies a nutty and rich flavor that cuts through the sugar. It's a delicious treat!
- It's versatile: Hazelnut meringue cookies (or meringue kisses as they are sometimes known) can be enjoyed in so many different ways and work as both a dessert and a snack. They taste good with summer fruits or in winter as a holiday dessert. Delicious!
There are only three basic ingredients in this easy meringue cookies (without cream of tartar) recipe. And everything is super easy to find in grocery stores, or you might have them in your pantry already.
- Egg whites: Take care when separating egg whites from egg yolks, as even a tiny speck of yolk in the white will result in a failed meringue. And always use room temperature eggs in hazelnut meringue kisses.
- Hazelnuts: You can either buy ground hazelnuts or toast hazelnuts and grind them up yourself. I prefer the latter option as it gives you more control over taste and texture, but it's up to you.
- Fine white sugar: For best results, use fine sugar (also known as caster sugar) rather than normal granulated sugar in a French-style meringue, as the smaller crystals don't take as long to dissolve into the egg whites. If you only have light golden brown sugar, this will be ok, but don't use dark brown sugar, or the molasses content will be too high.
See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for full quantities and step-by-step instructions on how to make hazelnut meringue cookies.
How to toast and skin hazelnuts
- Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius/375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Scatter the hazelnuts on a cookie sheet or baking tray and put them in the oven for around 5 minutes, staying nearby to monitor. You will smell a delicious hazelnut aroma when they are ready, and take care that they do not burn.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
- To get the skins of toasted hazelnuts, wash your hands and dry them 95% before rubbing the nuts between your fingers and hands. The bits of skin will stick to your hands and simply flake off!
- Blend the skinned toasted hazelnuts to make hazelnut meal. Now you're ready to make meringue hazelnut cookies!
You can leave the hazelnut meal a bit chunkier if you prefer, depending on how smooth a finish you want to achieve on your mini meringue kisses.
Making homemade meringue is very simple, but there are a few things to watch out for. The key thing to remember is that fat kills meringue, so if there is any yolk in your egg whites or residual fat in the mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, or the attachment, it will fail.
- Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius / 320 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Whisk egg whites in a large bowl until soft peaks form, then slowly add sugar until a mixture forms with stiff glossy peaks.
3. Fold the ground toasted hazelnuts into the meringue until fully incorporated but do not overmix.
4. Transfer meringue into a piping bag and pipe small meringue cookies 2 inches apart onto a lined baking sheet.
5. Bake meringue cookies in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then turn the oven off, but leave them inside to cool completely and dry out.
6. Serve hazelnut meringue cookies or store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place until needed.
Top meringue baking tips
- Wipe out your mixing bowl and whisk attachment with white wine vinegar on a piece of clean kitchen towel before starting. This helps to get rid of any residual fat that might scupper your baking and also gives more stability to the egg whites, which in turn helps to keep the meringue airy and light as you fold in the ground hazelnuts.
- Use an oven thermometer to accurately read oven temperature. All ovens vary, and precision is key when baking!
- Don't use a rimmed baking sheet with high sides, as this will encourage steam to form around the mini meringues as they bake. A flat cookie sheet or other low-sided baking sheets is ideal.
- These meringue cookies are small, so they will cook fast, but for the best results, leave them in the cooling oven to dry out as instructed for as long as possible.
- Try not to open the oven door as they bake, as this alters the baking environment. Use the interior oven light to check that the tips are not burning; when you can see them starting to turn brown, this is a sign they are done.
- You can use a medium-sized scooper to portion out meringue for the Italian cookies, but the effect will be a bit more rustic and 'brutti ma buoni' (ugly but good) rather than dainty and delicate.
Wine pairing for hazelnut meringue kisses
The sweet and nutty nature of hazelnut meringue cookies makes them slightly tricky to pair. Serve a sweet red dessert wine like a Moscato in winter or a white dessert wine like a Sauterne in Summer. Or, I recently had the most deliciously chocolatey fortified Tannat dessert wine from the fantastic producer Pablo Fallabrino in Uruguay that I enjoyed with these hazelnut meringue kisses. It's harder to find (check online to see if there is a stockist near you), but well worth the hunt.
Read my post on easy food and wine pairing tips to learn more about how to elevate every meal with the perfect pairing.
How to serve
I serve hazelnut meringue cookies on their own as a petit four with coffee after dinner parties, topped with whipped cream and raspberries as a dessert, or drizzle them with dark chocolate sauce as a sweet snack. They work well as part of a dessert spread with other treats like these irresistible Oreo blondies.
If you love the flavor of hazelnut meringue cookies (which taste delicious when paired with coffee), you should try making my hazelnut coffee macarons.
Meringue is so so simple to make. You will need a set of digital scales, as baking is all about precision. Then, a large mixing bowl and an electric hand whisk or stand mixer with a whisk or whip attachment.
Gently fold the hazelnuts into the whipped meringue using a silicon or rubber spatula to avoid knocking out too much air. Once they are baked, use an offset spatula to remove them from the tray if they are slightly stuck to the parchment paper or silicon liner.
If you are toasting your own hazelnuts, you can do this on a cookie sheet or in a skillet on the stovetop. Just keep an eye on them as they burn fast. Grind them up in a blender or food processor.
How to store meringue cookies
Store meringue cookies in layers in an airtight container lined with parchment paper to protect them. They will last up to two weeks at room temperature if kept away from moisture.
You can also freeze meringue cookies easily by carefully putting them into a ziplock bag in the freezer. Take care not to crush them against other produce.
Baked meringue cookies will last up to two weeks if stored in a dry, airtight container.
Yes, place them in a ziplock bag, and they will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month. Defrost thoroughly on a wire rack before eating.
Toast the hazelnuts first, and then once they are cool, rub them through your fingers with slightly damp hands.
Other meringue desserts
Looking for other recipes like these hazelnut meringue kisses? Try these:
Other petit fours ideas
Here are some other petit four recipes I like to serve at dinner parties:
Easy Italian Hazelnut Meringue Cookies Recipe
- 1 Piping bag with round tip
- 1 spatula
- 2 baking trays or cookie sheets (lined with parchment paper or silicon liners)
- 2 Large egg whites
- 115 grams (4 oz) Fine white sugar (caster sugar)
- 50 grams (1.75 oz) Ground hazelnuts Or whole hazelnuts
How to make ground hazelnuts
- Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius/375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Scatter the hazelnuts on a cookie sheet or baking tray and put them in the oven for around 5 minutes. Take care that they do not burn.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Rub hazelnuts between slightly damp hands to remove skins.
- Blend the skinned toasted hazelnuts to make hazelnut meal.
Hazelnut meringue cookies
- Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius / 300 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare lined baking sheets.
- Whisk egg whites in a large bowl until soft peaks form.
- Slowly add white sugar until a mixture forms with stiff glossy peaks.
- Fold in the ground hazelnuts with a spatula until fully incorporated but do not overmix.
- Fill a piping bag with a round nozzle attachment with the hazelnut meringue mixture and pipe small round meringue cookies onto baking sheets.
- Bake meringue cookies for 15 minutes, then turn the oven off but leave them inside to cool completely and dry out.