Chocolate Lavender Kisses

Meringue is the secret to these sweet fudge-like lavender-scented cookies. Easy, quick and delicious, these make the perfect dessert for a sweetheart dinner.

4 egg whites (at room temperature)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup lavender sugar*
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder  

Preheat oven to 200F with the rack in the center of the oven.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Beat 4 egg whites in a large mixing bowl with cream of tartar, vanilla and pinch of salt until foamy.
Take 2 tablespoons of the lavender sugar and sift together with cocoa and set aside.
Add remaining lavender sugar – 1 tablespoon at a time- to the egg white mixture. Beat well after each addition making sure the sugar is dissolved. Continue to beat until mixture is glossy and makes stiff peaks.

Sift the cocoa/sugar mixture over the meringue.  Using a spatula, fold in the cocoa mixture gently just until it is blended.

Spoon the meringue mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a ½ inch star tip. Place 1 inch meringue kisses onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. (I use a reclosable storage bag and clip off ½ inch at the corner. Alternatively, drop the meringue by tablespoon on to your baking sheet.)

Bake the meringues for 1 ½ hours. The meringues are done when they are crisp and firm to the touch. Turn off the oven and leave the meringues in the oven for another hour to finish drying. Store lightly covered in a dry place. Makes 75 meringues.

*Note:  To make lavender sugar, combine 1/4 cup of granulated sugar with 1 tablespoon culinary lavender buds. Place in food processor and blend into a fine powder. Add to 1 3/4 cups of sugar in a container with a tight-fitting lid. Allow it to sit for 3 days to infuse the sugar with the lavender flavor. NOTE: Wouldn't this make a sweet gift this season?

Recipe reprinted from Discover Cooking With Lavender by Kathy Gehrt (with permission)