Suspiritos or merenguitos (meringue kisses) are one of the simplest desserts in our cuisine; they are very inexpensive and can be quite a fancy treat for your parties. And there are so many ways it can be presented: with just one batch, you can make an entire array of options.
Why we ❤️ it
I don't know that there can be a more versatile dessert than meringue kisses, or suspiritos, as we call them.
These are perfect for any occasion, like celebrating that your blog turns 21 (time flies!), or for Valentine's day when you're tasked by your child to bring treats for the whole class (ask me how I know these things).
What is it?
Suspiritos (meringue cookies or kisses) are flavored, dried bits of meringue icing. Suspiro (in English Italian meringue) is the traditional icing used in cakes and cupcakes, and most notably, in our bizcocho dominicano (Dominican cake).
In the Dominican Republic, we call meringue suspiro (sigh, in Spanish), while merengue is our national music, and suspirito just means "little suspiro."
In its simplest form, meringue kisses are a 3-ingredient recipe: egg whites, sugar, and some type of acid (cream of tartar powder, lime juice, lemon juice, or white vinegar). After that, one can start to make additions, like flavorings (vanilla extract is the most popular), toppings, decorations, etc.
Some people add food coloring to make them in all the colors of the rainbow, and combinations of colors. I did not add food coloring to mine.
How to make
The egg whites are combined with the sugar and acidic ingredient, then whisked over high speed until it forms very stiff peaks. At this point, flavoring or coloring can be incorporated.
Little mounds, swirls, or shapes are then formed with a piping bag, and it's dried in the oven until the moisture it's extracted, and the suspiritos are dry and stiff.
How to store
If dried completely, and stored in an airtight container, these can last up to a week. If you live in a very humid climate (like yours truly), you'll find that they may get stale when exposed to the air within a couple of hours.
- Please remember that keeping the oven at a stable, proper temperature is very important. Too hot and your suspiritos will turn into marshmallowy sweet omelets (ugh!); too low, and they won't dry.
- If your oven runs too hot, try keeping the door slightly ajar to release excess heat. Make a small batch to try before you have guests.
- If you use clear vanilla extract, the meringue cookies will keep their bright white color. If you add brown vanilla extract, they'll acquire a creamy tan color that I actually quite like too.
- Cream of tartar is a white acidic powder used in baking; it helps keep the meringue stiff and makes it shinier. If you don't have the cream of tartar, use the same amount of lime or lemon juice.
- You can either bake it completely dry or leave a soft center (in which case it has to be consumed fresh).
- Save the egg yolks to make ponche (breakfast eggnog) or ponche crema (Christmas eggnog).
About this recipe
This recipe starts with the simplest, most basic recipe for suspiritos, and then gives you options for flavoring and presentation. These are by no means comprehensive. I tried to stick to things that are easy to find and not use artificial coloring.
You can get creative and try other things. These are so inexpensive that there is little to lose if you mess up a batch.
Bear in mind that suspiritos are very sweet –if you don't already know – since I prefer things that are less sweet, the chocolate one was more to my preferred level of sweetness, as the bitter cocoa balanced the sugar in them.
This recipe yields about 1 dozen suspiritos of about 1½ inches [4 centimeters] in diameter, or about 4 servings. Your yield may vary depending on the way you make them. You can increase the ingredients for extra servings. See the recipe notes for some tips.
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Suspiritos [Recipe + Video] (Merenguitos Meringue Kisses)
Flavorings (pick one)
- Sprinkles of your choice
1. Get ready
- Line baking sheet (or baking sheets if you are doubling the recipe) with parchment paper or silicone liner. Heat the oven to 175 ºF [80 ºC].
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, or large mixing bowl, and the wire whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites over medium speed until they become foamy. Incorporate the granulated sugar and cream of tartar and whip over high speed until they form peaks.Add the powdered sugar and pour in the flavoring of your choice and whisk over high speed until it forms very stiff peaks, and if you hold the spatula upside down the meringue doesn't fall.
3. Form meringue kisses
- Scoop the meringue mixture into a pastry bag, add the tip of your choice (I used a star tip and a round tip for these), and pipe the suspiritos of about 1½ inches [4 centimeters] in diameter onto the prepared cookie sheet.Sprinkle with decorations of your choice (optional)
- Bake for two and a half to three hours in preheated oven, or until the suspiritos are completely dry, sound hollow when you tap them, and easily separate from the try liner when lifted. Turn off the oven and leave them to cool down inside until the oven temperature is back at room temperature.
5. Serving and storing
- Consume immediately, or store in an airtight container. They should keep for a few days if they are properly dry, and properly stored.
Tips and Notes
Nutritional information is calculated automatically based on ingredients listed. Please consult your doctor if you need precise nutrition information.
How long you whip meringue will depend on how you'll use it later. To make merenguitos, suspiritos or meringue kisses, whip until the merengue has very stiff peaks and it's shiny and smooth. See the video for more details.
If you overwhip meringue it will start to break the tiny bubbles of air that make it fluffy and get big pockets of air that will collapse later. It's important not to whip for too long.