Oregon is home to so many delicious foods! While Tillamook Cheese is always the first food I think of when I dream of tasty Oregon treats, hazelnuts are a close second. Often called filberts in Oregon, these distinct little nuts have been combined with desserts by many great chefs for hundreds of years. With an Oregon themed dinner party on the horizon, I knew I needed to combine these tasty nuts with Tillamook Ice Cream to make the perfect Oregon inspired dessert.
First step: Make the meringue!
Yields: 16 disks for 8 sandwiches
1½ cups toasted hazelnuts
1½ cups sugar
5 egg whites
Pinch of salt
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract
In a food processor combine the toasted hazelnuts and 1½ cups sugar. Mix until the nuts are as fine as the sugar. Use a spoon to fluff up the nuts and make sure there are no large nuts left.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a pencil and a round glass about 3 inches in diameter, trace 8 circles on each sheet. Flip the sheets over so the pencil side is down.
In a mixer, beat the egg whites on low speed until they foam. Add the salt and cream of tartar. Continue beating until soft peaks form. Leaving the mixer on, slowly add the 3 tablespoons of sugar, vanilla, and almond extracts. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until hard shinny peaks form. Turn mixer off and using a spoon fold in the almond-sugar mixture. Place the meringue in a pastry bag and starting with the outside of the circle, pipe the mixture onto the cookie sheets ending in the middle of each circle. Place in oven and cook for 1 hour or until the meringue will move around on the sheet when poked. Take out of the oven and allow to cool completely.
Once the meringue disks have cooled. Take out your favorite flavor of Tillamook Ice cream. (I used Tillamook Mudslide but I suspect many other flavors, like Espresso Mocha, would be delicious.) Let the ice cream melt a little so that it is easily molded without breaking the meringue cookie. Place a scoop of ice cream on top of a meringue disk, smash it down so it’s level and place another disk on top. Wrap each cookie in saran warp and place in the freezer until you are ready to eat!
These little Oregon treats are great for a quick dessert whenever you’re ready for a Pacific Northwest snack!