Chocolate Dacquoise: Time to turn the heat on

ChocDacquoise2

Besides warming your tootsies and keeping your pipes from freezing, turning on the heat for the winter can have a great effect in your kitchen.

Bread dough rises well, cookies stay nice and warm, and the humidity disappears, making it a perfect time for meringues and their grownup cousins, dacquoise.

DA-what? DA-who?

Dacquoise. Da-qwah. Like a duck, but not a full quack.

Dacquoise are meringues made with nut flour, so they’re still sweet and crisp but a bit more chewy, with subtle nut flavors.

Like meringues, they begin with an egg white foam whipped with sugar. As you know, sugar is hygroscopic and it will pull moisture from the surrounding air. Sticky summer lollipop? Blame the sugar. Tacky tops on your muffins? Sugar and humidity strike again.

Think of meringue as being a castle made of blocks – except these blocks are made of sugar. As the sugar gets moist, it loses its structure and ability to support, and slowly your castle walls will begin to crumble apart and sink. Result? Puddles of goo instead of pinnacles of gloss.

But cue the dry heat of winter and you’re in meringue heaven. Add chocolate and a nut flour to that basic meringue, bake, stack the results, and you have dacquoise, a restaurant-fancy dessert perfect for ending a romantic dinner.

Let’s make Chocolate Dacquoise.

Preheat the oven to 225°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place 6 large egg whites and 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar in the bowl of your stand mixer. Whip on medium speed, to start with. You want to build up a base of small bubbles to make your foam nice and sturdy. Yes, you can use dried egg whites and water; the results are nearly identical.

Increase the speed to high, and whip until soft peaks form.

Gradually add 3/4 cup granulated sugar. If you can get superfine sugar, it will blend into the foam easier. If you only have household sugar, just plan on the sugar taking longer to dissolve fully.

Beat until you have stiff (but not dry) peaks. The mixture will still be glossy.

In a small bowl, combine 3/4 cup nut flour (I used almond), 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, and a pinch of salt. Sprinkle this over the meringue, and whisk on low speed for 30 seconds to combine.

Remove the bowl from the mixer, and use a spatula to fold the ingredients together. Remember to fold with a light touch, as you’re looking to keep as much air in the mix as possible.

There, a nice smooth batter without streaks of chocolate or nut flour.

Using a piping bag or spreading with a spatula, create small rounds on your paper.

You can see a little better in this picture, using white meringue. The circles in pencil are on the opposite side of the paper and can be helpful guidelines. Leave about an inch between circles for spreading during baking.

Bake the dacquoise discs for about 60 minutes, or until firm and dry to the touch. Turn off the oven and let the meringues cool in the oven with the door cracked open for about an hour, or up to overnight.

You can nibble the dacquoise plain, like a nutty meringue. Or you can make a dessert also known as dacquoise.

Stack two or three discs sandwiched with buttercream, ganache, jam, or the filling of your choice. When first assembled the dessert will be very crisp, layered with very soft filling. As the  stack sits, the meringue will absorb moisture from the filling and begin to soften.

When it’s just perfect, you’ll get bites with a touch of crunchy and a touch of smooth filling. In other words, the perfect bite. So weep no more, meringue fans, now’s the time to bake these beauties – while things are hot, hot, hot!

Please make, rate, and review our recipe for Chocolate Dacquoise.

Print just the recipe.

Check out other sweets for your sweetie: Chocolate Hearts, Lemon Love Buns, and Sam’s Pulled Pork Sandwich. (Hey, who says love has to be chocolate?)

MaryJane Robbins
About

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...

comments

  1. mhellman

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but the correct pronunciation would actually be along the lines of da-KWAZ. That “e” on the end means that the “s” gets pronounced. But however you want to say it, the pictures look delicious!
    I’m under the same impression about the pronunciation, but I’m going to confirm this with MJ first. Stay tuned for a verdict! ~Amy

    HI there,
    I’ve heard the pronunciation both ways, and from one memorable accent “dar-quar”, heavy on the Southern. In France, you would hear the “s” more prominently for sure. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  2. sugarbuzz

    can you give us a time frame for when the filled dacquoise softens just enough to make it perfect?
    Hmmm. That’s a great question and I’m not sure the answer, but I have put an alert to MJ to post and answer as soon as she is able. Thank you for your patience. ~Amy

    I’d say it takes a few hours. I liked the texture best the day after making the stacks, but you can try them at different stages to see which you like best. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  3. "Mia H"

    Can I make this with regular flour? I have a nut allergy :( These look like they’d be lovely for Valentine’s Day!
    If you are allergic to all nuts, I would give coconut flour a try! ~Amy

    Reply
  4. yourfavoritegnat

    Did you use a chocolate buttercream here? Looks delicious, cant wait to try!

    I am not 100% certain, but I do believe it is a chocolate ganache. I will double check with MJ though!-Jon

    Yes, it is a whipped chocolate ganache, but buttercream was 2nd on my list of yummy fillings to use. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  5. Leanne

    what about an alternative to nut flour? is there one?
    Lets look at the dacquoise family tree – Meringue is stiffly beaten egg whites and sugar, Dacquoise is nut flavored meringue using either nuts or nut flour. You might try coconut flour as mentioned in another comment. Wheat flour isn’t traditionally a part of these recipes. Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  6. marilin

    Perfect for ending a romantic dinner? Awwwww. Sorry, but it had to be said.

    We were thinking dinner, not the entire date! ;) Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  7. anne marie

    I’ve seen some meringue/pavlova recipes using vinegar. What does that do to the meringue and would it affect anything if I added it to this recipe?
    Great question! Adding vinegar or another acid (like cream of tartar) helps stabilize the whites and helps them handle the stress if they are overbeaten. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  8. zorra

    These are very intriguing. Questions: I have ‘almond meal’ in the freezer–will this work? Also, do you have a recipe for the ganache filling? Sounds delicious.

    Almond meal and almond flour can be used interchangeably so you certainly can! As for the ganache, we do have a basic ganache recipe that will work well. Just make sure to allow it to completely firm up before whipping it in your mixer.-Jon

    Reply
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  10. Carol Acosta

    Thanks for the recipe. I can use it for my left over egg whites with chopped cashew nuts (similar to Sylvannas) and finish it off with butter cream and chocolate shavings… a great dessert.

    Reply
  11. Kelly

    If it were spelled Dacquois it would be pronounced “da kwah”. However it is not… It is spelled Dacquoise, which calls for the s to be pronounced and as a “z”. The correct pronunciation is “Da kwaz” with emphasis on last syllable

    Reply

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