Christmas spiced hazelnut meringues

I love these meringues, they’re so easy to make and with their festive spices and chopped hazelnuts these are perfect for Christmas. This method makes meringues with a whole in the centre, so you can use ribbon to hang them as decorations from your tree or anywhere around the house. Once made, the meringues keep in an airtight tin for up to two weeks.

1. Preheat the oven to 140°C (275°F), Gas mark 1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. If you’d like to make a guide for your meringues, you can draw the outlines of shapes in pencil on to the parchment paper. I like to use special shaped cookie cutters as a guide. You could just do a circle, or you could try drawing a star, a Christmas tree or even a snowflake! They shouldn’t me much more than about 7cm across. It’s important that there’s just an outline as you’ll need a whole in the centre to place the thread through so you can hang your meringues.

2. Place the egg whites in a large, spotlessly clean bowl. Use a whisk to break up the egg whites, then add the sugar all in one go. Whisk at high speed until the mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks.

3. Using a large spatula or metal spoon, fold in the finely chopped hazelnuts and spices, then spoon the meringue mixture into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle about 5-10mm in diameter. Hold the bag at a 45-degree angle and pipe out the meringue following the pencil outlines on the parchment paper, making sure to leave a hole in the middle. If you can, try and pipe out in a continuous line. If there are gaps then the meringue won’t stay together as well when cooked. Continue piping out designs until you have used all the meringue mixture.

4. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Test a meringue by lifting off the paper. If it lifts off easily it is done. The meringues will crisp up more when cooling. For the best results, turn off the heat and allow to cool in the oven with the door slightly ajar. If possible, allow to cool completely in the oven.