14 November 2010

meringue kisses

Meringues are some of the simplest and most versatile cookies to make. Cookies? Confections? Whatever, lol. I say simple because the most basic merginue only has 2 (maybe 3) ingredients: egg whites and sugar... and maybe salt (or cream of tartar) as a stabilizer. Versatile because you can flavor them pretty much any way you can imagine - use a vanilla bean, extracts, zests, spices, etc. This time I made one batch and split it into vanilla and chocolate.
I found out AFTER I made this recipe that meringues generally fall into two categories: The kind that creates something of a crisp shell and a marshmallowy center. I associate this texture more with pavlovas (basically a topped meringue, lol) than cookies. These are also delicious, and you get the contrasting textures which is interesting. There's also the kind that's crisp all the way through, which is my favorite because it kind of crumbles then melts on your tongue when you eat. And apparently it tastes kinda like the marshmallows you get in kids cereals, lol. I attained both textures when I made these -- I got the marshmallowy one first, then decided I wanted it crisp, so I dropped the oven temp to 200 and baked for another 25 minutes to dry it out. Turned out just the way I liked it!

Two tips: First, since you just gotta say it when it comes to making meringues: CLEAN BOWL! CLEAN UTENSILS! Clean = Successful :-) Second, did you notice how my chocolate ones kind of cracked? I shouldn't have opened the oven door so many times. And to avoid cracking as they cool, I turned off the oven, cracked open the oven door, then let them cool slowly that way.

Meringue Kisses

3 egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 C superfine sugar (food process granulated sugar for about 30 seconds to make superfine), divided
1 vanilla bean, split and caviar scraped
1 tbsp cocoa powder
Special equipment: stand mixer (preferably), and 2 piping bags and tips (one for each flavor)

Preheat oven to 300. Line 2 pans with parchment paper.

Mix vanilla caviar into 1/2 of the sugar and set aside. Combine egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and beat at medium spead until foamy. Turn mixer to high. Add the plain sugar slowly, a table spoon at a time. Then add the vanilla sugar little by little, all while the mixer is running. Beat until glossy and stiff peaks form (check by sticking a spoon in and pulling out real quick - peak should stand straigt up like in the pics above. Also, make sure your mixer is OFF before you do that!) Also, check that most of the sugar is dissolved - if you rub it between your thumb and finger, it shouldn't be too grainy.

For the vanilla meringes, fill first piping bag with half the meringue. To make the chocolate ones - fold the cocoa powder into the 2nd half of the batter. Once it's even, fill other piping bag. Pipe 1-1/2" rounds onto baking sheets. (Should make approximately 30 of each.) Bake for 30-35 minutes. If you like marshmallowy center meringues, turn off oven, crack door, and allow to cool. If you want it completely crispy, drop the temp to 200 and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, then turn off oven, crack door, and allow to cool.

Store in an airtight container.

I put some out at Friendsgiving, then paired them up in little baggies for guests to take home:

1 comment:

  1. The stand you have them on is kind of adorable.
    Also, there's a typo in the last sentence, you seem to have forgotten to type "and then I put some away to take to work".