Meringues can be a little intimidating, can't they? Sure, they're a cookie by technical standards. But they're light as air, somehow crunchy and delicate at the same time - they're a whipped egg white confection. Maybe most daunting of all, they're French. *gasp* I'll be the first to admit that French cuisine is a little intimidating (hell, it's already "cuisine" instead of just "cooking" or "food"), but meringues are one instance where they're surprisingly easier than you might think. If they weren't, they certainly wouldn't be showing up on my blog. You have my word on this one. And look, they can also be whimsical. They don't have to be fancy-schmancy. Yes, I'll say it: They can be the F-word. Meringues can be fun.
So go for it. Have a little fun. Cook up a little love. Click "Read More" to view the recipes and photo instructions. xoxo
MERINGUES TWO WAYS
PINK MERINGUE KISSES
- 2 large egg whites (let them come to room temperature)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- red food coloring
- 1 gallon plastic bag (Ziploc, for example)
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper (or a silpat liner). You definitely want to do this - I've had meringues fuse themselves to my naked baking sheets before. Parchment paper will solve all your problems with sticking.
In a large bowl, whip your egg whites with a hand mixer (or stand mixer) until there are soft peaks. This means going beyond the point where they're frothy. When you turn the mixer off and pull it out of the eggs and turn it upward, the pointy egg white fluff should fall over on itself - it should flop, or sag, or weep. At this point, stop mixing and add your sugar, vanilla, and red food coloring. Start with just a few drops of the food coloring to see how dark it will be. I wanted pale pink, so I only used a few drops. If you want darker pink, keep adding and mixing until you reach your desired color. Whip your egg whites until they're thick and glossy and have stiffer peaks that stand up more without falling down on themselves. It will look like this:
This is where your plastic baggie will come in handy. Take your whipped egg whites and put them in the bag, in one corner. If you have an actual pastry/piping bag, you could use that. It's just as easy (and more disposable = easy clean up) to use a plastic bag. You'll end up with something like this:
They'll come out looking much like they did before you baked them, only slightly more dry. If you're feeling particularly adventurous, you could melt some chocolate and dip the bottoms in the chocolate. Then toss them in the fridge for a few minutes to let the chocolate set up.
GLOSSY WHITE FRENCH MERINGUES
INGREDIENTS (modified from the original recipe)
- 2 egg whites, room temperature
- 1 1/8 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Be sure to line your baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat mat.
In a large bowl, whip your egg whites until foamy. Once foamy, add your almond extract and begin adding your powdered sugar a little at a time, whipping well after each addition. The original recipe says that you should allow your egg whites to whip for 30-40 minutes in a stand mixer. I don't have that kind of time. If you want them to get super substantial and super thick, then by all means, whip them for as long as you'd like. Me? I whipped them for approximately 5 minutes after all of the sugar was added in (which would account for the visual textural difference between mine and the ones pictured in the original recipe).
Again, you'll want your egg whites to be thick, glossy, and have stiff peaks. When they do, stop whipping and spoon them into your pastry bag or plastic baggie. Pipe them onto your baking sheet in any size, shape, or design you'd like. Since it's Valentine's time, I opted for hearts, X's, and O's. I sprinkled some colored sugar on a few as well.
As you can see, they do lose a little of their sheen after baking, but not all of it. This is normal.