Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mischievous Meringues

Happy Halloween!! 

I thumbed through a bunch of magazines at the grocery store and was inspired to try making French Meringue cookies for the first time.  I was a little scared; I thought maybe they'd be finicky and requires lots of sweet whispering in order to turn out mildly ok.  I was totally wrong.  These little puppies are so fun to make!  Plus, they're fat-free, gluten-free, and milk-free!

The recipe only requires 3 ingredients and about 20 minutes to get put together and onto the cookie sheet.  And then, the meringues take....3 hours to bake.  But don't let that deter you!  You just put them in the oven and let them do their (slow) thing.  I'm imagining all kinds of shapes that you could make for other occasions - snowflakes and snowmen, initials, numbers, words, hearts, and on and on.

A couple of notes:  French meringue cookies are sensitive to moisture, so don't go crazy adding in lots of food dye and/or flavorings.  (I added 1/4c. powdered sugar just to compensate for my 1tsp. vanilla.)  Go ahead and swap out the vanilla for whichever flavoring you like - 1/2 tsp. peppermint and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extracts would be so yummy for Christmas, don't you think?  Also, I've read that baking these on a humid or rainy day can require longer baking time.  It was both rainy and humid when I made these last night, and they were finished in 2 1/2 hours.  So, just check them after 2 1/2 hours and go from there.


French Meringues

4 egg whites
2 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
chocolate chips for eyes, or other decorations

Preheat the oven to 185 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a chilled glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites until foamy using an electric mixer at medium speed (I set my KitchenAid to "6").  Add vanilla (and food coloring, if desired).  Add in the powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, while continuing to whip at medium speed. When the mixture becomes stiff and shiny like satin, stop mixing, and transfer the mixture to a large pastry bag (or large ziploc bag with a corner snipped off). Pipe the meringue out onto the parchment paper using a large round tip or star tip.  Place chocolate chips into your shapes or add sprinkles.

Place the meringues in the oven and bake on the middle rack for 2 1/2 - 3 hours, or until the meringues are dry, and easily slide on the parchment paper. Allow cookies to cool completely before storing in an airtight container at room temperature.

Egg whites:  Foamy.

Egg whites:  Stiff, and shiny like satin. 

To make filling easier, I use a tall glass to prop up my
pastry bag (or ziploc) while I spoon in the meringue.

Before baking: 
(this recipe filled 2 cookie sheets)

And after!

A ghost owwie: 

The inside of meringue cookie is crunchy and fluffy,
all at the same time. 

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  1. I came looking for your caramel corn recipe but I think I am going to go for these instead. What did you use for the eyes on the ghost?

  2. Upside down chocolate chips! Poke them in before baking :) Ditto for sprinkles.

  3. They turned out great! I think I may try these today!

  4. I made them today and they turned out pretty good. My oven sucks and the temp was too hot so I think that is what caused them to crack, but other than that, very nice. I need to get a pastry bag thingy because it would have made my life much easier. I started with Ziplock but it was one of those kinds that can stand up on its own there are folds in the bottom which doesn't lend itself to just cutting off a corner. So I SLOWLY pushed the goo out into this little cake decorator plastic thing I have and used that, but I had to transfer the stuff slowly but surely.

    Anyway, thanks for the idea! I will use it again in the future!


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