Clues: she’s fluffy, really snuggly (sometimes), has a ferocious five-pound bark, two wittle-tiny paws for mixing ingredients, and a button-nose for sniffing out delicious baked goods.
She’s my puppy! Well, I guess she’s more of a grown up now in age, but she still seems like a puppy. And she’s the best darned baking assistant I’ve got.
She’s pretty cute, too.
So as you may know, I flew back home a few days ago. One of the perks of a two hour layover? Reading magazines in the airport stores. I found two recipes for meringue that I was just dying to try once I got home. And once I get an idea in my head, I usually can’t get it out until I do it. Thankfully, my parents are in charge of bringing some cookies to church on Sunday so I used the opportunity to test out over 60 of these crisp, melt-in-your-mouth creations.
I didn’t think meringues would be hard. I mean, I’d never made them before, but I’m a pretty optimistic person. When I told my dad I was making them he looked up from reading and said “Meringues? You’re going to try to make meringues?” I didn’t understand what the big deal was. Until I started finding dozens of websites online dedicated to helping people make successful meringues. Until I called my grandma and she offered a few really, REALLY helpful tips on how to make them correctly. Until I started really reading the recipes, instead of just glazing over the pretty pictures.
Despite all of these signs that indicated that I probably shouldn’t make meringue (I’ve discussed my past baking mishaps before…) I decided to go ahead and do it anyway. We picked up a box of macaroons to bring to church in case my cookies failed.
But I’m proud to report that the meringues were a SUCCESS! They are light, semi-sweet, packed with flavor, and even look pretty. I think it might be Muffy’s help baking that made the meringues work. Maybe I should invite her to help me more often!
Anyway, I’ll post one of the meringue recipes right now and another one tomorrow. I will include all of the tips that I found useful from the internet and my grandma and Muffy of course. Moral of the meringue story? Browse through magazines and find the prettiest picture of food you can find, do a little research, then grab your puppy or your best pal and get to work making a delicious creation!
Mocha-Cocoa Meringues (Adapted from a recipe in Shape magazine)
Important: before assembling ingredients or even thinking about getting to work baking, put a big mixing bowl and beaters in the fridge to cool them off. You’ll want them to be cold before beating eggs and other ingredients.
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
6 hershey’s kisses, unwrapped and cut with a knife into the thinnest shavings you can manage
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of Tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon almond milk (or more if you want a more liquidy drizzle)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with wax paper (I had to line 2 baking sheets).
2. In a small bowl, combine cocoa, espresso, hershey’s shavings, and cinnamon. Set aside.
3. In the large bowl (taken out from the fridge) beat egg whites until frothy using an electric mixer set to medium speed (about one minute). Add cream of Tartar, salt, and vanilla; increase speed to high, and continue beating until soft peaks form (about two minutes). Slowly add sugar, one tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form and mixture becomes glossy (about four minutes). Gently fold in cocoa mixture and then beat on medium for thirty seconds, or until all ingredients are mixed. Don’t beat too long in this step.
4. Spoon the mixture into a large ziploc bag (or a pastry bag if you’re fancy). Cut a little 1/4 inch hole in the corner of the bag and pipe 1 1/2 inch meringues onto prepared baking sheet.
5. Bake for 45 minutes at 250 degrees. Turn off oven and leave cookies in there for at least 45 minutes longer. Important: Do not open oven this ENTIRE TIME! (I know, it seems impossible to resist, but turn on the oven light to check on the cookies. I took Muff-puff for a walk while I had to wait to keep myself from checking on them). Remove from oven, transfer to a wire rack (BE CAREFUL NOT TO BREAK COOKIES) and let them cool completely.
6. While cookies are cooling, make the drizzle. Mix all ingredients listed in a small bowl and then drizzle on top of meringues once they are completely cool. Then, give Muffy a high-five and pop a few meringues into your mouth. Give her a treat for being such a good helper in the kitchen! 🙂
Hope you enjoy these as much as I did! (And hopefully, as much as the whole congregation does at church tomorrow!)
Do you have any great tips for making meringues? What fun variations have you made?
Make sure to check back tomorrow for a Peppermint-swirl Meringue recipe. These meringues are the CUTEST!