Also? I'm a recipe FOLLOWER.
Yeah, I like to change things up every once in a while but... you really ought to know what you're doing when you do that. I have a friend who tried to make chili once but, she was out of tomato paste so... she used ketchup. I'm sure I don't have to tell you how that turned out. Gag-o-matic!
I don't want to be that girl!
I've also been cooking my way through Jamie Oliver's cookbooks. I love them. I don't like them. I LOVE them. They're really fun... really interesting... and really HELPFUL when it comes to trying new things. Whether you're an accomplished cook... or totally don't know what you're doing in the kitchen... they're fabulous. Go get one... you'll see I'm right! He said that meringue was easy. But I've SEEN meringue... it's light... it's fluffy... if you blow on it too hard, it'll shatter. I thought Jamie Oliver was full of crap. (On just that ONE thing! Please forgive me for doubting you St. Jamie!)
I didn't try his recipe for meringue. I skipped that page. Cooked right on past it. But it's always been in the back of my brain...taunting me.
This week, my buddy was having a Christmas cookie exchange and I was digging thru another cookbook (Pillsbury Christmas 2010) when I saw a recipe for Candy Cane Meringue... and I knew I had to give it a whirl. I'd already made a bunch of other cookies so, I figured "If these are awful, no one will know but me!" Usually meringue sort of just looks like blobs... pretty, sort of frosting-star-like blobs. This recipe called for piping the meringue out into candy can shapes instead! They're so cute!
|Seriously... cute right?|
Candy Cane Meringue
3 egg whites
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 Cup of sugar
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
red or pink food coloring
Heat your oven to 200 degrees and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. (Yes, you could use foil but, that changes how meringue will bake. Do yourself a favor and get parchment paper. It's not expensive and it's a million time better than foil when it comes to baking!)
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on high until it's very foamy. Add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, while beating with the mixer until the meringue is stiff and glossy. (It'll almost look like marshmallow fluff!)
Beat in the peppermint extract. (You may need to add a little more sugar to stiffen the meringue back up after you add the extract. Sometimes the alcohol in extract can deflate it a little.)
The recipe called for using a decorator bag with a 1/4 in. star tip. I used a Pampered Chef product called an Easy Accent Decorator because I don't have a decorator bag. When I've absolutely needed one before, I've just used a gallon size resealable bag with a corner cut off. I opted for the decorator because it has different decorative tips and it's really easy to use. I don't love all PC products but, I've used this thing more than I can count and it's awesome. (And nobody paid me to say that... it's just the truth.)
Using a small paint brush, paint 4 or 5 evenly spaced red stripes on the inside of whatever you're using to pipe the meringue. Make sure that you paint from the upper end of the bag all the way to the tip. I used a food coloring gel (versus the liquid drops) and it worked really well when it came to painting those stripes!
Use a spoon to fill the bag (or decorator or whatever!) really carefully. Don't rush it and mess up your pretty stripes! Pipe 2.5 inch candy canes onto the lined cookie sheets. Bake them for about an hour or until they are dry but NOT BROWN!
Start to finish, this whole process takes about an hour and 20 minutes. And it makes 42 candy canes!
They are so yummy! So light... really minty and refreshing! If you've never had meringue before... it's sort of similar to eating cotton candy. It melts in your mouth and is sort of like eating flavored air! They're less of a cookie and more of a candy.
I can't say that these are great for mailing... meringue would shatter in the shipping process for SURE! But they're fabulous for taking to a holiday party! The RiceCakes LOVE them and so does their Daddy! I think tomorrow, I'm gonna melt one in my coffee! YUM!
Give 'em a whirl! These were the first ones I've ever made and it was so much easier than I thought it would be.
|Candy Cane Meringue Wreath anyone?|