Monday, February 8, 2016

Meringue Swirls

The fever for making desserts has not passed from our home. The latest recipe is meringue swirls, taken from the fabulous Martha Stewart's website.

  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • Large pinch of salt
  • Large pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh orange zest
  • Gel-paste orange food coloring
The first task was to zest an orange.

Carefully crafting a key ingredient

The eggs needed separating as well, another new skill acquired by our daughter.

Making egg whites

Food coloring was another chore. We own a bunch of basic colors but not orange. So we had to mix yellow and red.

With the ingredients ready, we started to cook. Here are the directions!

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl. Add vanilla bean seeds. Put bowl over simmering water in a pot. Stir for about 3 minutes until sugar dissolves and mixture is warms. Add salt and cream of tartar.

    Mixing the first ingredients over hot(ish) water

  2. Beat with a mixer on medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form and meringue is mostly cooled, about 7 minutes. Beat in zest.

    Tasting her work

  3. Using a small paintbrush, paint three stripes of food coloring inside a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip.

    Adding stripes (they look awfully red)

    Fill bag with the meringue mixture. Pipe 1 3/4-inch circular shapes 2 inches apart on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. As you finish piping each shape, apply less pressure to pastry bag, and swirl the tip off in a circular motion.

    Making the cookies

  4. Bake meringues until crisp on the outside but still soft inside, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Our results were mixed. They taste great but the swirls are barely visible and we did have some separation at the bottom of the cookies. Our bakers report that next time they will: use more food coloring, paint the coloring on the bag right before filling the bag with meringue, and beat the egg whites until they are even stiffer. Still, not bad for a first try.

Top view

Some separation

Still tastes great

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