It is bake exchange time!! I have been humming and ha-ing over what to make. We have our largest bake exchange yet and there are some heavy hitters at this party! Some of those in attendance at the bake exchange extraordinaire include Mandy from Whipped , Susie from Suze Homemaker, and Trina from Tortes by Trina is our gracious hostess with the mostess! There is some pressure here to keep up with these amazing ladies!
As a result I have been toying with meringues! I have attempted peppermint meringes but they haven't held up too well. I think I have been adding too much peppermint extract and deflating the meringues. (An interesting fail turned success here includes adding cocoa to the sugar, mixing it into the glossy but deflated whites, stirring in some frozen raspberries and freezing to make a peppermint chocolate raspberry semi fredo!)
The whole fam-damily seems to really enoy the cinnamon meringues so I decided to go with those. I have tried sprinkling coarse sugar on them to make them dazzle and add some pizzazz but the is something quite quaint and eloquant about a piped meringue. Light, crisp, and slightly chewy inside, these melt in your mouth cinnamon meringues are divine! The original recipe for these can be found here, on the Food Network site.
Make 'em any way you want Meringues!
(so called because once you get the hang of meringues, you can change the flavourings, fold in different add ins and really make it your own)
4 egg whites (I used the egg whites from a carton, just to make it easier. I really didn't want to waste all those
1/4 tsp lemon juice (or 1/8 tsp cream of tartar)
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
If you are separating whole eggs, make sure there is absolutely no yolks in the whites. Any amount of fat, no matter how small will cause an epic fail and the egg whites will not whip up properly. This goes for any residue on your bowl or whisks. Wash them in hot soapy water to make sure there are no oils or fats what so ever that will work against you. I think this is why my peppermint meringues didn't work: there was oil in the extract I was using.
Bring the egg whites to room temperature for about 1/2 an hour. Room temperature whites will whip up quicker than cold whites.
Meanwhile, back at the lab.....I mean kitchen..
In a bowl, mix together the 2/3 cup of sugar (and the cream of tartar, if using) and set aside.
In a separate bowl, mix together the 2/3 icing sugar and the 1 tbsp cornstarch. (Cornstartch while not necessary will help the meringues maintain a nice chewy centre.)
Also mix in any spices such as 1 tsp of cinnamon into the icing sugar. Set this aside.
Add the 1/4 tsp lemon juice (if using). This will act as a stabilizer to help prevent deflation of your heavenly mass of meringueness. If you have cream of tartar, mix it in with the sugar.
Add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time. This should be a slow process so the sugar has time to dissolve and work its magic. Adding the sugar will turn the whites from a bubbly mass of fun to a nice glossy mass of sugary meringue madness.
|Add the sugar one tbsp at a time!|
|Now that's a nice peak!|
|A snowfall of sugary sweetness!|
Once you have a lovely mass of glossy, stiff peaks of egg white madness, it is time to sift in the icing sugar mixture!!
Gently fold the icing sugar mixture until it is well incorporated.
Now is the time to scoop the meringue into a piping bag and start piping!
|Start by applying gentle pressure to the bag|
With the tip close to the parchment paper, start by applying a gentle squeeze on the bag.
Now draw a circle with the meringue as you apply pressure. (the more pressure you squeeze on the bag, the more quickly you will have to draw your circles)
Finish the circle by overlapping slightly and draw into the centre of the circle.
Stop applying pressure to (or squeezing the icing bag) and pull the whole she-bang up. You can either leave the fancy tip on the meringue or you can use a clean finger to rid of them. If you leave the sharp points on, they will most likely get knocked off after they are baked.
Bake in a 200 degree F for 1 hour, 15 minutes. Finished meringues will be light and airy. They will also be dry to the touch.
Allow the meringues to cool on their sheets.
|All packaged up and ready to exchange!|