Thursday, June 12, 2014

Vanilla Meringue Kisses

I made these meringue kisses with Eton Mess in mind. Eton Mess is a traditional English dessert comprised of crushed meringues, whipped cream and strawberries. Sounds good right? Except I didn't get around to the whole "mess" bit, I wound up just eating the crunchy meringues by themselves.

Making meringues in a tiny gas oven is tricky business. I have attempted it a few times before this, adjusting mixing methods and temperatures. Sadly, my meringues were always either chewy or browned-boarding on burnt. Not ideal.

This time around, I made a Swiss meringue. In this recipe, all the ingredients are whisked together over a double broiler until the sugar just melts. This mixture gets transferred to a stand mixer and whipped until glossy and pipe-able. After piping and baking, I turned the oven off, cracked the door, and let the cookies cool overnight.

It worked!

I had high hopes for these cookies. I was going to layer them with softly whipped cream and strawberries in cute little glasses. I was going to scatter strawberries in the background of the pictures, making the dessert look both a little rustic and a little fancy (a trend that is so hot right now.) Instead, I ate a few every time I had a cup of coffee... which if you know me is quite often. Before I knew it, they were gone. Pretty much the story of my life.

Vanilla Meringue Kisses
makes about 3 dozen cookies

2 eggs whites
1/2 c sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch cream of tartar
- - -
1. Place all ingredients into a small steel bowl and whisk to combine
2. Make a double boiler by placing this bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water
3. Stir over heat until the sugar melts (mixture will be warm but not hot)
4. Transfer the warm egg mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and mix on high until meringue is cool and stiff peaks almost form (about 7 minutes); while this is going on pre-heat your oven to 175F
5. Pipe meringue onto a parchment lined baking sheet, don't worry about spacing them to far apart they won't spread as they bake
6. Bake kisses at 175 for 60 minutes, turn off the oven, and crack the ovendoor... use a rolled up kitchen towel to keep the oven door propped ajar
7. Allow meringues to cool in the open oven for 4-6 hours (or overnight)

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