Holiday Cookie Exchange: Vanilla Meringues

Well, yes, it’s been a while since these meringues graced the shuffle board table at Emily’s house for the annual Holiday Cookie Exchange, but I was so proud of this accomplishment, I wanted to share it. It first started when I received my monthly copy of Bon Appetit magazine with succulent peppermint meringues on the cover. I usually not one for tricky recipes, but those little buggers looks adorable. I had to give it a try!


What did I tell you? Impossible to resist. Now, I had never made anything remotely similar to meringues before, but I have always found them like little pockets of candy heaven…sweet, sugary and perfectly able to melt in one’s mouth.

For this project, I needed to go shopping (and that’s never a bad thing). I started out scouting Micheal’s in search of the appropriate equipment: pastry bags, pastry tips and anything else that would make this task easy breezy. I settled on Decorating Tip No. 12 and, in true Chiara fashion, I bought one too many of everything. (But the good thing is, I will be making meringues until the end of time).

The recipe called for peppermint flavored meringues, but I am a big fan of minty candy, so I decided to use vanilla extract instead.

Here is the recipe, adopted from Bon Appetit, December 2011. (Makes about 30)

3 large egg whites at room temperature

1/8 tsp. Kosher salt

1/3 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of powdered sugar

1/8 tsp. of vanilla extract

12 drops of red food coloring

Preheat the over at 250 F. In a mixer, beat egg whites and salt until a nice, consistent foam forms.

Gradually add the sugar in 3 additions. Whip and whip and whip and whip and whip again, until the peaks are well-formed. Just like this.

Add powdered sugar and the food red coloring. At first it looked like something out of a Halloween movie, but once the mixture is formed, the food coloring melts beautifully creating luscious strikes of bright pink.

Prepare the pastry bag. Add the decorating tip and spoon meringues into the bag until half full. On a baking sheet aligned with parchment paper, pipe 1″ rounds about 1″ apart. Bake the meringues until they are completely dry, about 2 hours or so. Let them cool for about 1 hour and enjoy.

My free-hand piping work leaves something to be desired, but as my first attempt, I can be satisfied. At least, they tasted great! And the vanilla added a new dimension. What I thought was an insurmountable project, something way out of comfort zone, turned out to be a pleasurable, and quite sugary adventure. More of this, please! (And I cannot be responsible for the incredible sugar high. Ehhhhh!) 🙂

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New Year’s resolutions (eat more vegetables)

I never know where the time goes. It’s already January and I have yet to start on my New Year’s resolutions. (Blame it on the short vacation, beautiful weather, copious amounts of food and beverages). But January it is and the resolutions better start soon. Here they are: (in no particular order)

Eat more vegetables. I always tend to dance around veggies while preparing dinner. Coming home from work tired and deprived of imagination, I go for boring rather than creativity: potatoes, potatoes and potatoes (and Brussels sprouts).

Write more posts. This shouldn’t really be on the list, but with the little time I have to devote to the blog, I am going to make it my mission to populate this baby with tons of delicious recipes and posts.

– Therefore, cook more creative dishes. This really means that I need to experiment with ingredients, find perfect combinations (like truffle and butter), try new things (never cooked with collard greens),

Invent recipes. When I cook, I always try to think of other ways to incorporate a certain ingredient or how to transform a tired recipe into something new, fresh and fun. Wish me luck! Well…actually, wish Francesco luck because he will be the one trying my creations!

So, let’s get started! May 2012 bring all of you happiness, love and success.

Chiara