Well, the holidays are over. Now, I do realize we’re halfway through January, so I should probably say they have been done for awhile. But it’s not official until I take down the tree and put away my Menorah, and I did that yesterday. So now I can get back into the swing of things, ya know, eat more lettuce, try to stop eating those Ferrero Rochers that are still lurking around the house. I am sad it’s done, but I am also really relieved. This was my first holiday season with deadlines, packages, and actual customers. I have learned so much and am so incredibly grateful for the people who have purchased pieces of my work. It was definitely a learning experience, I didn’t get everything I wanted to do done, but I feel like I have grown so much in baking and ceramics. Which is why I started this blog in the first place, so thank you, to everyone who is reading this, it has helped me get a little bit closer to where I want to be. So here is to 2017. I already have a new list of goals and deadlines, along with exciting bakes and creative ceramic ideas so stay tuned. It’s gonna be good.
But for now I would like to talk about the magical world of eggs, or more specifically what they turn into when you whip them into a frenzy, to create a Meringue. There are so many different types of meringue, each has it’s place in the baking world, but meringue cookies, or merenguitos as my mom refers to them, is one of my absolute favorite types.
Having grown up in Miami, Florida with a feisty cuban lady as my mom, I was lucky enough to be introduced to a wide, delicious variety of food. Merenguitos, as I remember, came in a pack of two, and were quite darker than the ones I annually bake during christmas. It’s probably because I don’t cook them quite as long; I like to dance on that happy line between chewy and crunchy. There is also a vivid memory of them being too big for my hands, but that is probably because I must have been pretty little. But oh, were they good. I could eat them by the handfuls; happy, crispy, chewy handfuls!
Don't be afraid to try different designs, the possibilities are endless. Also please comment below to share any stories or tips that you might have about meringue, or even better make your own merenguitos and post a pic. I would absolutely love to see your creations!
The recipe below is adapted from my mother’s cookbook and Sugar rush
Serving Size: around 22 cookies
5 large egg whites
⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
Put the egg whites, cream of tartar, and ¼ cup of the granulated sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer with the whisk attachment. Turn the mixer onto medium and whip until the whites are foamy, and should just be starting to hold the trail of the whisk along the sides of the bowl.
While the whisk is running, very slowly sprinkle another ¼ cup of the granulated sugar onto the whites between the bowl and the edge of the whisk (if the sugar is added to quickly it will deflate the meringue). Slightly increase the mixer speed and whip until the whites to turn glossy, but are still soft. Slowly sprinkle in the remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar and increase the speed to medium-high, and whip for 2 to 3 minutes longer. The meringue should be very stiff and glossy.
Detach the mixing bowl from the stand and sift a quarter of the confectioners’ sugar through a fine-mesh strainer onto the egg whites. Using the largest rubber spatula you have, gently fold the sugar into the meringue. Move slowly so you don’t knock the air out of the whites. Continue to sift and fold gently until the all the sugar is used, and the mixture is smooth with no noticeable lumps.
Use a piping bag and different tips to pipe whatever shapes and squiggles you like onto lined baking sheets. Bake for 1 hour, rotating the pans halfway through. Baking time may vary depending on the size of the meringues; the cookies should feel dry, light, and hollow and have no give when you press on them.