Monday, February 13, 2012

Meringue Hearts

The other night I babysat my nieces so my brother and sister-in-law could have a nice date night. I thought it would be fun to create a Valentine's-themed dessert with my cooking assistants. These turned out super cute, although I did have a few notes. You need to use food coloring gel. I just used regular food coloring and it made no difference once the meringues were cooked. Also, you want to cook these for about 2.5 hours, so plan accordingly. Also, while they are still hot they are really hard to pull up from the parchment paper. Let them sit for a while and then try removing them from the paper. Works like a charm. And finally, you want to use a wide, exaggerated heart cookie cutter. I started off with my thick, fat cookie cutter and the hearts weren't really defined enough. Then I switched and they turned out great.

Meringue Hearts
from here

5 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
Pinch of cream of tartar
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pink gel-paste food coloring

I started by measuring out the brown sugar, egg whites and the cream of tartar. My expert assistants helped me dump the ingredients into the bowl
I brought a pot of water to a simmer, then placed the bowl on top. We whisked until the ingredients were warm and the sugar dissolved. The mix starts to get a little bubbly- you'll know it's done then. Remove the bowl and using a hand or stand mixer, beat on high until soft peaks form. Basically you should see little swirls in the meringue and they shouldn't disappear after turning off the mixer. Then we added the food coloring and the vanilla and stirred.

 Using a spoon, I filled the cookie cutter with meringue. As you can see I started with the fat, small ones.
Then slowly and gently pull the cookie cutter up. The hearts weren't as defined as I'd like.
 So I tried the fatter shapes. Worked much better.
 I baked them for about 3 hours.  Next time, I'd probably do a little less. As you can see, there were dark brown rims about the outside. Before trying the red food coloring, we tried some pink decorating gel. Turns out it wasn't food coloring gel, but decorating gel. So it sort of melted out of the meringues and caramelized. Once the meringues cooled, I trimmed the brown sides off.
They turned out just beautifully. Sure they were brown and not pink, but I just love them. I love that they were perfect hearts and had nice swirls on them. Happy Valentine's Day week!

2 comments:

  1. They're definitely pretty, and would be even better looking if you used red or pink coloring gel next time. But, query: how did they taste? Is an all-meringue dessert worth making?

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  2. They are amazing. You've never had meringues? Seriously freaking delicious. Although these aren't the best. But the best of the best are incredible.

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