Vanilla Meringues

Last night, my dad and I went to go see Avatar. It seemed almost impossible to see it, since we left the house to go to the SUPER NICE theater thirty minutes away to see it in IMAX, only to see that that CERTAIN time was sold out, and there was a three-and-a-half hour wait until the next one (EW). I was on the verge of giving up, but my dad had the idea of going to the normal theater we’ve always gone to, since it just opened an IMAX screen. I found a time that was about twenty minutes away, and we got there. Sold out. GREAT. Let’s go home! But wait! There’s one in two hours in 3D. That’s okay! So we went shopping a bit (well, I did. x] ) and came back an hour later to wait in line. We were about 15th in line, and I FOUGHT (okay, no) for the middle-of-the-row-in-the-middle-of-the-theater-seats. YES. THANK YOU.

All in all. BEST MOVIE EVER. I swear. FASTEST THREE HOURS OF MY LIFE. No joke. See it. Please…you WILL be taken to another world. Oh man, we’re going to go see it again in IMAX now…I have to.

ANYWAY. Earlier that day, I wanted to try my hand at whipping egg whites BY HAND. I have tried it before, let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. Lots of break downs and loss of self-esteem. Only to discover while watching an egg white episode of Good Eats that:

A: My whisk didn’t have enough wires (for air-incorperation) and
B. My bowl was plastic (there are molecules in plastic that contain fat, an enemy of the whipped egg white) and
C. I gave up too early.

SO. I picked up a piano whisk that looked cheffy from my dad’s store (he has a restaurant equipment business) and I took out my old stainless steel mixing bowl (that or copper works just as well). I then brought the egg whites to room temperature, added my cream of tartar, and BEAT THE TAR OUT OF THOSE EGG WHITES.

Until they reached stiff peaks!

Oh it feels good…and since I put so much effort into them, I was going to make them meringues. So I whisked in some vanilla, folded in some red food coloring, used my #30 Ateco tip (and painted some small stripes of red gel food coloring for stripies!) and made about 48 meringues!

I love meringues…

Oh, yeah, I know I put three hours. I never said this was fast food!

Basic Meringues
Ingredients
3 egg whites
3/8 tsp. Cream of Tartar
1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon sugar (I used my vanilla sugar)
Food coloring
1 1/2 tsp. extract of your choosing

Method
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

MIXER METHOD:
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine egg whites and cream of tartar. Whisk on medium low until the mixture becomes frothy.
2. When the mixture becomes frothy, increase speed to medium, SLOWLY pour in the sugar as you whisk until all is incorperated. Increase speed to high until stiff peaks are reached, about 3-5 minutes. DO NOT TAKE IT PAST THIS STAGE.
3. Putting speed to medium, put in the extract and coloring and turn off promptly.

HAND METHOD:
1. In a stainless steel or copper bowl, put ROOM TEMPERATURE egg whites with cream of tartar. Whisk until slightly thickened and frothy, DON’T STOP. (don’t give up!)
2. Slowly add in sugar while constantly whisking, whisk until you reach stiff peaks. About 8-10 minutes of continuous whisking.
3. Whisk in food coloring and extract.

Fit a piping back with a tip of your choice (I recommend Ateco #30 for size and shape, and pipe 1″ meringues (if this is your first time, I recommend this size for ease of baking) on the parchement paper. Place pan in oven for 3 hours.
-> TIP: For even more effectiveness, DON’T OPEN THE OVEN for the three hours, then once the time is over, turn OFF the oven and don’t open the door for several hours. You can do this at night and get the meringues out in the morning. If you do this, you won’t end up with sticky meringues!
->ANOTHER TIP: Watch your humidity, humidity is the ENEMY of meringues, they will NEVER dry out if it is humid outside. Living in Oklahoma, this is a lot.

Happy Baking!
Clara

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