Friday, February 12, 2016

Love is in the Air

I've gushed about meringues before, and I'm hear to tell you that I am still in love with this light and airy treat.

So in love, in fact, that I couldn't stop myself from making three different tasty varieties.

Actually, the person responsible for this multitude of meringue is my good friend Katie G. It's her fault that I had to make three different kinds...after all, she's the one who sent me three different tiny, adorable bowls. Did you know tiny dishes are my kryptonite? I can't help myself when it comes to tiny bowls, plates, cups, cutlery...but do you blame me? Just look at how cute they are!

I really should make Ms. Katie come down here to eat all of these meringues that she forced me to make...

Well, at least I would if they weren't pretty much already gone...

Vanilla Bean, Strawberry Balsamic and Chocolate Mocha. Happy Valentine's Day to my waistline.

Neapolitan Meringues
We'll use a base recipe for all three flavors, then separate the mixture into three parts- folding in the flavorings for each variety.

  • 4 egg whites, just below room temperature
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 TB vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 Vanilla Bean, scraped
  • 4 TB finely grated bittersweet or dark chocolate- divided
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 2 tsp strawberry jam*, plus more for topping
Preheat oven to 225 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl or stand mixture, begin whipping egg yolks and cream of tartar together until soft peaks form. Slowly (1 TB at a time, wait 15 seconds, repeat) add in the white sugar, then the powdered sugar. Add in vanilla extract. 

Divide meringue mixture among three bowl. Working quickly and gently, fold in the vanilla bean scrapings to one bowl, 2 TB of the chocolate and the espresso powder into another, and 2 tsp of jam into the third.

Add mixtures into piping bags (use whatever tip you desire) and pipe onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle remaining chocolate shavings onto the chocolate mocha, and make an indentation in the center of the strawberry balsamic. (If desired, you can add a little pink gel food coloring to the inside of the piping bag in order to add a bit more color.)

Bake for 1-2 hours, depending on the size of the meringues and how hot your oven runs. You should be able to easily remove the meringue from the parchment- if there's any sticking, the meringues aren't done. 

Allow to cool, and add a dollop of jam to the strawberry balsamic just before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container and enjoy!

*Note: I made my own jam by reducing down a cup of frozen strawberries with 1-2 TB sugar and 1-2 TB water. Once the strawberries had broken down and reduced, I added in a splash of balsamic and cooled the mixture. If using store-bought jam for the recipe, you can stir in a small amount of balsamic, or omit all together. You'll still have lovely strawberry vanilla meringues!

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