Friday, April 26, 2013

Leftover Egg Whites- What To Do? Meringues!

Meringues!  I haven't made meringues since grade six Home Economics class way back when.  They were just plain old dollops of gooey good stuff on a baking sheet.  So easy!

This past week, I have been baking lemon meringue pies.  That left me with nine egg whites to get creative with.  What to do?  Back to my cooking roots... These meringues are flavoured with crushed walnuts and with crushed chocolate espresso beans.

This recipes make approximately eighteen three inch meringues.

8     large egg whites, at room temperature
1/8  tsp fine sea salt
1 1/2 cup superfine sugar (granulated sugar works well also)
1/4  tsp cream of tartar
1/2  tsp vanilla extract
1     cup chocolate covered espresso beans, finely crushed  (optional- for the espresso/choco variety)
(or 1/2 cup of crushed espresso beans and 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips)
or 1 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts (optional- for the walnut variety)

Place the oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 200 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt on medium-low speed until frothy, about one minute.  With the machine on medium-high speed, gradually add the sugar (beating about 20 seconds between each addition) one tablespoon at a time.  Add the cream of tartar, vanilla extract and chocolate espresso beans or walnuts (if using).  Increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture is thick and holds stiff peaks.  If using mini chocolate chips, fold them in with a spatula.

Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag and pipe the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets- I made three-inch diameter circles.  Space them two inches apart.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Rotate the pan and bake another thirty 30 minutes.  Do not let them brown, but they should be dry.  Turn off the oven and allow the meringues to cool while still in the oven, about two hours.  Remove from the oven and let cool completely.  Store in bags or in an airtight container for up to four days.  They can also be frozen for approximately one month.

Think of other flavours to add to your meringues: lemon or orange zest, crushed almonds, crushed candy canes, cocoa powder, rum extract... the sky's the limit!

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