This month saw the first 'special diet' themed Cake Eaters Anonymous event. There has been a lot of interest in running a gluten free/healthy option event and we decided that January would be the perfect month to do it in with everyone dieting and making healthy resolutions and all...
I won't lie, this is new territory for me. I'd almost call myself a gluten addict as I go through roughly 1 bag of flour per week in our normal family cooking and baking activities so I search high and low for a recipe I could try out that would fit the criteria.
I quickly found lots of meringue recipes which fit the bill nicely. I've never made meringue before (I've made meringue style frostings a few times) so I was keen to have a go. I decided to split my meringue mix and make some espresso flavoured and some chocolate flavoured as Mr Star Bakery keeps telling me I don't make enough coffee flavoured items - his favourite!
They were super easy to make and I've heard stories about meringues going horribly wrong and mainly due to the presence of oils/fat on your baking equipment which stops your meringues from forming stiff peaks. So I dutifully used white vinegar to wipe down my equipment which removes traces of fat and oil which can cause problems - I just cleaned it as normal then wiped the beaters and bowl down with a paper towel doused in vinegar.
I was trying to get some nice swirls of flavour throughout my meringues but I overmixed them, the flavour was yummy but I turned to my trusty piping nozzles to make them look pretty instead. They turned out lovely and chewy and maybe next time I'd bake them a little longer to give them a crispy exterior but I live and learn! This is a great recipe I have adapted from a few sources I found online. I decreased the sugar slightly as they were very sweet but I'll put both amounts down so you can choose which suits you best.
- 3 large egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (helps the egg whites form stiff peaks)
- 3/4 cup caster sugar (I decreased this to just over 1/2 a cup)
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp espresso powder/1 tbs cocoa (different for each flavour)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
2. Pre-heat oven to 135C/275F. Line baking sheet with baking parchment and set aside
3. Using your hand mixer, beat whites on low speed until foamy. Sprinkle egg whites with cream of tartar and salt.
4. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat until medium peaks form. At this stage the whites should be doubled in volume, and holding a peak with just the tops folding over. Something like the image above
Increase mixer speed to high, and add sugar mixture one tablespoon at a time, letting each spoonful dissolve before the next is added. Be patient!
5. When stiff and glossy peaks form, seperate your mixture and swirl in espresso or cocoa powder depending on your flavour choice. I also adeed vanilla bean for the speckled look!
6. Spoon meringue onto your prepared baking sheet 2 tablespoons at a time or pipe rounds onto sheet. I got about 20 meringues out of my mix but they varied in size.
7. Bake for 60-70 minutes in the top third of your oven and then turn off over and allow to cool completely on the baking sheet
8. Meringues will keep at room temperature in an air-tight container for 2-3 days.
|Chocolate dipped bottoms (ooh err missus)|
|How could I resist a rose swirled one?!|