Meringues for the Easter Bunny
I have always loved meringue cookies. I haven’t had them in ages, and I don’t really know what came over me , but I woke up today and wanted to make them. I figured: Santa gets cookies, why not bake meringues for the Easter Bunny?
Fridays have become my husband’s day to take our 2-1/2 year old son to school, so I started my meringue product around 8:30 this morning. I had the kitchen to myself and everything was going my way. The recipe I used called for caster sugar. I wasn’t exactly sure what caster sugar was so I asked a friend who went to a really prestigious cooking school in California and he suggested I use Powdered Sugar. I was having a blast making these. My eggs peaked with no problem, and I loved folding in the food coloring and watching these magical colors appear. I felt like a little kid again. It was great! Then off into the oven they went. That’s when the trouble started. It was a windy day and 15 minutes into baking, the power went off and shut down the oven. The meringues didn’t look so great. They lost their stiffness and became little blogs of melted sludge. And they tasted horrible! There was no way these were going to work, so I scrapped the first batch and figured out my problem. It was the powdered sugar!
Determination got the best of me and I was back to separating the eggs, in the dark. I was hoping to have more time to myself and my kitchen but with no power, the schools closed and sent all the kids home. So, 2 hrs. later, the power came back on and there I was with my young son in the kitchen with me, deep into my second attempt to make these treats for the Easter Bunny. I researched caster sugar and it turns out it is superfine sugar, which is a specialty baking item. But, you can make your own approximation by blending regular granulated sugar in a food processor until it is really fine. I turned the oven back on to preheat and whipped these up in no time. I even got a little nap in when my son fell asleep and awoke to perfect meringues! Yay!
Recipe adapted from Stephanie Jaworski of Joy of Baking
6 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1-1/2 cup superfine or caster sugar (if you don’t have caster sugar, make your own by mixing granulated sugar in your food processor) *** Remember to use 1/4 cup of sugar for each egg white***
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Food Coloring : Red, Blue, Green, Yellow
Make the Meringues:
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place rack in the center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or foil.
2. Beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar. Continue to beat whites until they hold soft peaks.
3. Add the sugar, a little at a time. Whites will become really shiny. Continue to beat until the whites form very stiff peaks.
4. Beat in the vanilla
5. Prepare six bowls with desired food coloring. I used six different colors. Orange, Turquoise, Lime Green, Salmon, Violet & Pistachio
Orange: 2 drops red, 3 drops yellow
Turquoise: 1 drop green, 4 drops blue
Lime Green: 3 drops yellow, 1 drop green
Salmon: 3 drops red, 2 drops yellow
Violet: 2 drops red, 2 drops blue
Pistachio: 1 drop yellow, 4 drops green
6. Fold 1/2 cup of the meringue into each bowl . Use spatula to gently blend color together. Use a clean spatula for each bowl so colors don’t get mixed up
7. Transfer each mixture of meringue into Ziploc bag or pastry bag and pipe onto baking sheets. If using Ziploc bag, cut small hole on end. Alternatively, you may use spoons to mound meringue onto baking sheets.
8. Place the baking sheets in oven for approximately 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours. When meringues are pale and fairly crisp, turn off oven. Hold oven open a crack with wooden spoon or towel and allow meringues to dry overnight.
Recipe yields 48 (8 meringues of each color)