I needed something light and sweet for dessert and for once, there wasn’t any granita in my freezer! So I decided to whip up a batch of meringues, but because I’m off my rocker, I decided they needed to be flavored. and colored. in a rainbow. I know, this is your exact thought process when you want something sweet too. But don’t they look delicious?
mmm and just think – in every color and a rainbow of flavors…..yum. So I pulled down the King Arthur flour recipe for meringues and gathered up the ingredients.
My only modification to the recipe was to substitute flavorings for almond extract and gel food coloring for effect.
This recipe calls for castor sugar. Castor sugar is about $30 an ounce and plain, granulated sugar is about $3 an ounce. I can make castor sugar for that cost savings. Just throw your sugar into the ole mini-chopper and press go. I generally stop when I can smell the motor start to overheat.
Now it’s time to meringue. There’s a debate about if it’s easier to separate eggs warm or cold. I usually go for warm eggs, but whatever way allows you to separate the eggs without getting any yolk in there is the way to go.
Now whip, whip, whip until you see stiff peaks. You can see here that even though I have a pretty stiff peak, there is still quite a bit of grit in the meringue.
The gel food colorings are strong, so a bit on a toothpick is the way to go. Remember, you can always add more color, but you can’t take it out! Depending on your flavoring, you’ll need to add a few drops to 2/3 t. The same principle of less is more applies here as well. You can always add more flavoring in later.
The addition of so much liquid to the meringue is bound to deflate the meringue a bit so pull out the trusty hand mixer and whip it up again. This also helps to produce an even color throughout the meringues.
There sure is one thing that meringues DON’T like and that’s fat. So if any yolk comes into contact with the meringue you’ll never get stiff peaks. And if your flavoring/extract has oil in it, then you’re done. Here I added the mint extract to the green meringues. The extract contains a small amount of peppermint oil and you can see, I’ve got a disaster on my hands. The only solution is to add in gobs of meringue or just toss the batch. Since this was at the end of my meringue making marathon, I decided to just add in more meringue to help stiffen it up. Of course, even then, the green ones weren’t solid enough to pipe. Oh well, at least they made cute little blobs and tasted good.
This little episode did cause me to check out all my other extracts – the lemon and the orange definitely contained oil as well! So back to the cake shop to pick up the specialty flavorings that don’t have any oil in them: Orange Cream and Lemonade.
Once you have the color and flavor balance right, spoon or pipe the meringues on to a baking sheet. Here I’ve pipped a row of cherry meringues on to the baking sheet. The oven is preheating to 250. I just need to fill up this parchment paper baking sheet and they are ready to go in!
Mandy Nevin thinks the next time I make these I need to make flavor combinations like Cherry Lemonade (one cherry meringue and one lemonade meringue). I’ll think about it, but it’s gonna be a while before I make more meringues!