This post is sponsored by Zak Designs. I used their fun confetti plates for this post which are made from recycled materials. You can find more of their products on Planet Zak and be sure to check out the Zak Designs blog.
There are some recipes that I consider to be magical. I don’t exactly understand the science behind them so to me it seems like a magical fairy has decided to bless my kitchen with special powers.
For example, I can get egg whites to stand perfectly still for an hour until they are dry enough to pick up and toss across a room.
This isn’t the first time I’ve made a meringue, but this is the first time I’ve relied on the meringue to stay completely in shape. Needless to say it worked, these are wonderful, and they might just be the perfect light treat to have around during the holidays.
1) Make sure eggs are room temperature and then separate out the whites from the yolks carefully. Work with one egg at a time and then transfer the whites to the larger bowl just to make sure you get no yolk in the mix. One drop of yolk will ruin this dish.
2) Add the egg whites to a stand mixer with a whisk attachment or use a hand mixer to beat the egg whites until they start to stiffen. Then add the tartar and continue to mix on medium for 1-2 minutes.
3) Slowly add in the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat the eggs on medium until they are very stiff and hold their shape completely.
4) Scoop meringue mixture into a piping bag with a large tip and pipe the meringue into little snow peaks on a few baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
5) Bake meringues at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour.
6) While meringues dry out in the hot oven, add candy canes to a plastic bag and crush well.
7) When meringues come out of oven, immediately dust with crushed candy so it lightly sticks to the meringues. Then let the meringues cool completely which will take at least 30 minutes.
8) Once the meringues are cooled, dip in melted, but not hot, chocolate and return to parchment paper to dry further.
Once chocolate sets, store the meringues in an airtight container at room temperature (not in fridge).
Adapted from a Tyler Florence recipe.
When I say these are a light treat, I mean it. They are like biting into a freakin’ cloud. You can get about forty little snow peaks out of just four eggs. You can do the math and see that there isn’t much to these things.
Could you make them with a whisk? Definitely. There were meringues before there was electricity. But trust me, you won’t be able to feel your forearms the next day. It’s a work out.
Here’s a few tips for getting the meringues started:
1) Separate each egg individually. That way if you get a drop of yolk into the white, you can just re-do that one egg and not all four of them. And yes, one drop of yolk will ruin the recipe.
2) Make sure the eggs are room temperature. They will beat easier that way.
Then just add your egg whites to a large mixing bowl and beat them on medium speed with the whisk attachment until they start to stiffen. Then add the cream of tartar. This stuff will help the egg whites really firm up and hold their shape.
Once the eggs start to thicken, add in the vanilla and sugar slowly. Don’t add the sugar all at once. Also, try to use ultrafine baking sugar which you should be able to find in any grocery store in the baking aisle. It will just mix better.
You are getting close when the whites start to cling to the whisk.
Keep going though! At this point, if you make a pile of the meringue it will eventually melt back into the pot. That’s not what we want.
After another minute or two, the meringues should be holding very stiff peaks which means that if you pick up the whisk, the meringue stays almost exactly where it is.
Making the Peaks
Once you are sure your meringue is stiff enough to work with, you need to get it into a piping bag. To be honest, you could just scoop it into a large plastic bag and snip the tip of the bag off with some scissors. That would get the job done.
But if you want to be fancy then get a pastry bag with a large tip on the end and set it upright in a cup to make it easier to fill. Then just fill it full of meringue!
Carefully pipe the snow peaks onto a few baking sheets lined with parchment paper. You should be able to get about 24 per sheet.
It’s so cool to see the meringue just sit perfectly in place. I was pretty giddy about this.
Bake the meringues at 225 degrees Fahrenheit (that isn’t a typo) for one hour. You basically want to slowly dry them out.
While the meringues dry out, put a few candy canes in a bag and beat the crap out of them.
Finishing the Snow Peaks
As soon as the hour is up, take the snow peaks out and dust them with crushed candy. Only about 20% of it will stick to the meringues, but that’s okay. You just want a light dusting otherwise the flavor would be too intense.
Then let the meringues cool completely. This will take about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt your chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave in 20 second pulses until it’s just melted.
Then dip the bottom of each snow peak into the chocolate!
Set the dipped meringues back onto the parchment paper so the chocolate can set up completely.
These guys are pretty much done!
I couldn’t help taking a bite out of one.
These are light and crunchy and just slightly sweet. They really are the perfect holiday sweet snack!
Have you ever made meringues before? Leave a comment!