Friday, February 5, 2016

A Month-of-Eggs: Melt-in-Your-Mouth Meringues

Ready for something sweet, but not too sweet? I couldn’t leave dessert out of the recipe rotation this month! While we typically think of eggs as a breakfast dish, it certainly can star at lunch or dinner time, too. But you are probably hard pressed to think of many egg desserts. Well, I have a few in my apron pocket, and meringues are one of my favorites.

The versatility of meringues plus the low calorie count make these spectacular little bites. And did you know that the white of eggs is where the protein is?

I have made meringues as part of my mini-dessert tray and I have taken them to potluck dinner parties for dessert. Everyone (right?) likes a slight sweet bite even after a heavy meal and meringues are the little guys for the job.

I will give you the basic recipe for meringues and then offer some of my favorite flavor options. This recipe makes about 5 dozen small meringues (~ 1 ½”). You can make fewer big ones if you want a multi-bite treat.

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Meringues
3 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup super-fine sugar (or equivalent sweetener)

Flavoring choices:
3 teaspoons lemon zest (or orange zest)
4 teaspoons mini-chocolate chips
3 teaspoons finely chopped nuts
3 teaspoons finely crushed peppermint candies
Or experiment with some of your favorite tastes. I wonder what bacon would do???

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat baking sheet.

Add egg whites and beat on medium speed til foamy. Add cream of tartar and salt to a medium bowl. Beat egg white mixture on high until you see soft peaks.

Slowly sprinkle in sweetener, two teaspoons at a time, as you continue to beat the whites. Continue beating until the sweetener is dissolved and meringue forms stiff and shiny peaks.

Carefully fold in the flavoring. Do not beat with the mixer.

Drop spoonsful of meringue about two inches apart on the cookie sheet (or use a decorating bag with a star tip).

Bake meringues for about 25 minutes. Turn pan around and bake for another 20 minutes. (If making larger, thus fewer meringues, bake for 11/2 hours, turning pan around after 45 minutes.)

Turn off oven and let meringues stay in the oven for about 1 hour as it cools down. Meringues should be crisp but not brown.

Remove from oven. When the meringues are completely cool, remove to a sealed container. These can last for about a month (yeah, right!) at room temperature, but they must be kept from air to retain crispness.

To make them cuter for serving at parties, place meringues in candy cups (like tiny cupcake papers).

DH’s Rating: 4 Tongues Up He really likes that these are low carb and low sugar (I used sweetener made for baked goods), but he likes his desserts to have more substance. Desserts shouldn’t dissolve as soon as they hit the tongue. He said they would be better served along with pudding! I can do that.

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