It.s been another quiet week here, and you won’t find me complaining about that. Himself and I are luxuriating in the quiet. One of the best things about being way, way, way out in the country during the winter is all the time on our hands. Himself and I are finally finding the time to become experts or to learn new things. I find myself becoming even more proficient in the kitchen with all the time in the world to experiment. Himself has all the time to use his woodworking skills and to create all sorts of odd and helpful things around the house. Even with the cold, it’s been a good month here in the northwoods.
Cold, cold, cold snap or not,, those chickens, they are a hardy breed. Perhaps even hardier than me. The cold has left me loathe to move from my cozy spot in front of the fireplace. I tell you, once it reached just a balmy negative one degree the other day, it was a veritable heat wave, and I ran to spend as much time outdoors doing chores as possible. But those birds, why they just weather on through. I expected the egg production to falter with the cold, but we simply moved from five to six eggs a day to four to five. So, what do you do when you have *all* the eggs? Why you make meringues of course, and sock those extra yolks right into the freezer for that snowy day where you learn to make custard.
Yup, it was meringue making mania (if you can call two kinds a mania).
Your basic meringue recipe is a snap, and the flavors are endless. I first discovered meringues last year, and love, love, love how easy they are. It’s like an airy, light burst of flavor on your tongue. One of the great things about meringues is how customizable (yeah, I’m making up words here, deal) they are. Have a chocolate craving? Just grate some in. Want to give ’em some oomph? Just pipe the meringues flatter and decorate with colored sugars. The sky’s the limit here folks. You’ve still got room on those holiday cookie trays, so get to it!
This time I made orange meringues with ¼ teaspoon orange extract, and my new favorite a coconut maple meringue with ¼ teaspoon each of coconut extract and maple flavoring. Yum!
3 egg whites at room temperature
¼ – ½ teaspoon extract (use less for strong flavors like peppermint or citrus, more for lighter flavors like vanilla)
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
food coloring if desired
¾ cup sugar
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
In the bowl of your stand mixer beat together egg whites, extract, cream of tartar, and food coloring with the whisk attachment. Beat until soft peaks form. Slowly beat in sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
Spoon meringue into piping bag or a ziploc baggie with the corner cut off. Pipe meringues onto parchment lined cookie sheets.
Bake at 300 for 30 minutes. Turn oven off and let meringues remain in oven for one hour. Stored in airtight containers, meringues will stay fresh for up to two weeks. As if you can keep them around for that long!