Thursday, July 22, 2010
Coconut Meringues (Or What To Do With Lots Of Egg Whites)
After making all of that ice cream last week, I had 6 egg whites just waiting for some purpose.
I couldn't decide, Angel Food Cake or Meringues? I put on Food Network for some inspiration, and it must have been a sign, but Giada De Laurentiis was making meringues! I immediately consulted with my copy of Joy of Cooking and decided to make a cross between what Giada did and what was written in Joy of Cooking, but then kind of something totally different at the same time. It all started with a little whipping of the eggs.
At this point, I added a pinch of salt and kept whipping. The salt breaks down the egg whites and allows them to better absorb the sugar. I had 6 egg whites, so I added approximately 1.5 cups of sugar.
You want to make sure you use extra fine sugar. Luckily, I had some on hand, but if you don't, you can make it extra fine by putting your granulated sugar in the food processor for a little bit. The smaller the granules, the less they weigh the egg whites down, while baking. Also added to the mix was cream of tartar, a bit of vanilla extract, coconut extract, and lemon zest (I add lemon zest to everything). Since I had so much coconut flavoring leftover from ice cream making, at the last minute I decided to make these Coconut Meringues.
Once the egg white mixture reached stiff peaks, I blended in the shredded coconut, just until mixed in evenly. Now, normally I would pipe these into adorable rounds, but I was tired and Giada said it looks really cool when you just spoon 'em on to your parchment. Who am I to disagree with Giada? Did I mention I was also really tired?
Now this not the cookie you'd want to make if you're in a hurry for a snack. These bad boys take a while to bake and cool. I had mine in the oven at around 200 degrees for about 2+ hours.
I made two batches, some with coconut shreds on top, some without. After baking them for a few hours, I let them cool for a few hours.
They weren't the average meringue. They were different. I think they were better different, kinda chewy and gooey different. Most meringues I've had are harder and crunchy. I think I prefer my chewy gooies, but that's just me. My guess is that if I baked them longer, I would have the hard, crunchy, commercially accepted texture. Either way, a very fun time in the kitchen and yummy coconut smells in the apartment.