Thursday, December 27, 2012

Coffee Meringues - Calling all Coffee Lovers

Celebrated my hubby, Vibes' birthday this past weekend..yayyy!!! I wanted to make it extra special for him. These past few months have been very stressful for us, and he has been nothing but a darling to me. Just making sure he knows I appreciate him in my life :)

Yes, I even hand-painted the Coffee Mug for him..That's his name in made-up musical notes!!
Now, nothing makes him more happy than coffee, chocolate and music. He plays the keyboard. So, I thought why not bring everything together. Say Hello to Chocolate covered Coffee a personalized coffee mug :D. The verdict, he absolutely loved them. He popped one, crunched a couple of times and said, "These are the fluffiest and lightest little cookies I have ever tasted..." then continued, "..and yet they are not too sweet, melt away while leaving a lovely coffee flavor with a tiny bit of chocolate..hmmm Interesting." I was elated and floored, both at the same time. I smiled confidently and said "I'm glad you like them", like I knew what I was doing. be very honest, this is the very first time I have made or even tasted a Meringue...shhhhh..he need not know though!

I really didn't know what to expect when I started whipping those egg whites. You see, I originally set out to make Macaroons. While researching, stumbled upon Ms. Humbles' Macarons 101. Nothing beats it..if you ever plan to make Macaroons be sure to read Ms. Humble's Not So Humble Macaron recipe and tips. I know I am going to as soon as I get my kitchen scale which is right now in transit..woot woot!! the meantime, I tried Ms. Humble's Meringue recipe.

If you are not in the mood for heavenly and loaded Chocolate Chip Cookies, then these are definitely a good choice. With just 10-15 calories a piece, these are sure to steal your heart..and of course you can make these Chocolate flavored. Simply replace coffee with Dutch processed cocoa..alkalized cocoa powder works best with meringues..Voila!!

I am really sorry I don't have pictures of the step by step process, because I was almost sure I was going to ruin it..but I guess I didn't..surpriseee!! Although if you compare Ms. Humble's Meringue pictures with mine, seems to me like my meringue should have been beaten a tad bit more..or maybe my disastrous piping skills made it lose the built up air in it. Hmm..guess that is it! Nonetheless I promise this is surely not the last time I am making these, and will take pictures next time and update the post, maybe this time I'll make them chocolate instead.

Coffee Meringues (yields around 50-60 cookies)
Adapted from Chocolate Meringues by Ms. Humble

4 Egg Whites
14 tablespoons White Sugar
Pinch of Salt
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
2 1/2 tablespoons Instant Coffee
Some Melted Chocolate (optional)

Arrange the oven racks to be somewhat in the middle, we'll be using both. Preheat the oven to 175°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats.

Prep a pastry bag with a large round or star tip (I used Wilton 1A round) or if piping bags are not your style, Ms. Humble recommends cutting a half-inch in diameter opening in the corner of a zip top bag. I placed the piping bag in a tall glass and made a pocket on top for easy filling. Easier said than done..despite watching wonderful Youtube videos, and a pocket I managed to have the filling come out the other way while piping..sighhhh! Moving on...

Combine the egg whites and sugar in a stainless steel bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly over the water until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch (roughly 3-4 minutes).

Remove from heat and transfer the mixture to a different stainless steel or copper bowl for further beating. If using stainless steel add a pinch of salt and start beating with a hand held mixer or the wire whip attachment of a standing mixer. Start on low speed and gradually increase until stiff, glossy peaks form. Took me about 8-9 minutes at speed 6.

Take the bowl off the standing mixer and add the vanilla and sift the coffee powder to break any lumps. Fold to combine with a rubber spatula, taking care not to deflate the egg mixture.

Add the mixture to your pastry bag and pipe rows of quarter sized meringues onto the pans. The piped meringues can just be about 1/2 inch apart. They will not spread while baking, if the mixture of the right consistency.

Place the prepared sheets in the oven simultaneously. These need to be slow baked for 2 hours until they lift from the pan easily. I placed them lengthwise one on each rack and on opposite sides. Set the timer for 1 hour. Then reposition the sheet pans so as to ensure even baking. Set timer for another hour. Remove both pans and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Transfer the meringues to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Melt some chocolate in a microwave or over a double boiler, and either make sandwiched meringues or simply drizzle some over the meringues. I used a homemade disposable parchment paper cone for this. Allow for the chocolate to set completely (couple of hours).

All these in air tight jars. Since these were plenty, I even packed some for a Coffee loving friend as a Holiday gift. Happy Whipping!!!

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