"Food: Science, Art, Passion, Pleasure, Adventure & Exploration"

Monday, May 17, 2010

Baking Adventure 7: Sweet Shop Colored Candy Meringues

As I mentioned in my previous entry, I had planned to make meringues since I'd never made them before and always enjoyed the curious look of them. I baked a couple of batches yesterday and they turned out quite charming, cracks and all. I also love how the colors and flavors came out.

I actually, just from having made this recipe once, will say that I prefer my meringues to not be completely airy. I will explain how the texture of my meringues came out in a bit. But first, here are some pictures of my meringues.

I made several flavors with corresponding colors:

Pink - Strawberry
Purple - Cotton Candy
Green -Crème de menthe
Cream (off-white) - Vanilla
Orange - Citrus Orange

I planned to add chocolate (light brown) and blueberry (blue) as additional flavors but I've used up all of my Valrhona cocoa powder and I am in need of a trip to Surfas to get more flavoring oils and extracts, which would include blueberry.

I added different colored sugar flakes, sand and crystals to the tops of each meringue to give them a playful look.

I cracked my eggs when they were cold and separated the whites from their yolks into a large metal bowl and let the whites sit for 30-40 minutes to reach room temperature. Metal bowls (or glass bowls) are better to use because they don't retain oils or other residue as easily as plastic bowls do. Meringue recipes call for beating egg whites to a stiff peak stage. 

What D'ya Know?: There are so many things that can affect the egg whites from thickening properly into stiff peaks.

Some of those things are not having clean utensils or a bowl, not using egg whites that are room temperature, using egg whites that were tainted with yolk during the separating, adding any oil-based flavorings before your egg whites are stiff (because adding them during beating will stop the whites from becoming stiff enough),  not adding sugar slowly enough over the course of beating and beating egg whites on a very humid day or in a very humid environment.

It took me awhile to beat the egg whites to get them to a consistency I thought I could trust. I am used to beating egg whites to a soft peak stage since I use the mixture for making white cake batters and other desserts. Getting egg whites to the right texture can be tricky once you go past the soft peak stage. You will find yourself wondering if you've beaten the egg whites enough or if you are over-beating them (which should be avoided).

Once I got them to a stiff stage, I spooned some of the meringue into each small ceramic bowls I had waiting on my countertop,  I separated out meringue because I was going to make different flavors and colors. This whole process reminded me of Easter...dying and decorating boiled eggs, so I definitely had tons of fun doing this. I mixed in all of the colors and flavors into each bowl and began setting up pastry bags and tips for each flavored meringue mixture.

On a flat baking tray, I placed several cupcake liners (yellow and green) until there was no more space. I then piped all of the meringue mixtures in, at a time, onto the centers of each cupcake liner so that they could bake in them. I had already set the oven to 300° and was ready to place the baking tray into the oven to bake for 25 minutes. Once the baking period was over, I turned off the oven and left the meringues in for an hour. I could do no peeking since the heat in the oven needed to be retained for the meringues to air out enough.

The meringues will definitely expand and puff out as they bake so keep that in mind if you place them on a baking tray without cupcake liners and want to space them out evenly.

I will definitely be trying this recipe again and experimenting with more flavors and colors and perfecting the methods. As I mentioned, I had a lot of fun with this recipe. It would be ideal for Easter, Halloween or birthday parties.


  1. Heres a tip, to make better meringues add some white vinegar to the mixture. Works for me every time : )

    Yours look beautiful though, I look forward to seeing what you make next!

  2. Thanks! :)

    What does the vinegar do? Does it act more as a stabilizer for the egg whites? If so, very cool. I will definitely give that a try next time around. I had so much fun.