Mocha Meringue

2 Aug

I have never made a successful meringue before in my life.

Never.

Until two nights ago.

I made these adorable little confections:

Lovely.

I don’t know what possessed me to make some, but I did the night I got back from camping in the Adirondacks with the family.  (I mean, the a lot of family.  Four out of five sisters, a father, and a niece and nephew, good lord that is more folk than I am used to in one place.)

This is my new go-to recipe.  It’s so simple, and it’s so joyful to look at these little blobs of severely fluffed sugar and egg white.

From Martha Stewart

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup sugar (or more, to gets things extra fluffy, which I may have done)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature (room temperature eggs fluff more easily)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Für machen:

Stir the sugar and cornstarch together in a small bowl and set aside.  In a large bowl, beat the eggs whites and salt together until frothy, which should not take too long.  You want to be very sure that neither the bowl nor the beaters have any grease on them, or it will be very difficult to whip everything to the right consistency.

While beating, add one tablespoon of sugar at a time until stiff, glossy peaks form.  (I love baking adjectives, don’t you?  Glossy peaks of sugar and egg just sounds so awesome.)

Now, here’s where I had trouble, and it’s probably because of the cleanliness of my equipment, which is exactly why I wrote that warning above.  I couldn’t quite get mine whipped enough, even after a damn long time.  So I started adding sugar.  Perhaps not the most expert solution, but throwing in spoonful after spoonful of sugar did work eventually.  Something to think about, if your peaks are not peaking.

 

Eventually, though, it should like this.  Is that not supremely beautiful?  Come on.  It reminds me of this painter I read about in the New Yorker a few years ago named Will Cotton, who does these gorgeous paintings of landscapes made of meringue, cotton candy, and the like.

Like so:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add espresso powder and cocoa.

 

Beat until combined.

 

Drop by the tablespoon onto baking pans covered in parchment paper or tin foil, if you don’t have parchment paper because the last strip of it was covered in bugs.

I used an ice cream scoop because it seemed easier.

 

My mother thinks she is funny and photobombs me frequently.

 

How precious are these little blobs?  Seriously.

 

Scrape that bowl clean.  Scrape it.

Bake at 300 degrees for forty minutes, rotating the pans halfway through.

 

The best way to eat these, I think, is on a sundae.  I made on last night with vanilla ice cream, sea salt caramel gelato (the fashionable flavor these days), two meringue, silver and pink sprinkles, and an enormous amount of grated Scharfen-Berger chocolate.

I am depraved.  It’s okay, I accepted that a long time ago.

 

Check that out.  Look at how much grated chocolate is on that thing.  And you know what there is not anything of?  Rules that say how much grated chocolate you can heap on a sundae.  Bring it on.

 

I was trying to read while I was eating this and was driven to absolute distraction once I had collapsed the first meringue with a spoon-jab.

Five minutes later, the last bite:

 

So satisfying.

And at long last, I do have a book to properly recommend to you.  Wind, Sand and Stars, by Antoine de St. Exupéry.  You may recognize this fellow as the author of Le Petit Prince, but what you may not know is that, in addition to his writerly pursuits, he was an aviator.  He flew the mail across the Atlantic to South America, as well as to Africa until he went missing on one of his flights.  This book is about his experiences in aviation, and is scattered, true to form, with tiny pearls of philosophy that rise out of nowhere amidst his descriptions of the Sahara and the South American mountains, rather like the sharp crags he writes of, rising out of the fog on night flights.

The book moves far past the exploration genre with St. Exupéry’s thoughts on the nature of humanity, society, and relationships, and it has a stronger grounding in the reality of travel and geography than a simple philosophy text.  It’s also a pretty lofty read, and definitely not for everyone.  But I enjoy it, like I enjoyed Le Petit Prince, for its honesty and its very simple joy at flight and people and the Earth.

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One Response to “Mocha Meringue”

  1. mydearbakes 03/08/2012 at 3:15 pm #

    You make very gorgeous bakes, lovely! =)

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