Sunday, September 9, 2012

Homemade Meringues Recipe and Marshmallow Fluff

When I go to the city, I pass by bakery after bakery filled with foods I cannot eat, as I am off gluten. I often see meringues there, so tempting to buy, because meringues are completely flour free, but I am sensitive enough to gluten that even foods that touched gluten make me sick, so I can't buy those meringues, because they're touching the gluten filled cookies.

But oh have those meringues tempted me.
I'd wanted to make meringues already for so long, but most recipes I saw for meringues called for cream of tartar, and I had no clue where to get that, so I just didn't make it.
While at my sister in law's house, I tasted some homemade meringues, and was happily surprised that cream of tartar is not needed to make meringues, and happily took the recipe. You're able to make these into regular meringue shapes, or you can make them into various shapes and letters, for example, to use as decorations for cakes.
It's very easy- only requiring 2 ingredients! And while it does contain sugar, you can make them just as easily with xylitol for a healthier alternative.
What I think is especially cool is if you stop the recipe in the middle, you end up with marshmallow fluff, which you can use to make marshmallow fluff, either to use in fluffernutter sandwiches, or as a frosting for cakes or as a filling for deviled dogs.

Meringues Recipe

4 egg whites
1 cup white sugar or xylitol
1 pinch powdered vanilla or 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar, optional

1. Separate your eggs, setting aside the yolks for another recipe.

2. In a clean, completely non greasy bowl or container, beat the egg whites until stiff. For those that haven't done this before, it means until you can make a "peak" with the egg whites, which retains its shape and doesnt collapse. I usually beat mine with a whisk attachment of my blender stick. I prefer to make mine in a pitcher, as this doesn't splatter the egg whites everywhere the way that happens when I attempt to do this with a bowl.

3. Add the sugar, 1/3 of a cup at a time into the beaten egg whites, beating for a minute, then adding the rest.

4. Once all the sugar is added, continue beating until again you can make really stiff peaks, that the shapes you make in the fluff stay. Yes, at this stage the texture will be that of marshmallow fluff, and you can use it as that.

5. Put the fluff into a large freezer bag, remove as much air as possible, then tie it shut. I find a rubber spatula helpful for this step.

6. Cut a small hole in one of the corners of the bag.

7. Heat your oven to 150 degrees or so.

8. Line a cookie tray, and with your plastic bag, pipe shapes onto the cookie tray. To get the classic meringue shapes, make a circle, starting with the outside and spiraling inward. Each batch should make two trays of meringues.

9. Cook the meringues until they just start to get golden and are hard to the touch. (The meringues in the picture below have browned a little too much.) This should take 2 hours or more.

10. Once taken out of the oven, let cool completely before removing from the tray.

These meringues have been a huge hit every single time I've made them. They're terrific.

P.S. I once tried decorating these by adding a pinch of turmeric to them to attempt to color them yellow. Bad idea. Just trust me on that one. They tasted terrible!

Are you a meringue fan? Have you ever made them? Do you think you ever will?

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