The past few Valentines Days I've tried to bake something for Andrew as a little Valentines treat. (baking is how I show my love). It was much more romantic when we didn't live together, so I could show up with a nice little surprise. But the surprise factor doesn't really exist when he can hear the loud noise of my hand mixer whipping up a storm in the kitchen. Oh well...
Although the 'surprise' may be gone... I still love a reason to bake something pretty. And I know he appreciates it.
This year I saw on pinterest these beautiful little meringues in the shapes of roses, so I thought i'd give it a try. The best thing is, its only 3 ingredients and they're not that bad for you. (it's really just egg whites + sugar + a lot of whipped air)
ROSE MERINGUE RECIPE
- 4 egg whites
- 170g white sugar (3/4 cup)
- 1 tsp of vanilla
- a few drops of pink or red gel food coloring
- Preheat the oven to 100C (200F).
- Whip the egg whites on high speed with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
- Very slowly, a little bit at a time, add some sugar. Then continue to whip. Then add more sugar, and continue to do this until the sugar is finished. Keep whipping until the mixture turns stiff and glossy.
- Then add your vanilla and a drop or so of food coloring. I wanted the base of my meringue rose to be very light colored, so i put in about 1 drop. Whip a bit more until the color is consistent.
5. Next is the interesting part. This is what will give the 'rose' its streaky pink color. First, get a piping bag fitted with an 1M Tip. Then turn the piping bag inside out. Using a toothpick, apply 4 straight lines of pink or red food gel on the bag. (be sure to use gel, not the liquid food coloring). Then turn the bag inside out to its normal way.
6. Fill your piping bag with the meringue mixture, just over halfway full. Twist the end of the bag tight.
7. Line a baking tray with parchment paper (or I used Silpat Mats). Pipe rosettes onto the baking sheets. If you are like me and need to see someone pipe the roses via video just to make sure you don't f-it up - check out this video. I promise its not hard.
8. Now is the tricky part. How long to bake them for. It all depends on your oven. I baked mine for almost 2 hours, at about 100C. (But I read some recipes only calling for 1 hour). Keep in mind, I was obsessively checking them every 5 minutes. If the temp is too high, the color will slightly change. I can tell on some of mine they turned a bit yellowy. The best trick with meringues is slow and low.
9. Leave the meringues in the oven to cool completely. I've even heard of people leaving them in the oven overnight!
Homemade Chocolate Treats
I also made some homemade bite sized chocolate treats this year. This is the easiest thing to make. I literally just melt down chocolate, and then reform them with some new toppings. I went with 4 different flavors:
Dark Chocolate + Raspberries
Dark Chocolate + Pomegranates
Dark Chocolate + Pomegranates + Almonds
Dark Chocolate + Banana + Peanut Butter