One of my oldest friends called me the other day to talk about meringues. He was experimenting with adding freeze dried fruit to meringues. It so happened that I was attempting to do a final test on my chocolate swirl meringue recipe. Meringues were meant to be.
Saul and I met each other working at Bergorf Goodman in the 90’s . I know, I know…I’m a cook, I’m a puppeteer, I’m an early childhood educator….I’m all over the place. So is Saul! We met in the fashion industry but really got close through learning how to read tarot cards for each other. He’s also an extraordinary visual artist. He also once knit me a full length GOWN. He can do astrology charts. In truth, I suspect that Saul is one of those people who has the ability to do anything that interested him beautifully. Right now Saul is baking beautifully.
I had made a big batch of chocolate swirl for The Muse’s Dear Valentine Event…..remember when people use to gather together to visit and attend lectures and listen to music and make art and eat all in the same room? Remember?
Anyway, the meringues turned out beautifully for the event, even though I had never made meringues with a swirl before and I was winging it a bit.
So, I’ve been making more to test and write out a recipe to share. It may have been that I just wanted an excuse to make MORE batches of meringues, but I actually ran into a bit of trouble. My husband and I ate all of the “failures” crumbled with fresh raspberries and whipped cream. Then, I couldn’t find any chocolate for three… or was it four weeks. Granted, I was not trying too hard since I was self isolating in my apartment listening to sirens go by.
I’m having a hard time focusing…is anyone else having that problem? Oh yes! I do, at long last, have a reliable recipe for you. I hope that you are able to acquire chocolate wherever you are. I also can’t get any mayonnaise, which means that I have been making my own mayonnaise again (yolks only), which means that I have a lot of egg-whites in my freezer…to make meringues. Did you know that egg whites freeze beautifully? They do. Never throw out egg whites. Freeze them so that you can make meringues when you are locked in your apartment for over a month.
Oh also, I am fine and healthy and grateful to be safe. Oh and a wee bit off the meringue topic….this is a good time to join a CSA farmshare! CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. My neighborhood CSA has been figuring out how to adjust how we do distribution and provide more subsidies given our current realities. See if your neighborhood has one. CSA’s are registering NOW and once they are full you’ll have to wait until next year. Consider giving your money directly to a farmer. Work with your neighbors to ensure access to safe, healthy, affordable, real food. Take on some of the risk and responsibility for processing and distributing food. Learn how to cook and eat all the vegetables (you can contact me for advice!) Discover what actually grows in your area seasonally (It’s fascinating and to be truthful varies WILDLY from year to year). Here is a website with information and a map with a search function to help you find one.
Okay here’s the recipe. I usually use confectioners sugar for meringues but these worked better with granulated sugar.
CHOCOLATE SWIRL MERINGUES
- 4 oz semisweet chocolate (chips or bar or whatever)
- 1/2 cup egg whites (the whites from 4 eggs)
- 2 Tb cornstarch
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- the seeds scraped from 1/2 vanilla bean (or a tsp of vanilla extract)
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.
- Melt the chocolate. I hear that the best way to do this is in a microwave, but I don’t have one, so I make a double boiler by putting a metal bowl into a sauce pan with an inch or 2 of water in the bottom. The bowl should not touch the water. Put the chocolate in the bowl. Bring the water to a boil and stir the chocolate as it melts.
- Once the chocolate is melted remove it from the heat and let it cool. Don’t cool it in the fridge. You’re going for cooled but not hardened chocolate. If you take the bowl of chocolate out of the warm pan and set it on a cooling wrack, it should be just right by the time you are finished whipping the egg whites.
- In a standing mixer or using a hand-held electric mixer, whisk the egg whites and cornstarch together on high-speed for about 3 minutes or until they resemble shaving cream. Then, with the motor still running, start adding the sugar 1 heaping teaspoon at a time at a steady pace until all of the sugar is added. This process will take about 7 minutes. You should have glossy white peaks. Rub the meringue between your fingers to make sure that there is no grit from the granulated sugar. If there is, whip it some more!
- Drop the chocolate into the bowl of meringue and DO NOT MIX IT. If you mix it the meringue will deflate and you won’t have a distinct swirl. Scoop out and drop the meringues onto the parchment paper. My scoops were about 1/2 cup. Try to get a bit of chocolate and bit more meringue in each scoop. For the swirl effect just move your spoon in a circular motion as you put it away from each meringue.
- Bake for 40 minutes. Don’t open the oven, even when they are done. Shut off your oven and let them sit in the cooling oven overnight.
Meringues keep very well at room temperature in a sealed container.