Sorry for the lack of posts this week. I had a last minute trip out of town and just before I left, I had to change hosting companies because my original host, let’s just leave it with they’re really horrible and where I am right now is much better for everyone. 🙂
I’ll get into the trip stuff next week. But I had to share these cute little meringue chicks that I spotted at a little candy shop on my trip. These didn’t come from the shop…they would have been in a million pieces (truth be told, I would have eaten them and you would be looking at a picture of crumpled cellophane – I have yet to meet a meringue I didn’t like).
I thought these would be so cute tucked into Easter baskets. But then, as I was putting them together I realized that these would be sooooo cute for baby shower favors. I know that everyone is into those little decorated cupcakes, but I think these are much cuter and an easy recipe to make. I suppose I should give full disclosure here: I have only been to one baby shower – EVER and I have never changed a diaper. I won’t give you my age, but suffice it to say I should have been to and done plenty! I have been told I send the best baby shower gifts though. So that’s got to count for something right?
I hope you’ll forgive me, but I just have a tiny bit of relationship advice today…instead of the longer versions I have been doing.
If your significant other is going on a long trip, tuck little cards or notes into their suitcase (not into their clothes…this could prove to be embarrassing if it were to fall out in front of their friends or work colleagues). These little things make them feel like they are home even when they’re not. Parents do this all the time for their kids when they go away…we really don’t change that much when we become adults. We still like those touches of familiarity. My husband will be out of the country for his birthday and with all of his meetings and the time difference I won’t be able to call him, so I tucked a birthday card into his suitcase and marked it so that he shouldn’t open it until his birthday.
Recipe: Meringue Chicks
Summary: Makes 24 3″ Chicks
- 4 Egg Whites (room temperature)
- 1/4 Teaspoon Cream of Tartar
- 1 Cup Superfine Sugar
- 1/2 Teaspoon Almond Extract*
- Yellow Food Coloring
- Red Food Coloring
- Powdered Sugar
- Chocolate Chips
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees Farenheit.
- Separate eggs when they are cold and leave whites out so that they can come to room temperature (30 – 60 minutes) and save yolks for another use.
- You can buy superfine sugar, or make your own. Measure out 1 cup of regular white sugar and add to your food processor. Just process until the grains are smaller than when you started. This does not take long. You don’t need to process the sugar into powdered sugar.
- Add room temperature egg whites to a metal or glass bowl. Begin beating the eggs until they start to thicken. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating the eggs until soft peaks form.
- *Add in the almond extract. You can also add in vanilla extract or any other flavoring you wish. The amount I have listed in this recipe gives only the faintest hint of flavoring. If you would like a stronger flavor, you can add more. But make sure you test a cooked batch before you go wild adding flavoring.
- Gradually begin to add the sugar to the egg whites (while still beating). DO NOT DO THIS ALL AT ONCE. Make sure that each addition of sugar is incorporated before adding the next bit of sugar.
- While the mixture is still mixing, add in the yellow food coloring. Add just a few drops at a time to get the color you are looking for. The color you see in the mixing bowl is pretty much the color you will see when they are baked.
- Continue beating the mixture until it is glossy and stiff peaks form. You can check to make sure that the sugar is fully incorporated by running some of the meringue between 2 fingers and making sure that you don’t feel any sugar grains.
- Line your baking sheet with parchment paper. To keep the paper from sliding around, dab a bit of the meringue in each of the corners and a spot in the middle before laying the paper on it.
- Spoon 90% of the meringue mixture into a piping bag with a large round tip (or like I do, spoon it into a plastic bag and snip the tip off). Begin to pipe a large backward S shape (you can pipe them either way). Make sure that the top curve is narrow. For the bottom curve of the S, bring the end of the curve back in to the base of the S. Leave 1/2″ – 3/4″ spacing between each chick.
- Add red food coloring to the remaining 10% of the meringue until you get the orange color you are looking for.
- Spoon the orange meringue into a new piping bag.
- Starting in the center of the top S curve, follow the curve that you made with the yellow meringue. (You could even pipe a bit of the orange at the base of the chick to make little feet)
- Bake for 90 minutes. DO NOT open the door during the baking process.
- Check for doneness by touching the sides of the meringue. It should feel very dry and not sticky at all. If it still feels sticky, let it bake for an additional 20 minutes. Keep checking it this way. Once they are dry to the touch. Turn off the oven and let them stay inside the oven until the oven completely cools down.
- ** To make the eyes, you can use store bought candy eyes or make your own.
- I used powdered sugar mixed with a tiny bit of water to make a thick paste. I then painted on a large white circle of the powdered sugar paste and let it dry for a few minutes.
- Next, I melted a few chocolate chips (in the microwave on 30 second intervals). Using a toothpick, I drew in the center of the eye on top of the dried powdered sugar paste.
** If you will not be using these immediately, you may wish to wait to put the eyes on. If it is humid, the meringues will become sticky. You can re-dry them by putting them back into a 200 degree oven in 20 minute intervals. Then apply the eyes. The powdered sugar/chocolate eyes will melt if they are in the oven causing you to have some rather psychotic looking chicks. These are best made on a dry day. Moisture in the air will make them sticky.
Preparation time: 20 minute(s)
Cooking time: 1 hour(s) 30 minute(s)
Diet tags: Gluten free
Number of servings (yield): 1
Culinary tradition: USA (Traditional)
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