Friday, February 4, 2011

Meringue Hearts



Friends who know me might be surprised by the above photo, because they will never associate me with hearts or pink or anything that screams girlish. Neither will they associate me with anything to do with Valentine's Day, simply because I don't have a valentine and as realistic as I can be, I deem Valentine's Day as an international conspiracy to cheat people of their money from expensive roses and chocolates.

When I found out that the Aspiring Bakers #4 theme is a Valentine's Day theme and requires something heart shaped, I was really scratching my head over what to bake. The first idea that came to me was to bake cut-out cookies with a heart shaped cookie cutter, but I don't have one and I don't intend to buy it. I did a quick google search and saw a recipe for meringue hearts from Joy of Baking. I have always wanted to try baking meringue cookies, but the baking time is much longer than my usual bakes. Well, since I really have nothing to do on this 2nd day of CNY, it's just perfect for me to experiment with meringues.



The ingredients are very simple: just egg whites, cream of tartar, sugar and flavouring of your choice. I don't even need a weighing scale. As usual, I scaled down to using just one egg white and decided to beat manually. Since the amount of sugar used is quite a lot, the final batter is very sticky and difficult to whisk. I sure had a good work-out with this. As a chocolate-lover, I decided to add in some cocoa powder and dust additional powder on the heart-shaped batter.



For the meringues to dry out slowly, they need to be baked in a low oven for 1.5-2 hours and cooled slowly in the oven with the door ajar. Even so, I'm not entirely sure if my meringues have been completely dried out.



Although I know they are tooth-achingly sweet, I can't wait to break a heart (a meringue heart, to be exact) and try it. It indeed is crispy, but I'm not sure if it will still be crispy tomorrow. As expected, it is extremely sweet. I can't finish the whole heart. No problems for people with sweet tooth, I suppose.

I'm sending in this entry to Aspiring Bakers #4: Love In The Air (Feb 2011) hosted by Ellena of Cuisine Paradise.

Ingredients (makes 15 small hearts):
1 egg white
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
4 tbsp caster sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp cocoa powder
Cocoa powder for dusting (optional)

Method:
  1. Trace out heart shapes (mine is about 5 cm across) on a piece of parchment paper. Turn over the parchment and place on a baking tray.
  2. Beat egg white until frothy. Add cream of tartar and beat until they hold soft peaks.
  3. Add in sugar gradually and continue to beat until they hold stiff peaks and the sugar has dissolved. Test by rubbing a little batter between thumb and index fingers.
  4. Fold in vanilla and cocoa powder.
  5. Transfer batter into a piping bag with a plain tip and pipe out heart shapes according to the drawn lines on the parchment paper.
  6. Smooth the surface of the batter and dust cocoa powder on the surface (optional).
  7. Bake in a preheated oven at 100 deg C for 90 mins.
  8. Switch off the oven and leave the door slightly ajar for 30 mins for the meringue to dry out.
Recipe adapted from Joy of Baking's Meringue Hearts.

9 comments:

  1. these look beautiful spear! i couldn't pipe for what is worth of my life! haha! happy rabbit year spear!

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  2. Omg!!!! This is Gorgeous! It look so 3D to me... and your pipping skill is so good. And i think my boy will look this too..cos u mention is "Sweet" :) Thanks for joing this month Aspiring Baking #4. Happy Chinese New Year to you and your family. :)

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  3. How did you pipe out these heart shapes so perfectly? You are really good! :)

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  4. the texture is nice but i found it too sweet! should be perfect for pple with sweet tooth..=)

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  5. Hi Jess, Ellena and SSB,
    I drew hearts on the parchment paper and just pipe within the hearts. I cheated by smoothing the tops with my finger...LOL! My piping skills totally cannot make it, I don't dare to pipe on cakes!

    Peppermean,
    Yeah, I find them too sweet too. But this much of sugar is needed to obtain the texture of meringue cookies, so I can't decrease it.

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  6. Very pretty hearts! i love them, good piping skills :)

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  7. Hi Cathay, thanks! These are so much easier than macarons, although baking time is also much longer...lol

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  8. such pretty heart macarons... i believe if I master the skill, i will be the happiest woman in the world :) will give it a try tho''...

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  9. Hi Olivia,
    These meringue cookies are very easy to make. Do give it a try!

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