Martha Stewart's website to tackle another one of her recipes. This time I tried my hand at a meringue cookie - my very first!
Here are the ingredients and methods:
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 300 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar and cornstarch; set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt on medium speed until frothy. Beating constantly, add sugar mixture 1 tablespoon at a time; beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, 6 to 8 minutes total (scrape down the bowl halfway through). Add espresso powder and cocoa; beat until well blended. With a rubber spatula, fold in chocolate chips.
Drop batter by level tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Bake until crisp, about 40 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Cool completely on sheets, about 20 minutes.
How did it go?
Before starting the baking process I noticed that I was all out of cornstarch. I was determined to make these cookies so I turned to the internet for guidance. Searching Google I discovered that all-purpose flour can be used as a replacement for cornstarch. With the flour in hand I set out to make scrumptious meringues.
Unfortunately they didn't turn out scrumptious. In fact, they didn't turn out at all. I could not get the egg-white mixture to get hard, stiff, and glossy peaks no matter how hard I tried. I like to think it's because I used flour instead of cornstarch... but in hindsight I'm not really sure. I ended up throwing away this runny mixture and, luckily, I found some cornstarch buried in the bottom of one of the kitchen drawers (if only I had found this sooner!).
I was determined to create those 'stiff and glossy peaks' during my second attempt. Thus, when the mixture finally did turn into a texture that resembled meringue I happily yelled out "I finally got it hard!" My neighbors may have heard me, and there may have been a bit of awkwardness in the air after my exclamation, but I was dang proud to have finally created those peaks and crests in my egg-white/salt/sugar/cornstarch mix.
When the meringues came out of the oven 40 minutes later I couldn't help but laugh. They looked deplorable. Comments from others ranged from: "they look like potato-skins," "crematorium cookies," and "it's like gum but then it disappears." After a hour of cooling, however, I was told they tasted as a meringue cookie should. I personally do not know... but I won't be trying these again. I think I'll keep my meringue in pies, thank you very much Ms. Stewart.
As a side note, I discovered that if you beat meringue for too long it will lose its characteristic stiff peaks. I guess I got a little carried away once I noticed the mixture was acquiring a harder consistency. Perhaps too much beating combined with a lack of cornstarch ruined my first batch.
So my lesson?
Don't beat it too much or the hardness will go away and you'll be left with a liquid-y mess... sounds like sound and simple advice to me haha.
Hope you all have a sweet Sunday! :)