Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Meringue merengue

Well, it’s come to this.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I’d fall for it.  But I did, you guys.  I really did.  I fell and I fell hard, people.

For the meringue.   That's right...you heard (read?) me.  The. Meringue.
Now, I know what you’re going to say because I said it, too: “Meh.  I’m just not a meringue person.”  Yeah, I said it.  And when I shared my loot last week three of my people said exactly that, too.  And then they ate one.  And they were smitten.  And then they ate two more. You can tell by the look in their eyes after they take that first bite.  It’s part glee, part surprise, part joy.  But it’s all good.
To be fair, I haven’t had loads of experience with meringues.  They typically don’t interest me, so I can stay away from them pretty easily.  I considered them a waste of a sweet treat.  One time I was at Joan’s on Third  and they had these cute little bags of hazelnut meringues and they were so twee—with their itsy bitsy bag tied up with a cutesy little ribbon—and since I’m a sucker for good packaging, I bought them.  I ate two.  They were fine.  Kind of crunchy and super-sweet.  Just sort of eh.  But if I’m craving something decadent and trying to satisfy my sweet teeth, those ain’t cuttin’ it.  I walk right by them at Trader Joe’s.*  And I always scrape the goop off of the top of lemon meringue pie (What’s the point of it there?  There isn’t one…that’s what.) to get to the good stuff underneath.  I’ve seen Nigella make pavlova, which seems to be a giant meringue you try to eat like a weird flat cake, and all it did was make me change the channel.  Boring.  I felt like meringue was a place-filler; a waste of my attention.  Until last week.
So, last week I was minding my own beeswax, as I do, but also eye to eye with about 46299374 egg whites.  I’d made a round of espresso crème brulee** and needed as many yolks, so had all of the whites saved for something else.  One egg white omelette in, I realized I needed to either freeze those suckers or use them lickety split because they shouldn’t just be left to loll about in my fridge without purpose.  So I turned to Alice Medrich--one of my favorite go-to baking gurus--and, as luck would have it, she had the answer.  In spades.  Meringues! ***
Dark chocolate hazelnut pillows. For angels! 
You guys!  They couldn’t be easier.  You just beat up those whites until they’re shiny, add a little sugar and then fold in whatever other loot you have on hand, plop them**** on to a baking sheet and then bake them for approximately 67 frillion thousand hours*****.  And then they are chewy and sweet and creamy and DELICIOUS.  So very delicious.  Like, surprisingly delicious.  Like, “Seriously?!  Meringues?” delicious.   Now I’m hooked!  I made the chocolate hazelnut****** ones that I had a hard time sharing, and then I made peanut butter ones, which were ooey-gooey and just like a fancy Abba Zabba. 
And now I'm like super-crazed with all of the possibilities.  What else can I throw in there?  Can I make a savory meringue, for soups or something?  Kind of like a weird crouton?  I also want to make a meringue-like layer cake!  And eat it!  And caramel or coffee ice cream with some sort of meringue bit-lettes in there.  I'm crazy!  
Consider yourself warned, internet.  For real.  

* Like I’m really going to pass up the mini dark chocolate peanut butter cups for a tub of hard froth?  Think again, Joe.
***This book is like a cookie bible!  You know I reserved it from the library before it even came out.  Nerd alert!
****I used my mini ice cream scooper because I like it.
*****Okay, just 2 hours, but then you also have to let them cool in the oven for a 168 years.  Hurry up!
******I’ve had 3 dreams about them.  This is no lie.


  1. I always figured they were too pretty to actually taste good. You might be winning me over...

  2. Your employment of asterisks always charms me. Aldo: Meringues? Meh. Meringue merengue? Brilliant!