04 May, 2012

Mint Julep Meringues

Confession.   I don't know why the Kentucky Derby is a big deal.  I'm sure I'd enjoy it- as I like to party.  I get down with the drinking, the eating, then the drinking some more.  Hanging out outside.    Drinking.

Don't think I'd glance in a horse's direction though.   I mean, if everyone else looked I wouldn't intentionally NOT look.  Alright, maybe I'd glance.  But I'm just not that interested.  

But any excuse to cook.. 
          and drink...

                     sounds pretty good.  

Why I chose to make these little guys on such a goomy/wet/humid day, I'll never know. 

Everyone knows that the humidity will make meringues crisp exterior a little soggy!
                              (maybe everyone but me.... )

Anyway, I took the plunge, and they turned out pretty good, despite the humidity. I modified Emeril Lagasse's recipe for meringue cookies, by adding the mint julep ingredients: mint and bourbon!

Mint Julep Meringues

2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 tsp cream of tarter
2/3 cup superfine granulated sugar    (Important! Do not use regular sugar)
1/2 tsp mint extract
2/3 tsp bourbon

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites until foamy.
  3. Add the cream of tarter and beat until fluffy but not dry.
  4. Add the sugar in batches, about 3 tbsp at a time.  When halfway through sugar, add the mint extract and bourbon.
  5. Add the remaining sugar in batches. Beat until sugar is dissolved and meringue is shiny and bright.  It should be fluffy and sticky to the touch.  If it is runny or liquid-y, something did not work.  Start over.  (I had to do a do-over! Didn''t beat the egg whites until foamy enough, and added too much bourbon the first time.  Big surprise, trying to booze my recipes up..
Next we will put the meringues in the oven.  If you don't need the green stripe for decoration, you can use a tsp to scoop meringues onto your baking sheet.  They will not change size, so scoop them as prettily as possible.

If you want the green stripe- grab a pastry bag and green food coloring.  On one side of the pastry bag, drop 4 or 5 drops of green food coloring on the side, letting it run all the way down in as straight a line as possible.  Carefully fill the pastry bath with meringue batter, a tablespoon at a time.  If you just shove it in, the green food coloring will make your meringues green all over. 

Then pipe out the little guys on you baking sheet, put in the oven and TURN THE OVEN OFF.  Leave, undisturbed, for 2 hours or until dry and crisp.  

Store in an airtight container.

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