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The holidays would benefit from a playbook, wouldn't they? We partnered with Braun Household to arm you with resources for cooking like you wrote it yourself, with a little help from their MultiQuick 9 Hand Blender.
Making meringues comes down to being a little fast and loose—and trusting your eye (with good direction). I first learned how to make meringues from our co-founder Merrill's expert recipe and specific instruction on what to look for when mixing and baking them. (She details it all in the book A New Way to Dinner.)
It's all in the speed of your mixer, or the whisk attachment for a hand blender, and the gloss of the egg whites after a bit. Using a hand blender with a whisk attachment means you don't need a stand mixer, or at the very least you don't need to dirty it up or move it to the one spot where it will work in your kitchen. You can tell when to stop mixing when the meringue forms soft peaks (you've beaten too long if they are hard peaks, and not long enough if it flops over too quickly and without any form). You can make the cookies two different ways, rustic or prim and proper. If you want shapes that are less uniform, pour out a large amount of meringue onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and spread it out into an even layer. If you want uniform cookies, Merrill says to instead dollop about 3-tablespoons-worth of meringue a few inches apart on a baking sheet or two.
Baking meringues at a low temperature keeps you from making them too crackly too quick, and ensures an even bake across each cookie. They're just right when they are just crack-able on the outside and still soft and chewy on the inside. That's when you know to pull them out for good. If you've decided on the sheet of meringue instead of separate cookies, let it cool and then break it up into different shapes until they are the size you want.
These meringues would be happy dipped in any number of melted sweet things: Peanut butter, magic shell, caramelized white chocolate, praline, etc. But straight-up bittersweet chocolate never fails, because chocolate and chocolate (plus a dusting of cocoa) is always a good thing.
- 6 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 1/2 cups (340 g) superfine sugar
- 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
- Melted bittersweet chocolate (optional)