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Have been beating egg whites and sugar for 13 minutes no sign of stiff peaks in sight. What am I doing wrong?

2 cups egg whites lots of sugar. Trying to make a buttercream icing.

asked by Summer of Eggplant over 3 years ago
15 answers 112743 views
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added over 3 years ago

10 minutes later, still no luck, it looks like melted marshmallow fluff.

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Monita

Monita is a Recipe Tester for Food52

added over 3 years ago

2 cups egg whites seems like a lot. How many eggs? and how much sugar? Were your egg whites room temp when you started? Did you add the sugar gradually? If yes - then perhaps the eggs were really old. If not, I would start over with fresh egg whites at room temp

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added over 1 year ago

it calls for 3 eggs

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added over 3 years ago

Egg whites were not room temp but I heated the whites and sugar over simmering bath to melt sugar. Using a standard KitchenAid mixer. Honestly I used egg whites from the carton.

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Monita

Monita is a Recipe Tester for Food52

added over 3 years ago

Maybe HalfPint is right -- too much for your mixer. How about removing half and try beating that and see if it makes a difference

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boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 3 years ago

The ratio of EWs to sugar is 1:2. Two cups of EWs weigh 16 ounces, so you'll need 32 ounces of sugar (slightly over 4.5 cups). Ideally, you heated the EW and sugar to 140 degrees before you began whipping them. If you're making a Swiss meringue, it doesn't matter if they are cold or room temp. Unfortunately, I've had similar results with frozen EWs. I can get them to a consistency that is adequate for tuning it into Swiss meringue buttercream, but not stiff enough to pipe or shape for meringues. For meringues, or for topping for a pie, I always use the real thing.

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added over 3 years ago

I have 4 cups sugar 2 cups egg whites, not sure that I made it to 140 though. And, yes, making Swiss meringue. I halved it in the mixer which seemed to help a little. Anyhow, I've stuffed it into the fridge and am hoping for a more congealed product in the AM, if not, well then I guess I start again and if that doesn't work, I will purchase a cake. Ugh - so ready for the kids to be done with chocolate and move on fruit pies or something less messy.

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boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 3 years ago

I'm sorry to say that the fridge won't help matters. I remember those days well: "Mom, I signed you up to make cupcakes." Me: "Ok, when?" He/She" "Tomorrow for our (room party, carnival, fair, insert your own event)." When in danger or in doubt, use whipped cream sweetened with 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar to 1 cup of cream.

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added about 2 years ago

Sometimes, the boxed egg whites just won't cut it! The exact same thing just happened to me, so on the advice of The Meringue Girls, I switched to real egg whites and it yielded a fluffy, gorgeous meringue.

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Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

"Egg whites were not room temp but I heated the whites and sugar over simmering bath to melt sugar."

Does that even work. I've always heard that adding the sugar first before still peak stage was bad. Thus why we use confectioners sugar. And what's this heating the whites and sugar together to melt the sugar stuff?

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boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added about 2 years ago

Egg whites and sugar heated to 140 degrees, then whipped until the bowl is completely cool to the touch makes a Swiss meringue, which is much more stable than a cold French meringue. Once soft butter is dotted in in equal proportion to the sugar, it becomes Swiss meringue buttercream.

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drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 2 years ago

This may be a complete long shot, but I've found that a pinch of kosher salt really helps egg whites to stiffen. (You'll probably need more than a pinch for such a huge amount of egg whites--1/2 teaspoon? Good luck.)

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drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 2 years ago

Whoops, I just noticed that this question is over a year old.