Lately, my middle brother (I have three!) and my youngest sister have been feeling a little under the weather. And what do you do when people are feeling a little under the weather? You get them flowers!
Sure, I could have gone with a giant fruit basket, but I don’t think my brother really likes fruit and my sister loves all things pretty, so I decided to go with the flowers…
And not just any kind of flowers… Roses!
And not just any kind of roses… Meringue roses!
Not only are meringues delicious, they are also super easy to make and fitted right in my busy still-have-to-read-another-thirty-books-by-June-15th schedule.
Just start by stirring together some egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a double boiler to dissolve the sugar and keep the meringues from weeping. Wait, weeping? Yes, weeping. When the sugar doesn’t properly dissolve into the egg whites, sticky drops of syrup can leak out of the meringues. Not only does it affect the way your meringues look, the syrup can also turn a deliciously crisp meringue in a soggy mess. To test whether all the sugar has dissolved, simply rub the mixture between your fingers. If you feel any sugar grains, keep gently heating and stirring the mixture a little longer, then dip your fingers in again…
Don’t be afraid to get a little messy. After all, that’s what baking is all about!
Once the sugar has dissolved, add half a teaspoon of vanilla and start whisking on high speed until you have a beautiful, glossy, thick meringue.
You want your meringue to be able to hold stiff peaks.
Add a few drops of pink food coloring to make the meringue pink, plop it in a piping bag fitted with a small star tip and start piping!
I have to say, I’ve been wanting to pipe roses for like forever! I’ve just been completely hooked by this technique ever since I first stumbled on I Am Baker’s Rose Cake. I still haven’t made a rose cake yet, but I think meringue roses are just as cute!
Anyway, before you start piping your roses, stick a sheet of baking parchment on a baking sheet by placing little dollops of meringue in each of the baking sheet’s corners.
On with the roses…
Making the roses is really easy: just start in the middle and spiral outwards.
It’s really not that hard. I mean, even I can do it and I have the worst handwriting in the world!
Once they’re all piped up, bake the roses for about 3 hours, until they’re wonderfully light and crisp and feel like little, brittle clouds of vanilla airiness.After my meringues had cooled, I taste tested a few before packing the rest of them in cute little gift bags, and let me tell you, they are ridiculously delicious and addictive. Seriously, I could eat a hundred of them over a simple cup of tea. They just melt in your mouth!
I took a picture of the gift bags, but the tea towel I used as a background turned out to be a little muckier than I thought. So I can’t really show you… You see, I have the best boyfriend in the world, but he just can’t drink his coffee without spilling. So every time he has a cup, he leaves coffee rings behind which he removes with our tea towels.
So that’s why our tea towels are mucky.
Oh hell, I’ll just show you:
See? Delicious meringue roses, pretty little gift bag, great floral mug, cute ribbon, mucky tea towel-background… Oh well, I guess there are worse things than mucky tea towels! ‘Feeling under the weather’, for example…
I hope these little roses make my brother and sister feel a little bit better!
- 2 egg whites
- 120g (or ½ cup + 5 teaspoons) granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
- a few drops of pink food coloring
- Preheat the oven to 90°C or 195°F (standard oven setting).
- Add the egg whites, the sugar and the vanilla extract to the bowl of a double boiler. Gently heat the mixture, stirring with a rubber spatula until the sugar has completely dissolved into the egg whites. To make sure the sugar has dissolved, rub a little of the mixture between your forefinger and thumb. Once the sugar has properly dissolved, you no longer feel any sugar grains.
- Take the bowl off the water bath and, using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the mixture until it holds stiff peaks, abut 7 minutes. Add a few drops of pink food coloring to the meringue and mix to an even pink.
- Line two baking sheets with baking parchment by sticking the parchment on the sheets with a little meringue.
- Transfer the meringue to a piping bag fitted with a medium star tip. Twist the end of the bag to seal and push the meringue down towards the tip. Starting in the middle, pipe 5-cm (2-inch) spirals (or roses), letting the meringue 'fall' out of the piping bag (check the picture above).
- Dry the meringues out in the oven for about 3 hours, until completely crisp.
- Let the meringues cool completely before storing in an airtight container for up to a week.