Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Colorful Meringue Flowers

I've been testing natural food coloring using juices from beets, spinach, and carrots, for a few weeks now. Basically, baking colorful macaroons. And let me tell you. Macaroons are sold for $2 each at my local bakery. Now I know why. They are really difficult to make. Well, that's another blog post. Right now, I want to tell you how much I luv these natural food coloring.

Since the beet juice turned macaroons dark pink, my brains were working overtime. What if I baked meringue using beet juice and piped them into flower shapes. Oh... hello!!! Why didn't I think of this before. Meringue is less fuss than macaroons too. And having pinkish flower meringue on top of a chocolate cake is just (sigh) too pretty.

Baking these colorful meringue flowers are pretty much the same as baking regular meringues. The only step that is added to the recipe is to mix in the natural food coloring. Because I add the liquid (food coloring) into the whipped egg white, I decide that it is best to use cream of tartar for the firm peak support.

To make the food coloring, I peel raw beets and juiced them, using a juicer. The beet juice did make my hands pink for awhile. I keep my natural food coloring in the mason jars and try to use them within a week. I also freeze the beet juice in a small ice cube tray. Remember a little bit of beet juice goes a long away.

For the Earth Day 2014 inspiration, I baked chocolate cupcakes using my dairy free chocolate cake recipe. The cupcakes were topped with my dairy free chocolate frosting. The pretty colorful meringue flowers on top really added the touch of happiness.

Feel free to double or triple my recipe and make a garden full of flower meringues.

Colorful Flower Meringues
makes 10, depending on the sizes of the flowers

1 large egg white
pinch of cream tartar
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon natural food coloring from beet juice
  1. Preheat the oven to 250°F. Line the baking pan with the parchment paper.
  2. Separate the egg whites into a clean, dry, and large bowl. TIP: Make the pastry cream using the leftover egg yolk.
  3. Add the cream of tartar to the egg white.
  4. Using a hand mixer, whip the egg whites until frothy, about one minute.
  5. Sprinkle the sugar then whip the egg whites until firm peaks form.
  6. Add one of the food coloring of choice.
  7. Whip the egg white until the food coloring is mixed in. NOTE: Egg white should not be visible.
  8. Transfer the whipped meringue into the piping bag then snip the end of the bag.
  9. Pip the whipped egg meringue on to the prepared baking tray, making sure they look like flowers. TIP: I dot the whipped egg meringue. Then I add more dots around the center dot to form a flower. I also tried different piping tips to form different flowers.
  10. Bake the meringues in a preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  11. Lower the oven temperature to 225°F degree.
  12. Bake 30 minutes more. NOTE: If you would like to have the flower meringues ready on the day of baking, continue baking at 225°F degree until the meringues are crisp. Check for the crispiness every 15 minutes. The timing is really depending on the size of the flower meringues.
  13. Turn off the oven and leave the meringues in the oven over night with the door closed. In the morning, the meringues should be crisp. If not, turn the oven on at 225°F. Once the oven is preheated, turn it off. Leave the meringues in the oven and check for crispiness after an hour.
  14. Store the meringues in an air tight container. NOTE: If the air hits a meringue, it will be sticky and lose its crispiness. Enjoy them within a week.
Allergy Info: These colorful flower meringues are free from or can be made without dairy, corn, legumes (soy), wheat, nuts, and fish.

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