Meringue Troubleshooting and Macaroon help;
How I Fail at baking everything and learn from my mistakes.
I slowly have learned how to make meringue. Yesterday I tried to make macaroons and the result was definitely not a macaroon, but I learned so much from my mistakes that I want to share what I learned.
I learned so much from researching the ins and outs of french meringue and how to make macaroons. I have yet to have a successful macaroon test in my kitchen, but my fail yesterday taught me a whole lot. First thing that I learned is, you cannot substitute any ingredient with macaroons. I also learned that macaroons are celiac friendly aka gluten free. I learned that using parchment paper is best for baking them, not a silpat. Which I tried to use, and the middles did fall out. I also tried to make it with oat flour instead of almond, a sort of corn flake macaroon recipe but without the corn flakes.. bare with me. I adapted the recipe from my old 1950’s baking book, so I am even surprised I did well enough to fill and eat it. But I admit, they are not traditional macaroons. I can’t wait to buy almond flour and try making them correctly. When I do I will edit and add pictures of my success.
I learned that making meringue also needs a great deal of finesse. And I sometimes have that patience to create it correctly, its essentially blowing egg whites up like a balloon,but with its own set of rules. Last night I somehow managed to break them all and came up with the most horrible tasting meringue in the world, wasted 4 eggs and HEAVILY learned from my mistakes. All of them.
So let me help you to not make the same mistakes,
- Never use too much cream of tarter, in fact you can probably leave it out. I learned this the hard way and after sprinkling it into something without measuring resulting in the most tart, deflated meringue possible. Yes, its supposed to help inflate meringue. But too much will do the opposite. Its a high citric ph ingredient, so any citric juice will work better then this will and you can control how much you put into it better. I read about what cream of tarter is and its function in the following links. Instead rub a lemon on the bowl or use a copper bowl. http://www.cakespy.com/blog/2013/7/8/what-is-cream-of-tartar-and-what-does-it-do.html
- Age your eggs?!, so 9/10 macaroon and meringue recipes troubleshooting tips I went through said to age your whites. Simply separate your eggs and leave the whites in the fridge for an hr to 24 hrs to “age” them, before you whip them into meringue.
- Use confectioners sugar only! It has corn starch and is already broke down so much that making a reaction with the egg whites is much easier then if you use regular sugar. If you are out of confectioners sugar and have a high speed blender or food processor, blend your granulated sugar into powder and add a tad bit of corn starch while blending. Use this powder as confectioners sugar aka powdered sugar.
- Add your sugar to the sides and start slow. Adding it in fast and in the middle will cause your meringue to deflate and not bind well with the sugar. Add on the sides while blending on low and start slow, then go to high when the sugar is all added in.
- Use your meringue right away: You can make a pavlova, or add it to a tart and bake it. But meringue does not sit well overnight and will weep after a day. Meaning, it will have liquid coming out of the sides after a day or two of sitting so eat your creations right away.
- Practice makes perfect. =) so never give up, so no matter how many fails you can muster, just remember its only sugar and eggs.
Here are some basic meringue recipes to use:
- Basic Meringue: http://www.azeliaskitchen.net/make-french-meringues/
- Meringue cookies:http://jaybirdblog.com/how-to-bake-perfect-snowdrop-meringue-cookie/
- Corn flake macaroons: http://whatscookingamerica.net/Cookie/CoconutCornflake.htm
- Macaroons: http://foodnouveau.com/2010/03/destinations/europe/france/how-to-make-macarons-a-detailed-illustrated-step-by-step-recipe/ http://foodnouveau.com/2011/12/destinations/europe/france/a-macaron-troubleshooting-guide-useful-tips-and-advice-to-master-the-french-delicacy/#ingredients-06-cream-of-tartar
- Meringue pie topping: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/lemon–meringue-pie-recipe.html
- Meringue as a start for cake batter: http://thebakingpan.com/recipes/cakes/angel-food-cake/#.VVU0w-9FAqM
- Pavlovas:http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-mini-summer-berry-pavlovas-with-strawberry-sauce-recipes-from-the-kitchn-191318 http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/184613/mini-pavlovas http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/pavlova/ http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/mini-pavlovas-162 http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-light-airy-pavlova-174407 http://sweets.seriouseats.com/2013/09/how-to-make-pavlova-meringue-garnish-fancy-fruit-dessert-tips.html
- Meringue dots: http://www.thekitchn.com/make-candy-buttons-at-home-175048 http://runwithglitter.blogspot.com/2011/03/sugar-meringue-candy-dots.html?m=1 http://whatwillwedotoday.com/2011/07/12/recipe-candy-buttons/
- Italian meringue: http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/06/how-to-make-italian-meringue.html