It’s February this week, so the count down to Valentine’s Day is officially on! I grew up in the 80’s and meringues were a common sight at birthday teas or with a cup of coffee after dinner. They have had a little down time since then with cupcakes making a big song and dance and the world of baking changing a lot.
Meringues have made a big come back recently with the likes of the Meringue Girls and Lucid Sweets making them into art with beautiful bright colours and fancy flavours. They have inspired me and I have made a lot of meringues in the last 3 years. My favourite being watermelon flavoured rainbow meingues. Meringue kisses are very well known but I decided to make them a little bit more romantic, if that is even possible with meringues. So here are my Vanilla Heart Meringues.
3 egg whites
1tsp vanilla extract
Heat your oven to 180°C
Ensure that your mixer bowl and whisk are clean and grease free as meringue will not whip up if there is any water or grease.
Weigh your egg whites and take note of what they weigh.
Weigh your caster sugar in a heat proof bowl. Caster sugar should be double the weight of the egg whites.
Place your caster sugar in the oven at 180°C for 5 mins.
After 5 mins start to whip your egg whites, once white and foamy, take the sugar out the oven and slowly add one tablespoon of sugar at a time while the mixer is going.
Turn the oven down to 100°C.
Once all the sugar is added, scrape down the sides and add 1 tsp of vanilla extract.
Whip for 5 mins and test a little meringue between your fingers, if it still feels grainy whip for another 5 mins. Once it feels smooth add food colouring if you desire and whip it until it is evenly coloured.
Fill a piping bag with meringue and pipe hearts of about 5cms tall onto a baking tray with parchment paper. I added sprinkles to a few of mine as we all know, I LOVE sprinkles!
Bake at 100°C for 1 hour if you like the middle a little chewy or up to 1,5 hours if you like it all crunchy. Keep an eye on them while in the oven as you may find you have a hot spot at one corner, in which case you could turn the tray after every 30 mins or so.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool before removing from the tray.
Enjoy with a cup of tea or as dessert with strawberries or wrap them up all pretty as a gift.