January 20, 2012

Coffee Meringues

Sometimes, in a moment of making a decision, there is a doubt. Piercing all the body, from the very tip of the hair to the smallest toe. Spearing the heart, getting stuck into the chest and not leaving no matter how hard you are trying to blink it away. If you are walking on - it walks right by your side, if you are trying to hide it - it is the first one to be found, and if you are ignoring it - it echoes the loudest so that you would not be able to forget its voice.  The uncertainty is strong. More powerful than you think. And it leaves you handcuffed unless you make a decision. It's better the right one.

Then there's no way back. It's done. The words are said, the hesitation overstepped, the courage gained, but then too easily wasted. In a very moment of genuine truth and sincerity, in a real  life where the book cannot prompt the right answer, where all the wisdom of the world suddenly fades away there is just one step from here and there. From doubtful present to the future behind the decision. If it's the wrong one - you are just unfortunately mistaken; if it's the right one - you'll never know.

Coffee meringues

Anyways, decisions are the huge part of our daily routine. Everything that's not fully mechanical, that's not told, ordered or written, that's been considered, measured and chosen is nothing else but once doubt-hatched decision. Hiding behind mid-afternoon snack or a little lie instead of painful truth. It makes us who we are and where we are going. No matter what the intentions were or will be, the only thing that's important is that moment when we are choosing to turn either left or right. That's just us in front of the decision. Even though it's left...

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But I guess it was right when I decided to go for these coffee meringues. How can it be left, when there is something magically-bitterly-sweet melting in your mouth? Besides, they are so sinfully easy to make that there is no space to squeeze a bad decision. This time I used only three ingredients - egg whites, powdered sugar and instant coffee - because I wanted the meringues to be firm from the outside, but still slightly soft and sticky inside. And that's what you get when you are not using any stiffener, such as cream of tartar (which is actually not available in Lithuania, or at least I can not find it anywhere), cornstarch or vinegar. However, you should use them if you feel like having harder meringues (the recipe is easily adaptable to both options). The taste will be exactly the same that I am having at the moment melting in my mouth.


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Coffee Meringues

3 egg whites
5 1/3 oz (150 g) powdered sugar
1 Tbsp instant coffee powder
1/3 tsp white vine vinegar (optional)
1 tsp cornflour (optional)

Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 225 F (110 C).
Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until they form soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, whisking until the mixture is very stiff and shiny. The mixture should stay put, even when the bowl is tilted. Fold in the coffee powder and if using vinegar and cornflour.
Spoon the meringue mixture on to the lined baking sheet, spacing them apart as they will expand slightly in the oven.
Bake in the oven for 45-60 minutes. When the meringues are baked do not open the oven door but let them cool completely inside the oven. Otherwise they may shrink due to the sudden drop of the temperature.

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11 comments:

  1. Beautiful Meringues! Anything with coffee in it ;)

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  2. Where can you get instant coffe powder? I've never heard of anything but coffee grounds (I'm not a coffe drinker but LOVE the flavor in sweets!)

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    1. Instant coffee actually is derived from brewed coffee beans by freeze-drying or spray-drying them. So it's the same coffee just with a different texture (slightly granulated or powdered) and different taste. I don't like drinking that kind of coffee at all, but it's very good to use in baking, because it melts instantly in any liquid. It can be found in every supermarket at the coffee section.
      Besides, if you want to use it just for cooking, I would advice to buy an instant coffee substitute made out of chicory or wheat. It does not contain any coffeine and perfectly well imitates the coffee flavor.

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  3. If you use the vinegar & cornflour, what changes and should you use them both?
    Can you switch out sugar for sweetener with the same result?

    Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. If you want to use vinegar and cornflour you should just add them while not reducing the quantity of any other ingredient. Cornflour will make the meringues firmer, vinegar - fluffier and more stable. You can use them either both together or just one of them :)

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    2. ... well and I am not very sure about using sweetener instead of sugar, I haven't ever tried that. But since sugar is partly used for the texture, you may get the meringues a lot lighter in texture. In that case you definitely should use cornflour and vinegar and remeber that sweetener is way sweeter than sugar, so you may want to reduce it's quantity to approximatelly 1 cup.
      Hope it will turn out well! Let me know ;)

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  4. Thanks for getting back to me. I want to test it out with sweetener and I'll let you know what happens... Hopefully it's not a mushy disaster.

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  5. Can you use caster sugar rathere than icing sugar

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    Replies
    1. Of course you can, it's interchangeable ;)

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  6. Does anyone know the cup equivalent to 5.3 oz of powdered sugar? (US measurement standard)

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    Replies
    1. It's approximately 1 and 1/4 cup, though measuring in cups is not as precize is in ounces or grams :)

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