A Little About Me

New York, New York
As a newly married woman, it has become my mission in life to learn how to cook. Gone are the days of picking up sushi and ordering curries. In order to jump-start my education, I enrolled in the Institute of Culinary Education's Fine Cooking I course where I learned the basics, from roasting to boiling to mousse-making (ok, maybe not that basic)! I've attempted to replicate some recipes - somewhat successfully- and create a few of my own. This blog is for friends and foodies and is intended to document my cooking adventures (and occasional fiascoes). Enjoy the pictures and bon appetite!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Merenguitos.... a lesson in how NOT to follow a recipe

Growing up, one of my favorite snacks were merengues, aka "merenguitos," as us Puerto Ricans refer to them. They're light, airy, delicious cookies made from beaten egg whites and sugar and I love the way they melt in my mouth!

I tried to create a batch of my own merenguetios this afternoon and realized that, in order to make them well, you have to improvise a little! The only consistent thing across all the recipes I saw were the ingredients, whereas the cooking temperatures and times varied from 250 to 400 degrees and from 12 minutes to 60 minutes.

2 egg whites (use large, not medium, eggs)
5 tbsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice (recipe calls for cream of tartar, but who really has that sitting around?)

Start by beating the eggs with a hand mixer on high, slowly adding in the sugar, until the egg whites become thick and glossy, forming a hard peak when raised. Another way to tell the egg whites have been sufficiently whipped is to turn the bowl upside down.... if the mixture doesn't budge, you're good to go! Next, add in the lemon and continue to beat.

Continue by placing the dollops on aluminum foil. My recipe called for the cookies to go in for 12 minutes at 350 degrees, but something went wrong because the bottoms were burnt, the cookies stuck to the aluminum and the insides were still raw. This is what they looked like:

I decided to try again, this time setting the oven a little lower (at 300 degrees), spraying the aluminum to avoid sticking, and sizing down the dollops so that they cooked throughout. Since I wasn't sure how long to cook the meringues for, I kept an eye on them, waiting for a light golden brown color to develop. After 25 minutes, they were done, so I turned off the stove and let them cool in there for an hour and, TADAAAAAAAAA

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