Well, these are addictive little devils! Sweet little sugar puffs that melt in your mouth, all dressed up for the Fourth of July. Trust me, you won’t be able to stop at one.
I did something out of character and took the easy route with these treats. I’ve made meringues many times using egg whites, but I tried using Wilton’s meringue powder and it worked beautifully.
If you’re fresh out of meringue powder, I’d advise a trip to the store – pronto. And get some superfine sugar while you’re there. You don’t HAVE to use it, but it dissolves into the liquid a lot faster and I highly recommend it. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Meringue Powder
- Superfine sugar (aka: Baker’s sugar)
- large pastry bag
- large star tip
- red and blue paste food coloring (or gel, if it’s thick)
- Two paintbrushes
I tried using my gel coloring but it didn’t stick to the bag at all. Maybe because it’s “squeezable” gel, so it’s thinner. Paste coloring worked fine.
This is seriously so easy. The hardest thing you’ll have to do is get the stripes of color inside the pastry bag. I’ll give you some pointers, but the important thing to remember is that even if your stripes are wonky, the meringues will still look great.
|Patriotic Meringue Puffs|| |
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tablespoon meringue powder (I use Wiltons)
- ½ cup superfine sugar
- a few drops of flavoring if desired (use clear colors: lemon, peppermint, cinnamon are all good.)
- red and blue paste food coloring
- PREPARATION: Drop large star tip into the pastry bag. Fold down the top third of the bag (making a cuff) and paint alternating stripes of red and blue up the inside of the bag, starting at the base of the star tip and working up. Don't make them too thick or too close together, or you'll end up with purple! (I used 3 stripes of each color.) Set bag aside.
- Cover a large baking sheet with parchment.
- MERINGUES: For best results, use a stand mixer (or a sturdy hand mixer and medium-sized bowl.) Heat oven to 250 F.
- Beat together the water and meringue powder until foamy.
- Add sugar very gradually, sprinkling it in a little at a time, scraping bowl occasionally.
- Beat until thick and shiny, about 5-7 minutes. Add flavoring if using and beat until incorporated.
- Place the prepared pastry bag inside a tall water glass. Carefully drop meringue into bag. Don't try to spread it, just drop it in there. Unfold the cuff of the bag and twist to close.
- Pipe meringues on prepared pan. Squeeze near the pan and pull up slowly, releasing pressure as you go. Aim for about 1½ inches at the base. The first few won't be very colorful, but they're still pretty. They won't spread and can be fairly close together. Small stars can be piped for decorations, but pipe them on a separate sheet; they'll take less time to bake.
- Bake large puffs for 25 minutes, (10 minutes for the tiny stars), then turn off oven (don't open the door!) and leave them for a couple of hours. If you have an oven that vents heat out when it's turned off, at the end of the bake time turn the heat down as low as it will go and let them bake for another 10 minutes before turning oven off.
- Store the meringues in an airtight container.
- Take your time when adding the sugar. Give it time to dissolve.
- If you want to make the tiny stars (great for decorating cupcakes) hold the tip a little bit above the parchment and start squeezing as you push down and touch the sheet. Stop squeezing and pull up. You’ll get the hang of it!
- To make both sizes, put the large puffs in the oven first. Let them bake for 15 minutes, then put the other sheet in too. Continue to bake for the remaining 10 minutes then turn off the oven without opening the door. Don’t peek – leave them to dry out for a couple of hours (or overnight). If you have an oven that vents the heat once it’s turned off, see the recipe for instructions.
- Put a dot of meringue batter on the baking sheet under the parchment to hold it in place while piping.
- If you want a little more white and a little less color in your meringues, just make 4 stripes instead of 6 inside the pastry bag.
- Keep them dry, cool, and dark. In theory, they’ll last 2 weeks. I don’t think they’ll have that opportunity!
Here is the mini version:
Jazz up strawberry shortcake, cookies, cupcakes, or a bowl of ice cream. Or just pop them—one after another—in your mouth.
Have a sweet and safe 4th!