We've all got one; a group of friends who get together and talk about food, share recipes and techniques and generally shoot the shit. Ours just happens to be foul-mouthed and unabashed. This blog is a collaboration of authors (even occasionally male!) who share a love of booze, profanity, food and bitching.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Wherein our illustrious guest blogger makes an appearance

A little about me: I'm frequently broke, especially around the holidays, and I have a large family and a huge pool of friends. All of this breaks down into one thing: I don't give presents, I give baskets and bags of baked goods and candies for the holidays. Some recipes are a given for certain groups: I can be pretty sure most of my presents for my friends will involve alcohol, I have to find a tasty diabetic-friendly recipe for my live-in's grandmother, I have to find something that ships well for his father, and I have to figure out something interesting that can be made in advance for the voracious and superlatively picky bunch that are related to me.

As a result my "holiday baking" starts early with new recipe testing. And as with all recipe testing, things go wrong. For today, I'm trying out Chocolate & Peanut Butter Meringues.

I was specifically thinking of my brother and mom for this one as they both adore meringues and macaroon-type cookies. Myself, I am not a fan. But these were pretty tasty. Also, the only thing that might go wrong if you let the batter sit for a while (as I did) is that the second batch that's been sitting doesn't poof up as much. They still taste good, they're just a little flat.

I should place here a disclaimer: I am not a photographer and my food frequently turns out delicious but homely. If other food bloggers have pictures that are considered food porn, mine's food amateur porn: lots of enthusiasm, but messier than a professional job.
First tip I have: Separate your egg whites first in a separate bowl! I know, I look at stuff on the food programs and go, "Yeah, I'm gonna dirty every single bowl in my house so I can premeasure this nonsense. I think not," but in this case it's necessary. Meringue does not play well with oils (like those found in egg yolks), so if you mess up separating them into your mixing bowl, you'll have to throw it out and start again (or resign yourself to eating omlettes instead).

Then there's the matter of chocolate. Now I don't know about any of you, but I don't chop chocolate well. Instead I get out my ancient cheese grater and just grind the stuff down into small particles. I find this to be much easier.

The original recipe calls for 1/3 cup of bittersweet chocolate. Yeah, I didn't have any of that either. When in doubt, fake it: I shredded 2 2-oz blocks of unsweetened chocolate and one of semi-sweet chocolate and it worked out rather well.

And now gratuitous shots of whipping eggs. Aw yeah. You're a BAD ovum.

It's times like this when I love my Kitchen-Aid stand mixer. Best present ever. Whipping eggs by hand sucks like no other cooking chore.

Anyway, after about 4 1/2 minutes it looked like this:

So then I mixed the chocolate in and went to search out my piping bag. Well, I couldn't find the plastic piece that holds the metal tip onto the bag (where on earth did that go?), so I rigged up my own in the time honored tradition: cutting a corner out of a zip-top plastic bag and sticking the tip in there. Surprisingly, it worked way better than my piping bag, and no mess to clean up, just chuck the bag in the trash after you're done. I've a feeling I'll be retiring my piping bag after this; it's too much effort for too little reward.

And now a shot of what they look like after you've poked the peanut butter into your meringues:

I'll be honest, I was skeptical about that bit, but it worked. And here's a picture of the final product (though better pictures can be found on the original link).

Final thoughts: Buy parchment paper for meringues. If you don't, they leave a bunch of weird looking white spots on your pans. I wouldn't recommend substituting foil, 'cause I have a feeling that'd burn the bottoms of these.

Also, halve this recipe. I used every pan in my house twice and I've got meringues coming out my ears. They don't ship well (too delicate), so I guess I'll be finding out what I can do with spare meringues before they go stale.

It does get me thinking though, of other things you could do with chocolate meringues. Think of omitting the peanut butter chips and instead putting in 1/4 t of raspberry extract for chocolate raspberry meringues. Or orange extract and orange peel for something reminiscent of those foil-wrapped chocolate oranges sold in December.


  1. Hey Dez, I have a suggestion for my Christmas pressie, and it involves that last idea of chocolate and candied orange peel meringues.