As equinox approaches, eggs always seem to me a good yardstick ingredient. In days past this would be the start and finish times for egg laying as most chickens need twelve hours of sunlight to produce eggs in rhythm with nature. Additionally I think, the light at this time of the year has a special feel to it. As the sun shifts its angle, darkness is highlighted, increasing the clarity of the light. The trees on a hillside stand out better than in mid summer light and colours pop when there are also shadows around.
Dark and light meringues symbolize the shift in dominance from one period to another. The movement from light to dark or dark to light. This can be achieved several ways. The good news for most, is that they all involve chocolate.
The amounts below are for the full recipe. I used smaller amounts as I made all four options in one batch so I had pictures for you.
I had a nice set-up picture and if I ever find it, I will insert it here. In the meantime…
You will need:
3 eggs whites, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. flavouring extract (optional)
1/2 tsp. vinegar (optional)
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder (optional)
1 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
2 -3 oz. dark or bitter chocolate (optional)
2 – 3 oz. white chocolate (optional)
1/2 cup coconut (optional)
Begin with an intention to create sacred space in your kitchen. Let go of all the things that are taking your awareness away from the task at hand. You can do this while washing your hands, letting the warm water wash away all that you are letting go of to be…here…now. Close your eyes for a moment, take a deep breath and release. Ask your compassionate spirits for inspiration and begin.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Three eggs gave me 20 cookies. I made four different types from the original mix just to show different ways of getting to dark and light.
My suggestion would be that you make this at home if you have a blender. Just pop regular sugar into the machine and pulse off and on until the sugar is very very small but not icing sugar. Buying this size in stores is more expensive and most people do not go through enough in a year to make it worthwhile. ( My grandfather had a special silver topped shaker full just to use with his garden fresh berries. ) While making your meringues, check that the sugar is dissolving by picking up a little between your fingers and rubbing. You should not be able to feel the granules. If you do then beat a little longer.
Begin beating the egg white on a low to medium speed. The bubbles created will be more evenly sized, making the finished product stronger. You can finish off by moving up to high but begin lower down the option list.
Once you have peak forming foam, add the sugar in SMALL AMOUNTS, teaspoonfuls is a good size. Give the meringue a good mix between additions and continue until the mixture is thick and glossy with good firm peaks.
Some people prefer to keep back the second half of the sugar until the mixture is firm before adding the last half of the sugar. Others suggest adding 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar to help the egg whites get stiff and hold their peaks. There is no vinegar in the picture above and the peaks are holding well, your choice. ( We get our eggs from the farm. Store bought eggs will be older and may benefit from the added help.)
Add your flavouring and mix well.
There are several ways to bring in the dark and light theme. The first one, is to melt dark chocolate and drizzle on top of the meringue before scooping out spoonfuls and placing on the cookie sheet.
Spread the chocolate over the surface of the meringue and then on your spoon ensure you have a little dark and a little light. The darker the chocolate the better, it will give better contrast and with a mouth full of sugar the stronger taste will be balanced.
Option Two is to add cocoa and partially stir.
So sift the cocoa/cinnamon mixture over the top of the egg whites and with a spatula gently fold a couple of time.
You want it streaky with dark and light places, after all few times are absolutely one or the other.
Place by spoonfuls on the cookie sheet and adjust shape to balance colour if needed.
Option Three is to keep your merginues plain and either scoop or pipe them onto the cookie sheet. Once baked and cooled. Dip the bottoms in melted dark chocolate and cool until solid in the fridge. If these are made small enough you can also put two together, dipped bottom to dipped bottom.
Option Four is to add the cocoa or melted chocolate (and possibly some coconut) to the mixture. Please remember that adding melted chocolate will thin the mixture and your cookies will be flatter than using just the egg white mixture. They will not be really dark as egg whites will soften the colour but for kids this might work better, especially with a final half dip of white chocolate.
How long the meringues are baked will determine whether they are firm and crunchy or have a chewy “filling” inside. To achieve white meringues bake at 200 degrees. Since your oven is preheated to 250 degrees, that will be about perfect once the door is opened to put the meringues inside. Avoid opening the door to “see how things are going” and once finished turn the oven off and allow them to cool in the oven to help avoid cracks. Bake for about 45 minutes at this size.
Higher temperatures will caramelize the sugars and add a different flavour but that is for another day when white is not the goal.
Be gentle when removing the meringues from the cookie sheets. I pulled the parchment at the wrong time and cracked a couple as you can see below.
At a time when the light and dark are balancing on the planet, take a moment to reflect what is out of balance in your life and consider what actions would return what is off kilter to harmony. Take action, you deserve harmony.
Dark and Light Meringues from My Kitchen Wand