The other day I got a great idea for a Christmas confection, sort of a cookie, but a light and guiltless one. I thought it would be super fun to make meringue snowmen. My hope was to have cute little snowmen with the same crisp and airy texture as the pre-made puffs I have bought in the past. Most importantly I wanted something I could decorate. I poked around on-line to find a recipe and found a few variations so I went with the simplest one to start.
On a quiet afternoon with frost still glittering on the grass I got busy turning my brilliant idea into an edible delight. As I staged the ingredients and mixed the meringue I photographed my progress, already envisioning the amazing final product.
Room temperature egg whites, 1/3 of a cup of Splenda Sugar Blend, 1/8 of a teaspoon of cream of tarter, and the seeds from a vanilla bean. Scrapping the insides out of the vanilla bean made me feel like I really knew what I was doing. Whipping the egg whites into stiff peaks was so rewarding. The tiny vanilla bean seeds clearly defined by the stark fluffy whites already tasted delicious.
I don’t own a pipping bag so I cut the zipper off of a gallon sized storage bag and snipped away a small piece of one corner. As I began to pipe the snowmen on to my parchment lined cookies sheets I felt like I might be able to submit my genius idea to a culinary magazine.
The recipe called for the meringues to bake at 175 degrees for 2 hours. I placed the two pans of snowmen into the oven, set the timer, and sat down to finish stamping my Christmas cards while Miracle on 34th Street (with Maureen O’Hara and Natalie Wood) played in the background. I felt like the crowned Queen of Christmas.
After an hour I peeked in the oven and found the snowmen just sitting there as though nothing had happened with perhaps a few extra little bubbles on their surface. Another half an hour later I was concerned that the snowmen did not have any sort of a crust forming on them. One of the recipes I glanced at used a slightly higher temperature so I turned the heat up to 200 degrees.
Twenty seven minutes later I pulled two pans of sticky, soft, peed on snowmen out of the oven.
They firmed up a little after cooling for a few minutes but were no where near my vision. This caused me to frown, then sigh, and then I handed one to my son who smiled, gobbled it up, and demanded another.
Things do not always go the way I envision them. I am not The Queen of Christmas and sometimes life sends me “peed on snowmen” but, at the end of the day, I am queen of my own kitchen and that’s about all I can handle right now.
*Got any tips for making a crisp meringue cookie? Let me know in the comments!