Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Vanilla Bean Meringues

I’ve been dying to make meringues for quite a while, I just never got around to it. My grandmother makes them, usually at Christmas time, and she often puts chocolate chips in hers. My good friend at work, Jamie, invited me and two other girlfriends over to her house to eat and watch movies. We are all trying to eat healthier so she created a menu of yummy but healthy foods. She was the consummate host, and served fruit with dip, caprese salad, and quiche. I figured this would be a great opportunity to finally get around to making meringues, so we could all still enjoy a cookie, but it would be really low in calories!

Not too long ago, I saw meringues dipped in chocolate on Beantown Baker’s blog, and I was inspired. However, I didn’t want raspberry meringues, so I searched until I found this Cooking Light recipe for Double Vanilla Meringues. I think I have some kind of mental disconnect, and I often rename recipes to my liking. For some reason I called these Vanilla Bean Meringues. No matter what you call them, they were delicious, and very easy to prepare. If you look closely you can see the little flecks of the vanilla bean in the meringues!


Vanilla Bean Meringues (or Double Vanilla Meringues)

from Cooking Light, inspired by Beantown Baker


1 cup sugar, divided
1 vanilla bean
3 large egg whites (at room temperature)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 325°.

Place 1/4 cup sugar in a small bowl. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean, and add seeds to sugar; discard bean. Stir well with a whisk.

Beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt at high speed of a mixer until foamy. Gradually add 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating mixture until stiff peaks form. Gradually add vanilla bean mixture and extract; beat until just combined. (Stiff peaks will take on the consistency of marshmallow cream.)

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper; secure to baking sheet with masking tape. Drop batter by level tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet. Bake at 325° for 35 minutes or until crisp. Cool on pan on a wire rack. Repeat procedure with remaining batter, reusing parchment paper. Store in an airtight container.

Calories: 28; Fat: 0.0g; Protein: 0.3g; Carbohydrate: 6.7g

To dip them in chocolate I melted 60% Cacao Ghiradelli chocolate and just dipped the bottoms of the meringues. I'm not sure how Beantown Baker let her chocolate dipped meringues cool, but I have a stack of styrofoam egg cartons I've been collecting until I one day remember to actually recycle them, so I just placed the meringue upside-down in the empty egg carton to dry! It worked pretty well, and I was proud of my ingenuity.

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