Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Holiday Baking Tips & Peppermint Meringue Recipe from forever88

hi everyone! it's annahita from forever88, I'm so excited to be guest-posting and sharing some fun tips on one of my favorite topics - Holiday Baking!  I had a whirlwind weekend of baking goodies for my office and my husbands co-workers... and let me just say, it was exhausting, here are some tips so you can learn from my experiences (and mistakes)

Annahita's Holiday Baking Tips

  • Try and find recipes that call for similar ingredients or ones you already have
  • Print out your recipes, I love being sustainable and working from my iPad or iPhone and not wasting paper by printing out recipes but when you're juggling five recipes it is SO much easier to print them out (and I speak from experience when I say it's better to get batter on a piece of paper than an iPad cover, oops)
  • Read ALL of the instructions on ALL of your recipes before starting... for example you should probably make the dough for the cookies that needs to be chilled for 3.5 hours before the dough that needs to be chilled for an hour... not that I did that or anything... oops, again.
  • Make notes as you go on your recipe printouts... pregnancy brain over here can't remember anything that happened more than 5 minutes in the past so I wrote down the time that I put things in the fridge to be chilled and when they'd be ready to come out (you can also use timers but I liked having the substantial proof in case someone accidentally clears your timer while making popcorn, etc).
  • Clean as you go, this makes things SO much easier, I did the dishes in between every cookie/treat that I made and used the same two bowls throughout the process, it was so nice to not have a huge sink of dishes when I was finally done baking!
  • Bake on parchment paper, that way you can just remove to the treats off the baking sheets and leave them on the parchment paper to cool and reuse baking sheets (and less dishes!)
  • Make sure you have all of the essentials before you go out and do your shopping... I always have baking powder so I didn't bother to check how much I had before I went to the grocery store... yeah, I almost ran out last night - luckily, I just made it and it's now on my grocery list
  • Get a stand mixer... if you don't have one add it to your holiday list, birthday list, wedding registry, baby registry - splurge and buy yourself one. It makes baking so much easier and less stressful!
Those are the major ones that I can think of - if you're preggo like me make sure to build-in "break-time" to your holiday baking as your back will be killing you by the end of the night from standing, leaning over the counter and doing dishes... I at least like to blame it on the baby growing inside me, it might just be that whole getting old thing happening! ;)

So here's one of the recipes that I tried out this weekend, so yummy and easy and a big hit at the office!

Peppermint Meringues

  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar [5 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon]
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract [you may think this is not enough, trust me it is! the little bit of extract packs a punch!]
  • 12 drops red food coloring (or blue or green)
  1. Preheat oven to 200°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt on medium-high speed until white and foamy, about 1 minute.
  3. With mixer running, gradually add sugar in 3 additions, beating for 2 minutes between each addition. [I did it in this format: 1 tablespoon, 1 teaspoon of sugar (let it mix for 2 minutes; 2 tablespoons of sugar (let it mix for 2 minutes); 2 tablespoons of sugar (let it mix for 2 minutes)].
  4. Beat until firm peaks form, about 2 minutes longer. Add powdered sugar and peppermint extract; beat to blend, about 1 minute.
  5. Dot coloring over surface of meringue; do not stir (the coloring will form swirls when piped).
  6. Spoon meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2" tip. (alternatively, spoon into a plastic freezer bag, then cut 1/2" off 1 corner.) Twist top; pipe 1" rounds onto prepared sheet, spacing 1" apart. [if you have someone to help you do this it will make it SO much easier, my MIL held the pastry bag for me while I spooned the meringue in... I can't imagine holding it and spooning it in, just a word of advice!].
  7. Bake meringues until dry, about 2 1/2 hours. Let cool completely, about 1 hour (meringues will crisp as they cool).
DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature between sheets of parchment or waxed paper. [Recipe adapted from Epicurious
So there you have it, an easy elegant holiday treat, and let me tell you - they are AMAZING! I've been emailing the recipe out like crazy to my coworkers because everyone loves them - make them, you won't be disappointed! I'm excited to make another blue batch this weekend for our Hanukkah Party! :)
Thanks for reading and stop by my blog forever 88 for two more holiday recipes that I made this weekend - Peanut Butter Cup Cookies & Spicy Gingerbread Stars!
A BIG thank you to Annahita for guest posting for me!!!!  Don't these meringues look so cute and most importantly delicious?!?!  I'll definitely be making these for Christmas.  Don't forget to check out her blog...she has the most adorable dog, Oliver, and also just announced her pregnacy!  Can't wait to hear about the next few months preparing for Baby J!




Lauren said...

I can't wait to start my holiday baking! :) Those are so cute and festive! I'll have to try those!

Carlie said...

I love the idea of using parchment paper on the cookie sheets! What a time saver!

ms.composure said...

oooh these look so yummy! such a gr8 idea thanks for sharing!!


Sam {fitnessfoodandfaith.blogspot.com} said...

some awesome tips! and the little meringues are so elegant. great post!!

Faith said...

so delish and so pretty too! i want some now ... awesome post! i think i know what i should make for Christmas.

Mrs. Pancakes said...

thanks for sharing some awesome tips...i would like to do some baking this holiday so these are great!