This weekend, we were celebrating the graduation of two of my friends – Jeff and Tina – from college. Both are super-smart, have amazing non-bookwormish personalities, and are beyond thoughtful.
Trying to find any excuse that I could to bake, I asked Jeff, “What flavors do you and Tina like? You know….if I were to bake something for your shindig…” Jeff said that he didn’t really need anything, but he liked strawberry. He said that Tina rather loves coconut, but she tries to watch what she eats (what girl doesn’t? Okay, what girl – other than Paula Deen and Nigella Lawson (love them to pieces!!)- doesn’t?) So, I decided to make meringue cookies in those flavors.
After having successfully made a Coconut Macaroon Cheesecake for my mom’s birthday last weekend, I thought this should be easy to do.
First, the Strawberry Meringue…
I decided to take frozen strawberry juice and mix it in t!o a basic meringue recipe (egg whites, cream of tartar, sugar). BIG MISTAKE! I should have known that adding straight juice to something that should remain light and fluffy was a bad idea. But, like everything in life – you learn from it and move on. Before tossing, I had to sample my creation to make sure they could not be salvaged. The taste and texture of the meringues were “okay” – kind of like a strawberry marshmallow….almost like something from Lucky Charms. The look though – good grief! Meringues start to brown as they slowly bake in the oven. Pink meringue (due to the strawberry juice) plus brown = yuck! In the words of Heidi Klum from Project Runway, “You’re out!”
You don’t need to be a model to know those colors should not go together! Bleh! You eat with your eyes first – there was no way I could serve this.
The coconut merignues turned out pretty well – not perfect. I probably added too much coconut and weighed down the cookies….or made too large of a batch. I’ll need more practice.
I didn’t want to show up at dinner and not have anything for Jeff, so I looked in my fridge and cabinets and saw that I had all the ingredients for Nestle’s Chocolate Chip cookies. Well, I was missing the AP flour. As I learned in my baking class, bread flour can substitute, but will give a “chewier texture” because of the higher gluten content. That’s all I had in my pantry, so that’s what I went with.
Growing up, I loved to bake Chocolate Chip Cookies – the Nestle back-of-the-bag recipe. I know the recipe better than I know how to spell most of the words on this list. I whipped out my KitchenAid and proceeded to make the cookies with what I had on hand. I had made my insanely delish Nutella brownies about a month or so ago and wrapped up the hard edges in plastic wrap and placed in my fridge. I decided to chop up the extra pieces and place them in my cookie mix, in lieu of half of the chocolate chips.
A fudgey, chewy success!
So, I was 50/50 in my kitchen play this Saturday. Meringue = fail (more practice needed, clearly!). CCC’s = winner!
What is the weirdest excuse you’ve made for yourself to bake?