Baking Fail – Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

This was a frustrating one 🙁  How did I get these melted snowballs in the first place? Read on!

I had some tasty leftover lemon curd from this recipe and because food waste drives me nuts, lemon meringue cupcakes seemed a perfect way to use it up completely. The cake was a yummy vanilla batter and I piped the rest of my lemon curd into the finished cupcakes. No baking fail to be seen. So far so good.

The crowning achievement of this recipe was to be the beautiful, lightly toasted meringue swirled perfectly on top. Unfortunately, the stars were not aligned, because said achievement didn’t materialize.

What happened, tiff? I’m dying to know!

After 15 minutes of beating whites to death and still not getting stiff peaks, I realized I was wasting my time. I either had a bit of fat in the bowl or on my beaters or too much moisture in the air, but either way it wasn’t going to happen. So I did what I usually do in times like these – I improvised!

Surely adding some butter to my soupy meringue would fix this problem. It will be a buttercream/meringue hybrid that I invented and would get wealthy when I sold the recipe to the highest bidder.

It actually tasted fine, like a light buttercream, and piped sorta okay onto the cupcakes. Now to complete my work of art, I decided to put this BUTTERcream/meringue mixture under a very hot broiler!

I did have this internal conversation right beforehand:  ‘Maybe this won’t work, because there’s now plenty of butter in here, and butter melts,’ but I did it anyway, because why not?

Within seconds, my piped swirls are smooth, bald-headed white caps. I now know I should’ve listened to my gut! I’m still learning this particular life lesson apparently 🙂

I could attempt these again, but I’m not about to whip up more lemon curd just to fill a cupcake. Maybe I’ll try in the future when I need to use up leftovers.

Chocolate-Dipped Meringue Cookies

I find meringue to be fickle sometimes. I went through 2 batches of another meringue recipe on a drizzly day and it refused to make stiff peaks both times! Almost weekly I whip up egg whites for macarons, so I’d like to THINK I have my technique down at this point. I’ll blame it on the rain that day 😉

This recipe was used to make tiny mushrooms for a Buche de Noel for Christmas…they were the best meringues EVER. They literally melted in my mouth, which was quite a change from other dry, hollow hockey pucks I’ve made in the past. I’ve narrowed it down to temperature being important here; too high a temp seems to create giant gaps in meringue cookies. So go low and slow!

Like macarons, this recipe only uses whites and you’ll need to either throw out your yolks or save them to make this deliciousness.

Shockingly enough, these are even better dipped in chocolate and the bottoms bathed in nonpareils. The texture rocks on these – crunchy sweet bottoms with light and airy meringue on top. I really enjoy the contrast! I also just drizzled some bittersweet chocolate on a few of them, because why not?

One more tip – make sure your cooled meringues are stored in an airtight container. They like to absorb moisture from the air and become sticky, although still tasty 😉

Enjoy!

Print Recipe
Chocolate-Dipped Meringue Cookies
Meringue cookies are both easy to make and impressive to serve to guests! A batch of these would make a welcome gift.
Chocolate-Dipped Meringue Cookies
Course Desserts
Servings
Ingredients
Course Desserts
Servings
Ingredients
Chocolate-Dipped Meringue Cookies
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200 F and cover a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place your egg whites and cream of tartar in a very clean bowl; any fat/oil/grease in the bowl will prevent your eggs from peaking.
  3. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, start to mix on low and inch your way up to medium speed until soft peaks form.
  4. Increase your speed to high and slowly add your granulated sugar. I just hold the small bowl over the mixer while it's running and just sprinkle it in small amounts until gone. Mix until you get stiff peaks.
  5. Now you can either use a spoon to place small teaspoon-sized mounds on your parchment, or you can use a piping bag with tip to make a small "kiss" shape on your parchment. I made these about 3/4 inch in diameter.
  6. Bake for 1 hour at 200 F and turn your pan around; my oven has "hot spots" and this keeps one side from browning before the other. Bake for another 30 minutes and turn the oven off, leaving them inside another 15 minutes. Depending on the size of your meringues, you may need more or less time in the oven. When they feel light, crisp and airy and come off the paper easily, they are done. They will start to shrivel a bit if overcooked, although taste will still be yum 🙂
  7. Dip the bottoms of your cooled meringues into the melted chocolate and then into nonpareils, or alternatively you can drizzle the chocolate over them. They will rock either way!
  8. If you have leftovers (why would you??), then keep them in an airtight container to prevent "chewiness" from absorbing the humidity.
Recipe Notes

Adapted from Chowhound's Meringue Mushroom recipe.

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