Fruity Meringue Bites

Meringue

Sometimes, the extent of making a sweet treat only goes as far as slapping on some peanut butter& jelly on bread and calling it a day. But then, there are times when you strive for excellence. When you want to make things that only the finest Parisian patisseries have, all while pirouetting around the kitchen and screaming out French phrases. Ah, c’est magnifique! I’m speaking from personal experience here, because that’s exactly the kind of mood I was in when concocting these Fruity Meringue Bites.

Their crisp outer layer envelopes a sweet, yet slightly sour center where the flavour of fruit and jam fuse together into a perfect combination. Ideal for an afternoon with coffee or a post-dinner snack for guests, these Bites are easy to make and sure to impress. Just go easy on the jam because it’s sweet, so your lips may stick together –and that’s no good unless you’re keeping secrets.

Ingredients:

1/3 cup sugar

2 egg whites

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 box strawberries

4 tbsp apricot jam

Prep

To make your own:

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.

Separate the eggs and place the whites into a large bowl. Beat with a whisk until they form peaks that stand on their own. Then, add your sugar and keep beating until the mixture regains some of its structure. Transfer the mixture into a ziplock bag and cut the corner, squeezing it out onto a greased baking sheet to make round medallions –half flat, and half with spiraling tops. Place them into the preheated oven for 60-75 minutes. But this time can vary so make sure to keep an eye on them. You want them to dry out.

After they’re out of the oven, the meringues are ready for their filling. Spread a small teaspoon of jam on each bottom half, then add a strawberry slice, and top it off with the spiraling meringue lid. Just be careful to do all this right before you eat it, or serve them. Otherwise, you risk turning them from crunchy, to soggy. Now bite in!

Style is served!

Care for some Orange-Almond Cranberry Clusters?

Orange-almond cran clusters

I’m not going to lie, these cookies turned out to be pretty good! No no, they’re actually GREAT and all because I couldn’t find the bag of golden raisins in the cupboard. That’s right, I was going to make raisin cookies. You read it correctly –r-a-i-s-i-n-s. The tiny little things that try to pass for chocolate chips but when you take a bite, it’s more often than not a bite of disappointment.  We all know how the saying goes: “raisin cookies are the reason I have trust issues”.

So anyway, it was time to improvise: what did I happen to have at home? Dried cranberries? Check. Almond slivers? Check. Oranges, sugar, vanilla essence? Check, check, and check! I mixed these together and popped spoonfuls into the oven, only to have the house fill with the scent of citrusy goodness –ah, the smell of success!

These clusters flew off the plate, and were equally popular with friends at school. After bringing some to lecture, this is the text message from one of the taste testers(and I quote):

“OMG THESE COOKIES THOUGHHH. So delicious!!! :’(“

But enough with the bragging! Here’s how to make your very own batch:

2 cups of flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1 cup of sugar

170 grams of unsalted, softened butter

1 large egg

1/4 cup of milk

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

3/4 cup of dried cranberries

1 cup of toasted(optional) almond slivers

Grated peel of 1 orange

Almonds

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit
  2. OPTIONAL: Spread the almonds evenly on a pan on the stovetop over medium heat, and let them toast until they turn a light golden brown(5-6 minutes), while mixing frequently with a spatula. Toasting them adds an extra bit of flavour rather than when they’re raw.
  3. In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients: the flour, with the baking powder, and salt. I usually sift the flower into the bowl to get rid of any lumps
  4. Then add the sugar and stir, followed by the softened butter, egg, and milk. Mix all of these together (either by hand with a spoon, or the a food processor)  until the dough is smooth
  5. Add the cranberries and almonds into the mix until fully incorporated, along with the grated peel of the orange
  6. Place spoonfuls into a greased or parchment covered baking pan about  2 inches apart and flatten them
  7. Bake  for 10-12 minutes (or longer, or less -baking time depends on your oven so just keep an eye on them)

Try these cranberry-almond orange clusters, you won’t be disappointed.

Style is served!