Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Meringue Class

I took a class on making meringue. It was a blast! I made these mini Baked Alaskas. Of course mine are the messy ones, and the pretty one in the back was made by our instructor. My favorite part: toasting the meringue with the torch at the very end. Our instructor shared with me a very important piece of advice: go to Home Depot to buy a welders torch w/ propane because they are a fraction of the price of the torches sold in kitchen specialty stores. Uh-oh... I shared the secret... the Williams-Sonoma police are going to arrest me!

Here are lovely examples of what my classmates made:

(Hazelnut Dacquoise with Lemon Cream and Berries)

Cookies from The Gourmet Cookbook by Ruth Reichl

Starting from the top, clockwise: Mexican Chocolate (not from Gourmet-- that's actually a recipe I sort of invented, you can find it here), Tiny Chocolate Chip Cookies, Brown Sugar-Ginger Crisps, and lastly Anise-Scented Fig and Date Swirls.

The Tiny Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe was (not surprisingly) very easy to make. These little babies are suuuuuper tasty. Tastier than regular chocolate chip cookies... I think it has something to do with the extra saltiness. I love, love, LOVE this recipe. I dream about a cereal bowl full of these cookies and a pint of 2% milk. Does "Cookie Crisp" ring a bell? Well this is that stuff... but, you know, ten billion times better!

The Brown Sugar-Ginger Crisps were also easy to make. I can think of several different flavors of sorbet and ice cream that I would like to see these cookies on top of: lemon, lime, honey, cinnamon, chocolate, pear, scallion... ;) Here is the recipe.

The Anise-Scented Fig and Date Swirls were a bit more of a nuisance, shall we say. Any rolled cookie that needs to be sliced at 1/3 of an inch thick is a pain in the rear, I don't care how chilled your dough is. I recommend using dental floss, as you would with cinnamon rolls. Do this as quickly as your can. I'm sure there is a better way of doing it but I'm an amateur, and this way worked really well for me. Any suggestions for technique are greatly appreciated! Also, I don't recommend wrapping the dough in wax paper to roll. I actually had better luck with plastic wrap, rolling on a granite counter top. The wax paper tore as I rolled the dough and I was not a happy camper. But these cookies look cool and they taste great too, kind of like a sophisticated Fig Newton.