{ chocolate + tangerine meringue swirl bites }

{ chocolate + tangerine swirl meringue bites }

chocolate + tangerine meringue swirl bites
 { more diet food }

No, really, this is more likely to be considered diet food than the Lemon + Candied Blueberry Coffee Cake of last week. I was just joshing with that one. I mean, the lemon will keep scurvy at bay and the blueberries are full of antioxidants…but with the meringues, these are actually legit. Let me break it down for you. You’ve got some egg whites…check. They’re basically just air and don’t even count in regards to any calorie counting, right? I cut back on the sugar. Good for the diabetics and those of us with a holiday muffin top. Then I added a little kick in the pants with some chocolate and a little tangerine zest. Just delish.

Here’s the thing…I actually, really, sincerely promise (I think) that I plan on eating healthy this month. And my Girl Scout oath to you is that I will try my hardest. Ok, this last part means nothing because I actually dropped out of Girl Scout’s. I was totally into the cookie aspect (duh), but when it came to all the sewing and badges…it was really cutting into my Atari game-playing time. And I wonder where my son gets it. I was OBSESSED with the game Adventure. Anyone? Plus, that was right around the time that Video Killed the Radio Star and if I wasn’t playing Adventure, I really wanted my MTV. I mean, Martha Quinn…come on.

But back to the food thing. I am going to cut back on butter, yes. But I need my sweets and my snacks. I can’t go all famine-ish on you. I won’t suggest mushroom broth with three slices of daikon radish for dinner. The horror. Nor will I recommend juicing for three days straight. I’m pretty sure I’d lose my insides. Ugh…I don’t want to live like that. I’ve been researching healthy recipes for weeks as I lay in bed lounging, Home Alone playing for the millionth time, snacking on Blondies and Chex party mix, planning how I would be healthy in the new year. Did I mention the martini on the nightstand?

The December haze of booze and fat and sugar is behind us…-ish. Let’s at least try to commit to a couple of healthy meals a week. I’ll help you out. I also have planned some healthy sweet treats…starting with this one.

A couple of quick meringue-making tips:

  • Don’t attempt making these if the air is humid…you’ll never get the egg whites to do what you want. They’re impetuous and difficult if the circumstances aren’t perfect. Much like myself.
  • Make sure everything that touches the eggs whites is free from ANY and ALL oil. You’ll feel like Sisyphus pushing the rock up the mountain otherwise. Fruitless labor. This means thoroughly clean and dry all bowls and utensils prior to use.
  • Don’t overbeat your whites…they won’t hold their peaks properly and they won’t look as pretty. Just a nice, standard beating will do.
  • If you don’t have any superfine sugar on hand…put your regular granulated sugar through the food processor until it is finely ground. Finely ground indeed.
  • Use a pastry bag or a plastic bag to pipe the meringues out. I just slopped them onto the parchment and they were left wanting. If you want them to look pretty, take the extra second to do this. You’ll be surprised at what a difference it makes.
  • You’ll know when your meringues are done cooking when they lift off of the parchment with ease.
  • Let them cool in the turned-off oven a bit.
  • These will be crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside. Perf.
{ chocolate + tangerine meringue swirl bites }

Makes about 1 dozen

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 cup ultrafine (baker’s) sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (I’ve also seen people use cornstarch or vinegar here in place of the cream of tartar, using the same quantity as the cream of tartar…cream of tartar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoon tangerine zest (you could sub in an orange or other citrus)
  • 1 tablespoon good quality unsweetened cocoa powder (I feel so pretentious adding the ‘good quality’, because it’s assuming you don’t take care to get the best you can afford…I only make this note when I think it truly matters….such as with chocolate)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Clean and dry your mixer bowl and anything that’s going to touch your meringue. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. Mix the eggs until soft peaks form in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (you could use your arms and a hand whisk…in which case you’re both stronger and have more stamina than I). Go on medium-high speed and you should get there in under 5 minutes.
  3. Increase the speed and gradually and gently add the sugar, cream of tartar and vanilla until stiff peaks form…I put the sugar in one tablespoon at a time. Don’t over-whisk the egg whites… you want them to be shiny and hold stiff peaks. If you go too far they’ll be stiff but not smooth….looking a little more like my hair in the morning…going in every direction. Like they stuck their finger in an electrical socket. It’s not pretty.
  4. Mix the cocoa powder and the tangerine zest together and sprinkle over the top of the egg whites. Do not mix in.
  5. I tried to just glob it on parchment and it looked horrific. I want my meringues to look elegant. I later took the extra step and gently loaded the meringue into a new, clean plastic bag and then cut about a ½ inch opening in one of the corners. Don’t press the opening to the parchment when lightly squeezing the meringue out…move in a circular motion until finishing off with a peak in the middle. You’ll get the hang of it. It’s not a competition.
  6. Put in the oven for about 60 minutes…until they easily come off of the parchment.
  7. Turn off the oven and crack the oven door and let them rest a bit in there. They’ve been through a lot, what with the beating and all.
  8. Store airtight for a week-ish…let your conscious be your guide. You’ll be able to tell when you either need to throw them out or finish off your stash that day.

And because I care…here is the nutritional breakdown of each meringue bite:

Calories: 29
Fat: 1.1 grams
Fiber: .15 grams

I think I’m going to have to work on doubling this recipe since I’m going to be able to eat them like popcorn.

I wish you all a happy healthy January. Now that we’ve got our sweet tooth satisfied this week…I’ll start rolling out some healthy dinner meals…that are easy and as make-ahead as possible.

One My Mind:

  • Resolutions…yes, I believe in them. Sign me up. I get super fired up at the start of the year. I set goals in all areas of my life. I look at personal (how I can be a better person), fitness (this needs some attention because it’s been completely ignored in the past year) and work/passion/dreams (because I’d like to roll all three into one cohesive goal). This year I took it a step further and made monthly mini-goals towards achieving my bigger goals. What are your goals? Do you ever do resolutions? Do you stick to them? Any suggestions? I would love to hear. Is this just annoying? Because I can stop.
  • Ummm…healthy eating. Yes, I’m going to infuse a little more health into the blog. Don’t totally panic…it will be a nice mix of both. Regardless, all will be infused with easy, make-ahead style.
  • I don’t know that I have anything else to say. Shocking. I’ll come up with more later. Seacrest out.

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