Simple Meringue Cookies

My apologies lovely readers!

I have been ridiculously busy! January and February in a high school is always a busy time. The first semester is ending, final exams are happening, and teachers need to prepare for the beginning of the second semester, and they usually only have a few days to do it!

I haven’t even been baking that much, and I feel badly that you, and my blog, have been neglected! I decided to set that straight with a simple recipe that doesn’t take long to whip up, and yields deliciously wonderful results!

Paul is a huge fan of meringue cookies, and I had some leftover egg whites sitting in the fridge just waiting for me to use them. I decided meringues was the perfect way to use them up and not waste them.

Now, meringue cookies are usually one of two things: crisp all the way through, or a little soft and gooey in the middle. Paul is a fan of the gooey-in-the-middle ones, and I don’t mind either, so I ended up making some of both sizes, and we got to enjoy both.

I added a little bit of Root Beer Concentrate into my meringue to make them Root Beer flavoured, but you can leave them flavourless, or add any regular extract (and some food colouring) to jazz them up a little.

Meringues are fairly simple to make as well, as long as you have a stand mixer. If you don’t, prepare for an arm workout! I do, and it’s made my life so much easier. Also, these meringues are a great gluten-free cookie if you are on a gluten-free diet. I got the recipe for these meringues here, and the author just left them plain. Also, hers look a little prettier: if you want to make them look super fancy, put a special frosting tip, like a Wilton 1M into your piping bag. If you don’t care how they look (a.k.a. me when I made them!) you can just cut the tip off a piping bag and pipe them that way (which is what I did), or just plop the meringue into little piles on your baking sheet.

One tip for making meringue: you want to make sure your bowl is COMPLETELY grease-free and egg yolk free. If any grease or egg yolk gets into the bowl or the whites, the whites will not whip up properly. One way to avoid yolks is to use a container of just egg whites (which I buy when I have a recipe that calls for a lot of just egg whites). You can also crack the eggs into a bowl, and crack the egg on a flat surface, not the rim of the bowl.

The more you know, right?

Now, on to meringues!

Ingredients

Yield: Approx. 24 cookies

2 egg whites, at room temperature
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
½ c. sugar (superfine is easiest, but it still works with regular granulated sugar)

Preheat oven to 225°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Place the egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer. Whip until foamy. Add in the cream of tartar and salt, and beat until soft peaks form.

With the mixer running, slowly add sugar, one tablespoon at a time, until sugar is dissolved and stiff peaks form.

If you add food colouring and flavouring, add it just as stiff peaks start to form.

Pipe or scoop tablespoons of meringue mixture onto the prepared baking sheets. Make them smaller for crispy meringues throughout, and a little larger for chewy meringues. Again, I made both.

Bake for 45 minutes, then turn the oven off. Do not open the door. Let the meringues sit in the warm oven for 1 hour before removing.

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Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Scones

These scones are the perfect breakfast or brunch treat! They have peanut butter in the dough, as well as in the glaze, so there is a savoury bite that goes perfectly with the sweetness of the chocolate.

It’s been a wild ride over here, as my school gears up for Exam Week and my students are going to be writing Diploma exams, so I’ve been a stress case for a few weeks. Darn it, you know you care when you stress just as much about the exam as your students do!

Anything chocolate peanut butter is a staple in our house, and these were no exception. Paul gobbled them up, and I did too, because come on, it’s chocolate and peanut butter! Match made in heaven.

These scones were also very simple to make, and the original recipe, found here, did not require any changes. This is also probably going to be a short post, because I have a lot to do to prepare for my next semester!

All I can say (and all I need to), is to go make these!

Ingredients

Yield: 8 scones

For the scones:

2 c. flour
½ c. sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ c. butter, cold
1/3 c. peanut butter (I used chunky for the scones)
1 egg
¼ c. sour cream
2 tbsp. milk
2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. chocolate chips

For the glaze:

½ c. icing sugar
2 tbsp peanut butter (I used smooth for the glaze)
3-4 tsp. milk

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat baking mat.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. With a pastry blender, cut in the butter and peanut butter until well-incorporated.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, sour cream, milk, and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients with the chocolate chips. Stir gently until barely combined. Pat the dough together in the bowl, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Form the dough into a circle about 8 inches wide.

Cut into 8 wedges, and place on the prepared baking sheet, about 1 inch apart. Bake in the preheated oven for about 12 minutes, or until golden brown.

Cool on cooling rack while making the glaze.

For the glaze, in a small bowl, whisk together the icing sugar, peanut butter, and milk to make a glaze. Add more milk for a thinner consistency, and less for thicker consistency. Put into a small icing bag, or a small ziplock bag with the corner cut. Drizzle the glaze on top of the warm scones.

Chocolate Chip Muffins

Sometimes, you just want muffins. What’s more, is that sometimes you just want chocolate chips. This recipe was the combination of both of those wants. I woke up this morning, knowing that it’s cold out and snow is on the ground, and I wanted something comforting. What’s more comforting than a chocolate chip muffin?

Also, I’m a sucker for chocolate. It’s a curse, I know. I found this recipe here, and I followed the recipe to a T. Not going to lie, I shouldn’t have. The recipe says that it yields 12 muffins. However, maybe the original author has a magic deep muffin pan with large spaces, because my twelve muffins baked together. A lot. I was a little sad, and if I make them again (which I’m sure I will because although they didn’t look nice, they tasted divine) I’m definitely going to put less batter in each muffin cup. I think you could actually get two dozen muffins instead of just one dozen if you proportion the batter properly. Oh well, live and learn.

To be honest, these pictures are from the second go-round making these muffins. I was so displeased with the look of the first batch that I refused to add a picture from that batch, but be confident that I also make mistakes in my kitchen!

These muffins were still delicious. They were fluffy, soft, and perfectly moist (and very gooey when still warm!). They were also extremely easy to make, and are made with pantry staples (if you are like me and consider chocolate chips a pantry staple). These muffins are able to be whipped up in no time, and satisfy all cravings of a chocolate chip lover, as well as a muffin lover. Enjoy them!

Ingredients

Yield: 2 dozen small muffins or 1 dozen huge muffins

2½ c. flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ c. butter, melted and cooled
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 c. milk or buttermilk
1 tbsp. vanilla
1½ c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners, spray with cooking spray, or brush with cake release. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the butter, sugar, eggs, milk, and vanilla. Whisk until combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and fold together.

Scoop batter into prepared muffin tins (again, use large scoops of batter for large muffins, and smaller scoops of batter for smaller muffins).

Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes. After the first five minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 375°F, and bake for an additional 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the tops of the muffins comes out clean.

 

Ham and Cheese Scones

These are the perfect brunch food! I couldn’t believe how good they were, and Paul gave the big thumbs up as well. Let’s just say, an hour after I made them, only three scones were left! (Granted, I had two because they were so good, but still!)

Make these! The ham and cheese pair perfectly, and I didn’t add anything except a little butter to serve with. These scones are light, fluffy, and perfectly flaky. They actually reminded me of a biscuit, because of how similar they were. The only part of the recipe I changed is that when I went to the store to pick up some ham, I forgot to pick up the green onions found in the original recipe. I’m sure they would have added the perfect touch to these already-amazing scones, however, I didn’t really miss them, and I’m pretty sure Paul didn’t either.

I’m calling it. These scones are a major brunch win!

Ingredients

Yield: 8 scones

2 c. flour
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. kosher or coarse salt
½ c. butter, cold and cut into cubes
¾ c. buttermilk (or milk with a splash of vinegar or lemon juice added)
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 c. diced ham
2 tbsp. chopped fresh chives or green onion (optional)

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add in the butter, and cut in with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, approximately the size of peas.

Stir in the buttermilk, ham, cheese, and chives until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead 3-4 times until the dough comes together cohesively. Don’t over-handle, or the butter will begin to melt.

Using a rolling pin, or your hands, press the dough into a circle about 1 inch thick. Cut into 8 wedges.

Transfer the dough wedges to the prepared baking tray, and bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until lightly browned and firm to the touch.

Serve immediately with butter.

Vanilla Biscotti

Oh my gosh! These vanilla biscotti are amazing! So simple, and such a classic flavour. Paul was extremely happy about these, and so was I. I added a little extra vanilla, just to amp up the flavour, and when Paul took his first bite, his reaction made me a little scared that I put too much vanilla in. Nope! He said it was just the right amount, and I agree.

Biscotti are definitely this year’s Sugar and Spice addiction. You know how it is. These things come and go, and right now, my favourite thing to experiment with is biscotti!

I got the original recipe here, and as I said, I just added extra vanilla. I also changed the second bake time instructions slightly. I didn’t lower the oven heat, and I flipped the cut biscotti after about 12 minutes. Other than that, I did learn a new trick for slicing the biscotti and making it easier, instead of crumbly ends.

When you take the biscotti out of the oven after the first bake, spritz it lightly with water, making sure to get the tops and sides. It softens the outer crust just enough to make a nicer cut. Who knew?! Well, now I do, and you do as well!

Go make these. They are such a lovely, classic flavour that they will go with any warm drink!

Ingredients

Yield: Approx. 20-22 biscotti, depending on cut size

6 tbsp. butter
2/3 c. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
1-2 tsp. vanilla extract (I used 2 tsp.)
1½ tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
2 c. flour

Preheat the oven to 350°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a mixer, or a medium bowl, combine the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, and baking powder until mixture is smooth and creamy. Beat in the eggs. The batter may look slightly curdled, but it isn’t. Add in the flour, and stir until smooth.

Scoop out the dough, and shape it into a rough log about 12 inches long. Flatten slightly, but keep the middle slightly mounded.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until the biscotti is light golden brown all over. Remove from oven, spritz all over with room temperature water, and let sit for five minutes.

Transfer to a cutting board, and use a serrated knife to slice biscotti. Place cut side down on the baking sheet, and return to the oven for 12 minutes, or until bottoms are just starting to turn golden brown.

Remove from the oven, flip the biscotti to the other cut side, and bake for 10-12 minutes until outsides are dry, and they are starting to turn golden brown, then remove from the oven.

Cool on a wire rack, and serve with a warm drink, like tea, coffee, or hot chocolate!