Last year when my son was in preschool he made a picture for Mother’s Day. The teachers had prompted him by asking him to fill in the blanks on the statement, “My Mommy likes to…” His response was “…read magazines.” I was a little embarassed for myself because I imagined the preschool teachers concluding that all I do is read magazines all day. Honestly, I do enjoy reading magazines but the answers that I would have chosen for myself would be bake, read books, blog, or draw. The fact that he chose to highlight my enjoyment of reading magazines caused me to evaluate how I really spend my time. Magazines are a guilty pleasure and I have moments when I overdose on stacks of People that my sister-in-law shares with me. I go through them as fast as I can to move them along to my friend at work.

My favorite magazine is Everyday Food but I consider it to be more of a mini-cookbook since I save all the issues and refer back to them fairly often. I’ve recently subscribed to both Martha Stewart Living and Whole Living because there was a fantastic offer for a years worth of each for only $10. I figured that even if I didn’t like them that it’s not too big of a loss. Two issues of each magazine arrived on the same day and I devoured them. My daughter was extremely interested in the May issue which has a photo of orange and yellow meringues on the cover and she asked me to make them for her birthday.

Meringue Swirls

(adapted from Martha Stewart Living May 2012 issue)

  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • large pinch of salt
  • large pinch of cream of tartar
  • gel-paste food color, in desired color

Preheat oven to 200°F. In a heat-proof bowl (I use a stainless steel one) stir together the egg whites and sugar. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water, and stir for about 3 minutes or until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is warm. Add the salt and the cream of tartar.

Remove the bowl from the heat. Using a handheld mixer, beat the egg while mixture until stiff peaks form and it appears glossy. The meringue will be mostly cooled at this point. Beat in the vanilla bean seeds. Prepare a pastry bag by painting 3 stripes of gel-paste color along the inside of the bag and then adding the meringue. Pipe  into 1-3/4-inch swirls about 2 inches apart on lined baking sheets. As you finish piping each shape pull up to create a peak.

Bake about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Ideally, the meringues will be crisp but still soft inside.  Cool completely on the baking sheets before removing.

You know that you love someone when you bake something that you completely hate just because they asked you to. I hate meringues. There.. I’ve said it. It’s the texture that gets me. My kids love them and we sometimes buy them from Trader Joe’s. They think it’s hilarious to stand next to me and crunch on a meringue because I’ll cringe and tell them to get away from me. That sound is akin to fingernails on a chalkboard. I’m getting goosebumps now as I write this.  They are pretty and fun to make though. Just don’t eat them anywhere near me.