Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A Fine Meringue Mess

Here is my 1969 Bake Off Cake Cookbook, complete with a letter from Ann Pillsbury herself inside.
"We feel few foods can achieve the versatility of cake - snack, family supper, lunch box, picnic, company, party." Now I feel better about those days where cake takes the place of my supper, or dinner as we call it in the Midwest. She continues "Bake a bake tonight for a treat that's good for you and your family too - it's made from milk, eggs, fruits and enriched ingredients that are good for you."
Excellent. I will worry about my cholesterol no more.

Today my son and I made Layered Puff Cakes:

4 eggs (separate and reserve whites)
1 cup Pillsbury's All-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup shortening
1/3 cup milk
Chocolate chips

Reserved egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup sugar

Oven 325 degrees
Makes 18 cupcakes

Separate eggs. Prepare Meringue topping: Combine egg whites, salt, cream of tartar and vanilla; beat until foamy. (OK, here's where I made a mistake and dumped in everything including the sugar.) Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. (Surprisingly, this still worked.)

In another bowl combine egg yolks, and remaining ingredients except chocolate chips. Bend until moistened; beat 2 minutes at medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Spoon 1 tablespoon batter into paper-lined muffin cups. Top each with a few pieces of chocolate chips (or several, if a preschooler is helping you). Spoon meringue topping over batter, filling cups to within 1/4 inch of top. (I may have omitted this.) Bake for 25 - 30 minutes until meringue is lightly browned.
Store loosely covered (missed that too).

OK - These grew to about 2x the size of a muffin cup. My food tasters are divided about these. My mother and my son like them, my husband and I do not. It is like solid sugar.
Faithful readers will be having deja vu from a few weeks ago when Esther Brody's cookbook failed me with another meringue recipe. I was determined to get it right and at least these were not raw.

I actually had a cooking mishap at work yesterday too. After hosting a YALSA Teen Read Week event for 150 junior high kids in the morning, I had Teen Advisory Board in the evening. They wanted to make Haunted cookie houses. I was thrilled to find pre-assembled houses ready to decorate. I just missed the part on the box about needing a mixer for the frosting. Inside each kit was two pouches of disgusting powder waiting to be whipped into orange and black frosting. Some library staff managed to whisk the stuff up and get it into the piping pouches. I just can't believe how many teens ate some of this. Their houses were very every cute, too. They were all quiet, working hard on their houses. Fifteen teens, mostly high school boys. Priceless.

Readers will notice that James Owen caught my review of his book on here. I was thrilled, until I realized I misspelled his name on my original post. That has been fixed. My father, who has read all fantasy books of quality in creation, is now enjoying Here, There be Dragons. He picked up on a few more references I missed, too.

I finished Evanovich's Motor Mouth yesterday in between teen events. While I enjoy most of her books, it seems every mystery I've picked up lately has quirky characters moving corpses around. This turns my stomach almost as much as black frosting powder.

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