I had one of those nights where I felt inspired. Not by a recipe, or an ingredient but just an idea: Create meringues that look like Robin Eggs. You know, those pretty teal blue eggs with brown speckles on them? Unfortunately, by the time I thought of it, it was much too late to start a baking project and I didn’t think I had all the ingredients. But I did it anyway…
If you’ve never had meringues before, they are a fairly simple treat. Mostly sugar, egg white and a lot of air. They melt on your tongue like cotton candy and they are one of the daintiest desserts you can make.
Usually they are made in the shape of a rose, a drop or star, but I’ve also come across these realistic-looking meringue mushrooms several times. These gave me hope that you could make just about anything with meringue, but first I set out on a trek around the interwebs to find any previous attempts at a Robin Egg version. To my surprise, I learned a lot about Robin Eggs and a lot about meringues, but nada on combining the two!
So here it is folks, my late night, super fluffy original Robin Egg Meringue treats!!
Robin Egg Meringues
(makes 30-40 depending on size)
- ½ c. egg whites (4 large eggs)
- ¼ tsp. cream of tartar
- ¼ tsp. salt (very important, these are too sweet otherwise)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract (I used coffee extract and they were divine!)
- 4 big drops of blue food coloring
- 1 c. granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp. vodka (use this to make a cocoa “paint” – alcohol evaporates and dries faster than water)
Get your oven preheated to 225F. Separate out your egg whites and toss them into your stand mixer with the whisk attachment (you can do it with a hand mixer too, but its a labor of love). When the whites look foamy, sprinkle in the cream of tartar, salt, extract and any coloring you want. (I found that blue + the brown extract gave a perfect teal color!)
With the mixer on high, slowly sprinkle in the sugar, taking care not to dump it all in (this is so the sugar can dissolve in the egg properly and you don’t end up with grains in the final product).
Whip everything until super stiff, shiny peaks form. It should look like a sticky blue cloud at this point.
Robin Egg Tutorial
Put a large round tip into a piping bag (I used Ateco 802 from my favorite tip set).
Get a baking sheet set up with a Silpat or some parchment paper.
For the most realistic effect, you want to make these about the size of an actual egg. Initially I printed a little template and put it under the baking mat so I could see the shape I wanted.
Then I ignored all that and found best way to pipe them is to make the shape of a “6″.This way you get a thinner top and a more round bottom on your egg.
Using a small food-safe paintbrush (toothpick or small spoon will work too), gently flatten out the peak at the end of the 6 and use it to fill in the gap so that it looks like an egg!
These will puff very slightly when baking and even out tiny humps and bumps, but you want to get them as smooth as you can for a realistic effect.
Put them in the oven at 225 for about an hour. They are done when they feel dry and hard to the touch.
Here comes the fun part. Mix together the cocoa powder and vodka forming a thick paste. We are really making chocolate paint here!
Splatter the brown “paint” all over the eggs (you are looking for small and large dots here).
I kept a couple and sent the rest of these off to work with Jason. I’ve decided what I really need are more friends/occasions to bake for here in Atlanta!
Here they are in their final habitat: