One of the traditional ways to celebrate the Ascension is to have a picnic, and this year in Michigan the weather was just perfect for it! I just love getting to eat outside, so I particularly like this way of celebrating. I think preferably the picnic is supposed to be on a hill to represent being close to heaven, but we're pretty flat here in this region of the mitten state.
|Chocolate, Strawberry, and Vanilla|
Making a meringue is super simple. The vanilla version has a mere five ingredients. And as a bonus, it happens to be dairy, grain, and fat free. One meringue cookie is only about 10 calories, so they're a great way to have a sweet treat without feeling too guilty about it. In addition to vanilla I also made strawberry and chocolate. Since I didn't use any food coloring, the visual difference between the three wasn't too striking after they were baked, but they sure were full of flavor and absolutely delicious! Meringue is a great blank canvas for lots of flavors, so feel free to experiment!
When piped in pretty design, they would also make a great decoration for cakes and pies.
3 large egg whites
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
dash of salt
2/3 cup sugar
For strawberry: freeze dried strawberries
For chocolate: cocoa powder
Combine the egg whites, vanilla, cream of tartar, and salt. Beat on high until foamy.
Gradually add the sugar, about a tablespoon at time, beating until dissolved after each addition. Continue beating until you reach stiff peaks.
Now is the time to add your flavors if you wish. I divided the meringue into thirds. I left one as it was for vanilla. In another third I folded in a handful of crushed freeze dried strawberries. In the last third I folded in about a tablespoon of cocoa powder.
Pipe or dollop the meringue onto a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Bake at 250 degrees for 40 - 45 minutes. Turn off the oven, but leave the meringues in for 1 more hour. Take them out and let them cool. They can be stored in an airtight container. Enjoy!