Have you ever been personally judged by your ice cream choice? You probably have. You know how it is. Vanilla is safe, innocent, naive, uncomplicated and unimaginative. Chocolate is daring, adventurous, mysterious, spontaneous and creative. You might have had someone look at you funny when you order a vanilla milkshake or give you a wink when you get a chocolate sundae.
Just as the variety of ice cream flavours has broadened since, oh I don’t know, the 1940’s, we are realizing that there aren’t a finite number of personalities. People aren’t either a vanilla or a chocolate. They can be rocky road, neopolitan, chocolate chip cookie dough, raspberry sorbet, or even chunky monkey if they please. My favourite ice cream is Cherry Garcia. Does that mean I’m a combination of innocent and adventurous? I’m both daring and safe? Unimaginative and creative? What does the cherry part mean then? Sounds fun to me, whatever it is.
The lesson here is that you can’t judge a person by their ice cream choices. There are millions of ice cream flavours and varieties just like there are millions of different personalities and preferences. Just because my favourite is Cherry Garcia doesn’t mean that that’s what I eat day and night, although I kind of wish I did. I also like lemon gelato, mint chocolate, rainbow sherbet, triple chocolate and countless others. Flavours change. Moods change. People change.
Why am I talking so much about ice cream, you ask? Because these delicious vanilla and chocolate Meringue Candies remind me of that freeze dried ice cream like the stuff astronauts chow down on in space. Have you ever had that? They sell it mostly in science center or museum gift stores so it’s hard to come by. It tastes exactly like real ice cream except without the wetness or the cold. Sounds weird but, trust me, it’s super good. It melts in your mouth literally like these things do and tastes much the same. If, like most of us, you are intrigued by this space ice cream idea and you lack the means to dehydrate your own ice cream, but you have three eggs and a bit of sugar, this is the treat for you.
Because in space no one can hear you (ice) scream.
Source: Adapted from Joy the Baker’s Spring Easter Meringues.
3 egg whites
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cocoa powder
drops of red food colouring are optional
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees and position two racks towards the middle. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and tape them down with a bit of masking tape. Prepare two pastry bags with the tips of your choice and set them aside.
Combine the eggs whites and sugar in a double boiler or a heat proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Gently whisk them until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch for about 2 – 3 minutes. Remove them from the heat and, using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat it on high speed until stiff peaks form.
Divide the meringue between two bowls and add the vanilla and food colouring to one and cocoa powder to the other. Fold each gently until they are smoothly combined. Fill each of your pastry bags with separate flavours and pipe the candy shapes onto the prepared baking sheets.
Bake them for about 2 hours or until the meringues are crisp but not browned. Turn the oven off and allow them to cool inside then transfer them to an airtight container for storage. Enjoy!