Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Construction For Change Almond Meringue Cookies

Baking for an audience is one of my favorite things; I enjoy the opportunity to create something that others will (hopefully) take pleasure in tasting. And I also feel it's important to support causes that resonate with me personally, so when a friend asked me to help her with a dessert menu for her charity event, I was eager to offer my talent. She works for a wonderful Seattle-based non-profit organization called Construction For Change, and they hosted a large-scale banquet fund raiser last week. The mission of Construction For Change is this: “We partner with organizations worldwide to provide needed infrastructure for economic, medical, and educational growth in developing communities; giving them the tools to eradicate poverty and improve quality of life for those in need.” And from what my friend told me, the event was a massive success, with a substantial amount of money raised for their initiative in Zambia.

I was very happy to help support her efforts in whatever way I could, and even if a dessert at their banquet may be a humble offering, I hope that the Almond Meringues I baked made a small difference, at least, in someone's evening.

Almond Meringue Cookies

From The Joy of Baking

3 large egg whites
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
¾ cup superfine sugar
¼ tsp. pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees and place the rack in the center of your oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Beat the egg whites on low-medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat the whites until they hold soft peaks. Add the sugar, a little at a time, and continue to beat until the meringue holds very stiff peaks. Beat in the vanilla extract. The meringue is done when it holds stiff peaks and when you rub a little between your thumb and index finger it does not feel gritty.
3. Before placing the cookies on the cookie sheet, place a little of the meringue on the underside of each corner of the parchment paper. This will prevent the paper from sliding. Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch tip. Pipe 2 1/2 inch rounds of meringue in rows on the prepared baking sheet. Alternatively, spoon mounds of meringue, using two spoons, onto the prepared sheets. Sprinkle with a few shaved almonds.
4. Bake the meringues for approximately 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours, rotating the baking sheet from front to back (about half way through) to ensure even baking. The meringues are done when they are pale in color and fairly crisp. Turn off the oven, open the door a crack, and leave the meringues in the oven to finish drying overnight.


Alex said...

They made a difference in mine! Thank you so much for your contribution!!

Cpolchowski said...

I'm so glad! It was a pleasure to help.