When I was little, I loved walking to the bakers for a treat and what I wanted more than anything else was the meringue fancy, usually a caterpillar, which was comprised of clumsy, chewy, delicious mounds of meringue. I've wanted to try and recreate them for a while now and this week we finally gave it a go.
Meringue gets a bad wrap as being difficult to make. It's a great and simple bake to do with Smalls. The only downside is that it needs one an hour in the oven to bake, so it's a good one to do when you know you have an activity or outing to do immediately afterwards and then return to the cooled meringues to decorate and devour.
These were even better than the ones of my childhood. Marshmallowy in the middle and crisp on the outside with just the right amount of chocolate to cut through the sugar. They would be perfect for a 'Very Hungry Caterpillar' themed party or just for a delicious weekend treat.
225g caster sugar
4 egg whites
1 tsp cornflour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp white wine or cider vinegar
A few drops of green food colouring (use paste or gel colours)
50g chocolate chips (melted for decorating)
A few chocolate chips kept back for eyes
Two baking trays lined with greaseproof paper
Whisk the egg whites in a stand mixer or with a hand whisk on high until stiff and fluffy. You should be able to tip the bowl upside down without anything falling out. This is a fun game your little one will love.
Add the sugar and whisk until smooth and glossy.
Add the vinegar followed by the rest of the ingredients. Whisk until combined and a smooth green colour.
Use an ice-cream scoop to dollop three balls of meringue next to each other on your baking tray. These form your caterpillar shape. Make sure they're touching, so they join together in the oven. Repeat until you have to more meringue. Make sure they are spaced out a little on the trays.
Bake in the oven at 100° for an hour. This will give you meringue that is marshmallowy in the middle. If you prefer a crisp meringue bake for 15-30 minutes longer. They are done when they come away from the greaseproof easily and sound hollow when gently tapped on the bottom. Turn the oven off and leave the meringues cooling for about twenty minutes. Then transfer them to a wire rack or chopping board to cool completely.
When cool, use your melted chocolate to drizzle stripes over the caterpillars. You can do this by loading a spoon with chocolate and holding it high above the meringues, letting the chocolate drop and drizzle freely. Your little one can just move the spoon back and forth to create the patterns. Stick on chocolate chips for eyes with a little melted chocolate and add a smile if you can.
Happy baking. x