We split the batches of meringue to tint them separately with brown sugar and white sugar, then we tinted some of the latter pink, too. For uniform circles, trace a 2-inch bowl or a round cookie cutter on the back side of the parchment. Be sure to have everything ready before you start mixing the meringues.
- Total Time:
- Yield: Makes about 2 dozen
Source: Martha Stewart Living, December/January 2015
- 6 large egg whites, room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
- 1 drop pink soft gel-paste food coloring, such as AmeriColor (available at globalsugarart.com)
- 3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
Preheat oven to 300 degrees with racks in upper and lower thirds. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment.
Place 3 egg whites and granulated sugar in a mixer bowl set over a pot of simmering water and heat, whisking occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and mixture is hot, about 3 minutes.
Transfer bowl to mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; beat on high speed until stiff but not dry peaks form and bottom of bowl is cool to the touch, 3 to 5 minutes. Fold in 1 teaspoon cornstarch and vinegar, then gel paste. Transfer meringue to a large pastry bag (with no tip).
Add remaining 3 egg whites and brown sugar to clean mixer bowl set over pot of simmering water. Heat, whisking occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and mixture is hot, about 3 minutes.
Transfer bowl to mixer and beat on high speed until stiff but not dry peaks form and bottom of bowl is cool to the touch, 3 to 5 minutes. Fold in remaining 1 teaspoon cornstarch and transfer to another large pastry bag (with no tip).
Fit a third pastry bag with a large open-star tip (such as Ateco #829). Lay bag on its side; pipe white-sugar meringue to fill one side, then brown-sugar meringue to fill other side. Pipe small dots of combined meringue in corners of prepared baking sheets to secure parchment. Holding pastry bag at a 90-degree angle about 1/2 inch above parchment, pipe base layer of each tree, about 2 inches in diameter, in a swirling fashion (for how-to, see marthastewart.com/meringue-trees). Pipe a smaller layer on top, followed by an even smaller top layer.
Transfer sheets to oven and reduce heat to 200 degrees. Bake until meringues feel firm but still pliable and are not taking on any color, about 2 hours. Let cool completely on baking sheets on wire racks. Trees can be stored in a single layer (without touching) in an airtight container up to 1 week.