Peppermint Meringues

Well, I was eliminated after Round 8 and my adventures with Project Food Blog are over. I actually took the news very well and may have even let out an audible sigh of relief. I am extremely proud of how far I made it in the competition and it was a very good experience. However, it was also stressful. Baking and blogging when I have judges and voters reading is totally different—every recipe, photo, and word was agonized over. So, part of me was very happy to be done and, in a way, get my life back.

A few days later, disappointment has managed to creep in. I am super excited that I made it to the top 24 out of 600 blogs, that is a huge accomplishment and a big self esteem boost. But I can’t help but feel bad that my blog wasn’t quite good enough to make it to the top 12. And I’m even more disheartened by the fact that I was eliminated after the baking round, of all rounds.

Then I remind myself that Round 8 was full of 24 fantastic bloggers. All entries were excellent, and unfortunately we can’t all advance. My fellow eliminees all submitted excellent posts and I’m taking comfort in that fact. Project Food Blog was a lot of fun and a huge learning experience. I also made a lot of great new friends and discovered blogs that I now read regularly.

Will I compete again next year if they hold another competition? Probably. But for now I’m content to sit back and watch the rest of the competition as a spectator, and content to also get back to regular life and regular blogging. Hopefully you’ll see more posts here again too.

Whipping Meringue

Painted piping bag

I may not have had to worry about Project Food Blog this weekend, but I did have a big catering event on Saturday that had me in the kitchen almost round the clock (did you know I do catering?). I woke up Sunday with the plan to relax and recoup, and felt the urge to bake something simple, something just for me.

With all that’s been going on I haven’t really had the chance to feel the Holiday spirit and I was starting to feel like a scrooge. So I searched my long to-do list for something easy and seasonal. I saw the huge tub of leftover egg whites in the fridge, re-stumbled across this recipe, and formed a plan.

These have got to be the easiest treat you can make this Holiday season. They require just 4 ingredients and are a cinch to whip up. Plus, they’re fat free! They’re light, full of peppermint sweetness, and very pop-able. And their cute little presentation make them ideal for gifts and parties.

These Peppermint Meringues aren’t anything spectacular and they won’t win me any awards, but they helped get me back on track. They reminded me of what it is that I’m doing here with this blog— baking stuff, discovering great recipes, and telling you about it.

A few last things: Voting is now open for Project Food Blog Challenge 9. All the entries are excellent, so be sure to check them out. Also be sure to check out these blogs, the other 11 fantastic bloggers who were eliminated along with me.

The Cuisinerd
Eat, Live, Run
Eat Live Travel Write
The Front Burner
Good Food, Good Wine, and a Bad Girl
I am a Feeder
Korean American Mommy
La Grand Fromage
Spicy Green Mango 
You Fed a Baby Chili?
Z Tasty Life

And finally, here’s a look back at all of my Project Food Blog challenge entries. Looking at this list, I am very proud of my journey, and happy with how long the journey lasted.

Challenge 1: Ready, Set, Blog!
Challenge 2: Turkish Delight
Challenge 3: How to Host a Dinner Party + a Recipe
Challenge 4: How to Make Italian Meringue Buttercream
Challenge 5: Mini Cheese Course Pizzas
Challenge 6: Anniversary Picnic + a Recipe
Challenge 7: Annalise Makes Chocolate Cake
Challenge 8: Cinnamon Eclairs with Pumpkin Cream

Okay, now go bake some meringues!

Peppermint Meringues
From Joy the Baker
Makes 75 meringues

3 large egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
red gel-paste food coloring

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees and line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.

Put the egg whites and sugar in the metal bowl of a stand mixer. Place over a pot of simmering water and stir until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch, about 3 minutes. Return the bowl to the stand mixer and beat on high until the meringue reaches stiff peaks, about 5 minutes. Add the peppermint extract.

Meanwhile, use a small paint brush to paint the inside of a pastry bag fit with a small star tip with 3 stripes of the red food coloring. When the meringue is ready, fill the pastry bag and pipe into quarter sized stars on the prepared sheet pan (Note, the first little bit of meringue to come out of the pastry bag will not have the red stripes because it was inside the tip and not the bag. Pipe it out into a bowl until you see the stripes, then begin piping the stars).

Bake for 1 hour 40 minutes until meringue is crisp but not browned. Let cool on the sheets on wire racks. Store in an airtight container.