How NOT To Make Meringues (AKA That Time I Poisoned Myself)


It started out innocuously enough. My mom emailed me, asking if I wanted to bring some dessert element to our Passover Seder. She suggested I pick up a can of Passover (NOT French) macaroons, but since nobody actually LIKES those, I decided to bring meringues. And then I decided to MAKE meringues.

I blame it on my brand new electric mixer. I wanted to try it out.

So I consulted the googles and found this recipe for coffee-flavored meringues.

None of these ingredients are actually poisonous.

I liked the recipe because it said EXACTLY what mixer settings to use, and for how long. And the making of the batter was REALLY fun. It’s pretty awesome, how a few tiny egg whites swell up into a whole bunch of batter. (This recipe called for 4 egg whites, which out of the 3 times I’ve now made meringues is the most.)


And then it makes all these pretty patterns and peaks as it really meringues up.


And then I folded in the instant coffee flakes, because my family likes coffee with/for dessert (I used decaf).

Everything was fine up until the baking portion. I will now list what I did wrong.

-I used tin foil instead of parchment, because I’d seen other recipes that called for foil, dull side up. Obviously, foil conducts heat MUCH more than parchment would. Growing up I always learned that parchment was made from lamb skin — the TORAH was written on parchment — so whenever I read about baking on parchment I’m just like, WHAT? Where the F am I supposed to get parchment? ANCIENT ISRAEL? (Turns out they sell it in rolls at the store, next to the wax paper. It’s basically… waxy-ish paper.)

-I thought I had two cookie sheets but I only had one, so I used a glass Pyrex dish for the overflow. Probably also stupid.

-I cooked the meringues at 250 degrees F, which was definitely too hot under the circumstances (even with parchment, my new recipe calls for 200 degrees– my oven isn’t marked low enough for that, but luckily I have an oven thermometer– GOOD INVESTMENT.) (Thanks for the Sur La Table gift certificate, Sam’s parents!)

Another thing I did wrong that didn’t actually affect the outcome was that I totally screwed up the piping-with-a-Ziploc-bag, because I didn’t CLOSE the top of the Ziploc bag. So it came out both ends. Blurp.

Abandoned piping bag. Gluey.

So I just scooped the rest of them out with a tablespoon.

In retrospect these look totally wrong. And like poops.

During the cooking process I thought the meringues looked a little strange (like dinosaur eggs?), but what could I do?

Don't hatch!

So they cooked until really late at night, and in the morning I ate half of one, and it was really… crusty.


I remembered meringues being “melt in your mouth,” and these were not. After a bit I started feeling really nauseated and got a terrible headache, and I thought maybe I was just too sensitive to the decaf coffee in the meringues.

It was like, a bad sickness. Sweats. Hangover-level gross feelings. (I tried to barf and it ALMOST worked.)

Then I had a poorly timed text conversation with my mom about it.

Mom always knows what to say.

Luckily I rallied enough to GO to the Seder. Crazy enough, I brought the meringues, but just to show that I made them before I trashed them. My mom took one bite to be nice, then ran to the trashcan to spit it out.

I couldn't tell they were burned.

Diagnosis: Super, super burnt. So I think I basically got sick from eating, like, the burned-est coffee in the world.

Next up: I fix my mistakes and avenge myself.


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