It wouldn't be Easter without a Peeps spotting and it wouldn't officially be Spring without indulging in at least one pillowy cloud of sweet cotton candy. Thanks to recent inspiration from Sprinkle Bakes an idea was born that resulted in Peeps impostors that you'll actually enjoy eating - Cotton Candy Meringue Chicks.
I was initially concerned that a cotton candy flavored meringue would be overly sweet, but I have to admit that they were absolutely delightful. Substituting super fine pink vanilla cotton candy sugar actually yielded a meringue that was slightly less sweet than traditional meringues and with the added bonus of a hint of vanilla. Experimenting with different flavors of cotton candy sugars would add variety in color and flavor to these little fellas.
Meringues require little prep time, can be piped as intricately as you desire and make for a delicate and impressive addition to any occasion. Baking time will vary depending on the size of your meringues; a typical quarter sized piping will take about 90 minutes and these larger chicks took about 2 hours to fully harden. Give yourself plenty of time to prepare these, allowing them to remain in the oven overnight will help dry them out completely and avoid a sticky outside. Rainy days are great for staying indoors and baking, but avoid making meringues when the humidity is high otherwise you'll likely have a sticky mess on your hands.
Cotton Candy Meringue Chicks
yields approximately 36 chicks
2 egg whites, room temperature
pinch of cream of tartar
1/2 cup cotton candy sugar
- Preheat oven to 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites and cream of tarter on medium speed until white and glossy.
- Reduce speed and slowly add sugar in continuous stream, beating until fully combined.
- Increase speed to medium high and beat until stiff peaks form, about 7 minutes.
- Transfer meringue to piping bag fitted with desired tip.
- Pipe onto baking sheet lined with silicone mat or parchment paper and bake for 2 hours at 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Rotate pan halfway through baking.
- Leaving chicks in closed oven, turn heat off and allow meringues to dry for up to 24 hours.
- Melt small amount of chocolate in microwave safe bowl. Use toothpicks to dot on eyes.
- Allow chocolate to set. Store chicks in an airtight container.
I piped the chicks using a large round tip and piped a large flat oval that I brought to a point followed by a round 'head' brought to a point for the beak. A large star tip would also make gorgeous buttons, as seen on Sprinkle Bakes. Get creative and more importantly, have a lovely Easter weekend!