I'd Like to Thank My Peeps . . .

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 50 comments
Meringue chick on a puff-pastry and coconut nest

Eating Your Words 2010 is drawing to a close! As I and my co-host Jennifer of Savor the Thyme announced earlier, we will be posting a round-up of all the entries within one week of the challenge deadline, followed by an announcement of the winner chosen by Andrew Zimmern to receive our fabulous prize of an Aunt Else's Aebleskiver pan. Quite frankly, I don't envy our guest judge's task as all of the entries so far have exceeded our expectations for creativity and playful spirit. This is going to be tough choice!

In the meantime, I wanted to offer an early 'thanks!' to Chef Zimmern and Chad Gillard of Aunt Else for their generosity toward making Eating Your Words a true can't-miss event. Most of all, many thanks to our entrants (including those of you who may still be working on your words) for your enthusiastic participation and support of our contest. It is so incredibly gratifying to find such happy camaraderie in the blogosphere, especially since some might consider connections through such a medium 'impersonal', simply because our exchanges do not occur face to face. Yet, what could be more personal than sharing with others a glimpse of the laugh-out-loud, fun-loving and creative individuals we all are?

So, to all of you who have entered, will enter or are eagerly anticipating the unveiling of the entries, thank you so very much for joining us in Eating Your Words!

Gratitude is Boundless

The 'thank yous' continue as I finally offer proper and long-overdue acknowledgment of several awards that fellow bloggers have been so kind to share with me and others in the past few months:

It has taken well into 2010 but I am sincerely thankful to Mariana at History of Greek Food for sharing her Blogger Appreciation '09 recognition. An author, sociologist and archaeologist, Mariana is a treasure trove of historical facts and cultural insights into Greek food traditions, and is a person whom I greatly admire. Hers was one of the very first blogs I started following when I began my own site and it continues to be a stellar model of how to share the richness of global culinary heritage.

This Happy 101 comes from Pearlyn of A Full-Timed Housefly - a perfect description of someone who knows that happiness starts with the simple joys of a delicious meal. Reading her blog is like sitting down at her family's dinner table in Singapore (which I would love to do someday). So, for some of the best examples of Asian home-cooking to be found on the web, please stop by at Pearlyn's!

I'm not worthy! But Liren of Kitchen Worthy still decided to share her Sunshine Award with me, for which I am pink with gratitude. With her scrumptious recipes and stunning photography, it's hard to believe that her blog is only three months old! From sweet to savory, American classics to global favorites, Liren offers something for every taste, so stop by to find something delicious for yourself.

Cheep Thrills

Given the marvelous food to be found in these blogs and that we'll soon see profound words writ deliciously in food, I thought it best to offer something light and airy. I drew inspiration from a piece that I wrote for Simple, Good and Tastya Minneapolis-based local and sustainable foods website founded by Lee Zukor, who gave me the amazing opportunity to become a part of SGandT as a contributing writer. Thank you, Lee, Shari and everyone at SGandT - I am so proud to be associated with such an outstanding team and organization!

So far, I've written four pieces for the website, including the most recent story about a small, local specialty-foods company that makes artisanal versions of the neon-colored marshmallow Peeps so ubiquitous during Easter. Unfortunately, a tight deadline and the shop's hours prevented me from picking up some of these confections for, er, research purposes, before the story was due and I ended up nursing a massive hankering for sugary chicks. What to do? Why, make my own . . . kind of.

Meringue Chicks

The peeps on everyone's lips are, of course, made of marshmallow, but I decided to go with another M-word: meringue. Seeing as how I've never made meringues before, I turned to online sources for guidance and found what I needed from Matt at Wrightfood and the Helpwithcooking.com website. I wanted to give my peeps the same soft yellow shade of real chicks but was a bit too timid with the food coloring, resulting in a more ecru hue. Still, I was quite pleased with the results, although my chicks look a bit like pointy-beaked ducklings. But hey, at least they're still in the avian class!

Just hatched

Makes approximately 3 dozen

Large round piping tip (size 1A/Wilton - I used Ateco/809)
Decorating bag

Whites from 2 eggs
pinch of cream of tartar
4 oz caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Food coloring (optional)

To make: 

Separate egg whites and yolk, being careful not to get any yolk in the former. Set whites aside to bring to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 300°F

In a stainless steel mixing bowl, add a pinch of cream of tartar to the egg whites and beat until soft peaks form. Continue to whip the egg whites, adding the sugar one teaspoon at a time until all the sugar is used and stiff peaks form. Carefully fold in extract and food coloring, gently incorporating them into the meringue. Fill decorating bag with meringue and pipe out desired shape onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. (For a nice tutorial on piping out Peep-like shapes, check out this blog post for Saffron Meringue Chicks).

The un-ugly chick of the flock

Turn down preheated oven to 275°F and place tray of meringues inside. Bake for 1 hour, then turn off oven and leave meringues inside as it cools. When ready, remove from oven and serve. Decorate chicks as you'd like - I used melted chocolate chips and a toothpick to make the eyes.

For the 'nest', I used some leftover puff pastry cut into 2 circles with a 3" biscuit cutter; using another cutter one size smaller, I cut out a ring from one of the circles and placed it on top of the other, forming a raised border. I then brushed pastry with the leftover egg yolk from the above recipe and sprinkled it with sweetened coconut flakes, then baked at 375°F for about 15 minutes.

Peep props for my peeps!


  • Barbara said...

    Your "peeps" are adorable. For Valentines Day I made a Martha Stewart meringue cupcake. In the mag it was definitely bright pink. (And they were a pain to make, too!) When I piped my meringue, I had used pink coloring and it was definitely pink. But when they came out of the oven, you could barely see they were pink. So I took them into photoshop (I wasn't about to make them again) and gave the entire photo a pink cast.
    Lesson learned: for photos, use more coloring than called for!

  • Phyllis said...

    Your ecru chicks are super adorable ;) Gorgeous photos too! I'm impressed with your both your lovely piping skills(looks like you would need a strategic flick of the wrist to make these, mine would have probably ended up as Easter blobs) and your incredible self restraint when it comes to food coloring, I always tend to overdo it, usually by accidentally dropping in the entire container LOL! Congratulations on your many awards, they are very well deserved! I'm going to check out your Simple, Good & Tasty stories now :)

  • Tuty @Scentofspice said...

    Congrats on the awards you've deserved, Tangled Noodle.

    Your lovely peeps will be something I won't mind eating. They're super cute and look delicious at the same time. The ones I saw in the stores are too scary for me :)

  • ♥Sugar♥Plum♥Fairy♥ said...

    I love these absolutely adorable dang cutey peeps and ur awards too:-))I love awards too and am sure they are many coming ur way to add to ur awards page :-)))
    And a big thank u to u and Jennifer for bringing us the world of Eat ur words:-)))
    Am so so excited about it:-)))
    Wishing ya a super week ahead!

  • Bob said...

    Heh, awesome. I can only imagine your peeps taste better than the marshmallow ones.

    Can't wait to see all the entries this year!

  • Christine Ho said...

    The meringue chicks look so adorable, very creative way of decorating a cake or pastry. Love both of your pics, Meringue chick on a puff-pastry and coconut nest and Just hatched, very festive ones.

  • Chef E said...

    Oh I wanted to do something, but with hubby sick this week, not a whole lot of cooking going on :(

    The chick is so cute! You are really one of the few creative blogs on the internet girl, and you can write!

  • Liren said...

    These peeps, by far, would be my choice over those store bought ones, any day! You are one talented chick :) Or peep :)

    And thank you for your kind, kind words. I was so very happy to pass on the Sunshine to you, and you make me blush with your sweet words!

    Oh, and I can't even tell you how I've been thinking hard about the Eat Your Words challenge -- it's been such a busy couple of days with a lot of eating out, though. I can't wait to see all the entries and the final winner!!

  • Lisa said...

    I love when people do things that leave me to wonder "Why didn't I think of that?"

    So cute, and much nicer than store-bought. And I'm a die-hard Peeps fan!

  • Rachel J said...

    All things egg whites tend to scare me but look at your creations! Truly inspiring and they are prolly much tastier than the packaged versions. Happy Easter ^_^!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    I am so grateful for all your comments! As usual, I have to defer individual responses for a bit, although this time, I have extra good reasons: finishing up an article, compiling the Eating Your Words RoundUp (please come back to check it out!) and Exam II in class tomorrow. [Gulp] Wish me luck! 8-)

  • sophia said...

    I really enjoyed seeing other people's artwork on "Eating Your Words"...it was so interesting and such a delight.

    Your meringue chick has a very nice plump butt and I'd love to give it a nibble! ;-)

  • veeda said...

    i love these peeps so much! I'm just discovering how wonderfully versatile meringue is, and I'm excited to try this. Thanks for sharing.

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Whew! Finally, some breathing room! Thanks for you patience. 8-)

    Barbara - Lesson noted! I might've brightened them up a bit, courtesy of Photoshop, but I'm still learning that darned software. At least, it gives me a good reason to make more meringue!

    Kat - These were some of the best in the flock! 8-)

    Doggybloggy - Thanks! My husband played fox to this coop - he kept wanting to eat the 'distorted' ones!

    Anncoo - Thank you! Marian, Liren & Pearlyn were so generous to share their awards. As for these chicks, this was my first time ever making meringue, much less in these shapes so I hope you try them out, too!

    Angie - They tasted sweet, too, as they melted immediately in the mouth! Mmmmm

    Taste Traveller - Thanks! They do indeed taste much better than the store-bought peeps (although I may be a bit biased . . .)

    ValleyWriter - I hope you do! They were actually quite fun to make and the longest wait was for them to cool off in the oven. 8-)

    Diva - Thank you! 8-) I knew meringues aren't difficult to make but it certainly took me long enough to try it. And these don't leave that funny taste in your mouth like those 'other' chicks!

    Phyllis - [LOL] I had more than my fair share of Easter blobs in this flock (the hubs said a few looked like Easter seals!)

    Tuty - Thanks! I know what you mean about the store-bought ones; they leave a funny taste in my mouth. Blech!

    MaryMoh - Thank you! I had a lot of fun piping out these chicks.

    Dawn - Matt's site is amazing! As soon as I saw his meringue post, I knew I'd found my guide. 8-)

  • Divina Pe said...

    Congratulations on all your awards. I am so bad I didn't even mention them on my blog and can't remember who gave it to me. I made list before then my computer broke down. And your meringue chicks are too cute. Happy Easter my friend.

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Had to put the replies on hold for a few hours but now I'm back!

    Elra - I amazed myself that I was able to pipe out bird-like forms! Thank you. 8-D

    Vanillastrawberryspringfields - Thank you dear! I hope you've had a chance to see the round-up; your Valentine's Day salad in particular was lovely!

    Bob - These definitely tasted better than the fake 'mallow ones! The roundup is up (and you're part of my group) - hope you enjoy looking at all the entries. And good luck for the aebleskiver pan!

    Ciao Chow Linda - I didn't think about that! Perhaps next year I'll attempt a larger nest with more chicks. 8-D

    Christine - Thank you! It was a bit difficult taking a photo of the chicks against a white backdrop since they didn't turn out anywhere near as yellow as I wished. Thank goodness I had that violet paper!

    Stacy - You're so sweet! I was going to try marshmallow ones but already had all I needed for meringue at home. They turned out so incredibly light and airy!

    Chef E - Oh, I hope your hubby is feeling much better! And thank you - your words are so flattering! 8-)

    Liren - Your blog is truly wonderful and I'm so happy we've connected! As for EYW, the post is finally up, so I hope you'll enjoy going through the entries. We'll announce the winner as soon as Chef Zimmern has a chance to look and choose!

    Tasteofbeirut - Thank you so much for visiting and for your comment! These were indeed my first attempts and I was quite pleased that they turned out so well. I will have to see what else I can make of meringue!

    Penny - Thank you! I'm sorry you didn't get to join us this year but hopefully, you'll have a whole year to think about an entry. 8-D

    Duo Dishes - My husband wouldn't touch store-bought peeps with a 10-foot pole, but I nearly had to tackle him to keep him from eating my whole flock!

    Sook - Thank you! I thought it might look funny that they were all looking up but then again, isn't that what chicks do - look up to their mother hen for dinner? 8-)

    Carolyn - [LOL] Actually, they did age wonderfully in the open air! When they were first done, they were so crisp that my husband had to pop them whole into his mouth or else make a crumbly mess. A few days later and the interior softened quite nicely. So yes - I do indeed recommend air-aging! 8-)

    Lisa - That's what I was thinking when I wrote up the story on the local marshmallow-peeps maker! This time, I actually did something about it . . . 8-D

    Betty - Happy Easter to you, too! Nothing quite like cute edible faux-baby animals to make it feel like spring!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Rachel J - Happy Easter! Normally, I don't like making things that use only one part of the egg b/c I never know what to do with the rest! But these only called for 2 egg whites and made so many.

    Karen - Thank you! The meringue chicks were tasty but that pastry-coconut nest was delicious. I've have to remember it!! 8-)

    Sophia - [LOL] Some of the other chicks were even plumper! Thank you and I hope you'll check out this year's round-up, which I just posted. There are even more spectacular entries!

    Nutrition to Kitchen - Thank you although all the inspiration came from others! 8-)

    Veeda - Thank you so much! I've enjoyed eating meringue but this was the first time I tried making them and it was so enjoyable. Now, I want to see what else I can do with it!

    Kitchen Butterfly - Your versions sound marvelous! Now that I've got the hang of meringue (I hope), I'd love to try different things with it. 8-)

    Sam - Thank you! I'm so happy they turned out, although next time, I will be a bit more assetive with the food coloring so that they look like yellow chicks! Happy Easter!!

    Joie - Then I'm happy to do so! 8-D

    Linn - Happy Easter to you, too and thank you for your comment! I enjoyed making these little chicks, so I'm pleased that you like them. 8-)

    Lisa - Thank you so much! I am so happy to have the opportunity to write for such a great website. As for the meringue, inspiration came from others but I quite thrilled that I managed to make them actually look like little birds!! 8-D

    Deeba - Happy Easter, dear friend, and thank you!

    Divina - Don't feel bad: the friends who gave them to you know that you deserve and appreciate each one! Thank you and I hope you have a joyous Easter!

  • Anonymous said...

    I love your Peeps! Love them! And they are very similar to marshmallow. When you get right down to it, marshmallows are simply gelatin-stabilized meringue. Magical!

    Long live the ecru chicks. Until you eat them:)


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