Meringue Girls: Incredible Sweets Everybody Can Make by Alex Hoffler and Stacey O'Gorman, 159 pp, RL ALL AGES
I am always on the lookout for a special cookbook with recipes that will appeal to kids and can be made (with adult supervision and/or help) by kids. Of course deserts are an easy option, but the range of popular possibilities isn't very interesting. Cupcakes and cake pops are so last year and macarons just don't seem kid friendly, despite the vivid colors and amazing flavors like lavender and rose - which I recently paid $2.35 per tiny treat to experience and did not regret it at all. However, as Alex Hoffler and Stacey O'Gorman, otherwise known as The Meringue Girls, write in the introduction to their book, Meringue Girls: Incredible Sweets Everybody Can Make, "Cupcakes, cake pops, and macarons have had their day.ow is the time for meringue." Back when I was a good mom and used to make holiday cookies, I had a very simple and incredibly delicious chocolate and cinnamon meringue that I made and when I saw the cover for Hoffler and O'Gorman's new cookbook, I knew that I needed to get out my KitchenAid Mixer and parchment paper again. I also knew that something so easy to make, combined with amazing colors, flavors and recipes would also make Meringue Girls: Incredible Sweets Everybody Can Make a fantastic cookbook for kids and parents to explore together. To top it off, Meringue Girls: Incredible Sweets Everybody Can Make has interactive content that can be accessed when you download a free app and scan the pages in the book with the matching logo. If that's not quite your speed, the Meringue Girls have a YouTube channel with instructional videos.
Hoffler and O'Gorman are true artists when it comes to meringues, from the flavor combinations to the appearance and presentation. This makes sense since both women attended culinary school and Hoffler also works as a food stylist. And, while there are some ingredients and other items you may not have at hand in your kitchen when you open this book (liquid egg whites, a pastry bag, freeze-dried passionfruit powder) there are many aspects of Meringue Girls: Incredible Sweets Everybody Can Make that are closer to everyday and also adaptable. Also, if you have to turn on the oven in the heat of the summer, meringues cook at such a low temperature that it shouldn't get the kitchen too toasty.
Hoffler and O'Gorman refer to their basic meringue as a kiss, like a Hershey's Kiss, and the have 15 different flavor ideas as well as filling recipes, which are fantastic. But what I really love, love, love about Meringue Girls: Incredible Sweets Everybody Can Make are all the recipes beyond kisses, including how to use up those leftover egg yolks if you don't opt for the liquid egg whites, including curd and custard recipes.
After the section on kisses, there are chapters on Summery Desserts, Wintery Puddings and Gift Ideas. Last year I made Charles Phoenix's completely over-the-top Seven-Layer Soda Pop-Rocks Cake for my son's birthday and, while it was beautiful and very fun to make and look at, the ingredients were horrifying. I was so excited to see the Meringue Girls's version of this cake, above. Other summer desserts, including Grilled Peaches with Crushed Amaretti Cookis and Maple Meringue, are yummy and out of the ordinary, but the Winter desserts are the best. Chocolate Chip Cookie Meringue Squares and the Pretzel and Chocolate Marshmallow Meringue Tart are sure appeal to kids, but the Honeycomb, Chocolate, and Salted Peanut Meringues that are served in a shape that calls to mind the Big Rock Candy Mountain is first up on my list of recipes to make. And, for great gift ideas, besides everything in the book already, Hoffler and O'Gorman throw in a few very cute (and yummy) ideas like Meringue Alphabet Cookies, Meringue Easter Eggs and, for adults, Chewy Pisatchio Coffee Meringue Dunkers.
Source: Review Copy