me and lola have a thing for this meringue recipe - i can't remember where it came from so sadly i can't credit the genius who first gave me it. in the summer we make huge pillows of it slathered with cream, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries but wanting to find a more seasonally appropriate reason for eating it we invented these little snowmen. lola's initial plans involved hundreds-and-thousands adorned chocolate biscuit hats but i was too hasty in trying to prise them off the foil cases i'd shaped them round while baking and was left with just a delicious pile of cookie crumble. the meringue loses it's glorious snowy whiteness in the oven hence their suntannedness but they are a fairly easy and impressive little winter project. i'd love to hear your ideas for decorating them too. can you manage hats and scarves?
makes approx 5 snowmen
for the bodies and heads
4 egg whites
8 oz caster sugar
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp cornflour
few drops of vanilla extract
1. in a very clean glass bowl whisk the egg whites on a slow speed until very bubbly and then increase the speed until the whites form stiff peaks. (lola loved the test where you have to hold the bowl upside down your head to make sure they are whisked enough).
2. continuing to whisk add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until combined with the egg whites.
3. mix the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla together in a small bowl and then add to the sugar and egg white mixture and whisk until the mixture turns glossy.
4. spoon out 5 big heaps and 5 smaller heaps onto a couple of lined or well oiled baking trays and bake in a preheated oven (140c), you'll probably need to remove the heads (very gently) after about 20 mins and the bodies 10 mins later.
5. leave to cool.
for the adornments
30g white chocolate buttons
few drops orange food colouring (or a mix of red and yellow)
dark chocolate buttons
tube of black icing
1. melt the white chocolate, very gently, either in the microwave or in a bain marie. add the food colouring to turn it orange. this will make it form a sort of malleable orange coloured chocolate putty. mould into carrot or tangerine shapes and cool briefly in the fridge.
2. draw little smiles on the cooled heads using the tube of black icing.
3. add water to the icing sugar to form a very thick paste and use it to stick the heads to the bodies, the noses to the faces and the dark chocolate buttons for the buttons and eyes.