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Festive Meringues with Chocolate Ganache

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Right now, at this very moment, would best describe my average day on campus. Sitting at my desk as the sun lowers into the ocean in hues of yellows and purples, piling textbooks on my right as my exams draw closer, bon appetit magazines mocking me on my left, as I sift through foodgawker dreaming of the days I will one day rid myself of horrible cafeteria food. Soft music pulses through the thin dorm walls as hallmates enter in and out of their dorms, anxiously chatting with one another about the events of their college lives.

The once-a-semester game of Humans vs Zombies has begun here, where kids with nerf guns run around marked with silk yellow ribbons around their arms shooting (or becoming) zombies- whom are other infected students. The Original Zombie, an unmarked player who just so happens to be a philosophy professor who is blessed with incredible speed, started the infection today. Nothing is more entertaining then watching people get chased around campus. It’s even better when the human running for their life drops all their books and sprints across campus.

Along with zombie hunting we have miles of beach, and whereas locals don’t think too highly of it, to me- it’s still very much a beach. The sandy shore seems to go on for eternity as the warm gulf waters crashes in a timely matter into the shore. The coast is dotted with both touristy restaurants and hole in the wall joints, group bikes are always being rented out on the weekend. It isn’t uncommon to see students dressed in their bathing suits, surfboard or fishing gear in tow, heading for a lazy day in the sun. If the constant pounding of lecture exams and lab practicals didn’t exist, every day here would be a vacation.

I love college. It may be cliche to say, but it really is an amazing difference with the freedom. I love meeting new people, the traditions, even the stress of tests and the relief you feel when you make an A. I can’t wait for the years to pass as I get deeper into my major and pick my classes towards what I’m interested in, not the generic have-to-takes that we are given in our first years. However I even find our basic biology, calculus, and history classes interesting to a degree, although I’m still craving future genetic courses, equine management and anything dealing with my hopeful future. It’s exciting, it’s terrifying, stressful and a whole lot of fun- that I don’t want it to end.

I made these little meringue cookies forever ago while I was on my winter vacation from school. I was absolutely terrified to make them, but as I whipped up the eggs and sugar and began piping them, I was relieved to realize just how easy they were to put together, even if you’re like me and used the wrong piping tip! The best part about these guys (other than the ganache, yum!) is the priceless look on peoples’ faces as they eat them. You’d never expect the small sandwiches to melt in your mouth with such a creamy, luxurious texture. And too be honest, you really can’t eat just one.

Festive Meringues with Chocolate Ganache

Recipe found at Martha Stewart

Ingredients

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract (I personally did not add this, as I’m not a fan of peppermint extract)
  • Red gel-paste food coloring
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 6 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; secure corners with masking tape. Fit a pastry bag with a small open-star tip (such as Ateco #22). Set aside.
  2. Make meringues: Put egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of simmering water, and stir gently until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Transfer bowl to an electric mixer fitted with the whisk
    attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Mix in peppermint extract.
  4. Using a new small paintbrush, paint 2 or 3 stripes of red food coloring inside the pastry bag. Fill bag with 1 to 2 cups meringue. Pipe small (3/4-inch-high) star shapes onto prepared baking sheets. Refill bag as necessary, adding food coloring each time.
  5. Bake cookies until crisp but not brown, about 1 hour 40 minutes. Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks.
  6. Meanwhile, make ganache: Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until just simmering. Pour over chocolate in a small bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. Gently stir until smooth, about 5 minutes. Let ganache cool at room temperature, stirring every 5 to 10 minutes, until thick enough to hold its shape, about 45 minutes. (If ganache sets
    before using, reheat in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water; repeat the cooling process.)
  7. Before serving or mailing, fill a pastry bag fitted with a small plain round tip (such as Ateco #5) with ganache. Pipe a small amount onto bottom of 1 meringue. Sandwich with another. Repeat with remaining ganache and meringues. Transfer to wire racks; let set 30 minutes.

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