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Meringue cookies baking right now... getting chewy and sticky

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hi all!

 

I'm attempting meringue cookies for the first time, thought I would share real time. This is beginner stuff, if it is not the right section of the forum, please let me know.

 

At 18:45 pacific time today, I put a batch of meringue cookies in the oven at 170F / 76C on two aluminum foil baking trays. One of them was covered by a thin film of butter, the other with parchment paper.

 

The meringue was simply egg whites, whipped till soft peaks, then powdered sugar added, then whipped till firm. No lemon, no salt. Just a hint of vanilla.

 

Each cookie was aabout 2/3 of an inch thick and 1.5 inch wide.

 

After 1h:30min: the exterior looked awesome, solid and very white, the inside was still wet, but the meringue actually tasted great

After 2h:15min: same thing, apparently the "thickness" of the exterior, dry layer in each cookie had not increased since I had last checked. I then jammed a stick in the door to keep it open and let humidity out

After 3h:10min (5 minutes ago): the thickness of the exterior dry shell has started to increase, but the inside, instead of being creamy like before, is now sticky and the meringue actually tastes worse than it did before, it is more chewy. This problem happens in both trays, but much worse in the one with butter and no parchment paper.

 

My questions:

 

Is it normal that they go through a chewy status before turning crisp and ready? Do I have a humidity problem and if so, what do you recommend to solve it?

 

Thanks everybody!


Edited by ZapoTeX - 9/13/14 at 10:24pm
post #2 of 4

A big yes to the stickiness problem. I have also had problems with meringue in the past, but through my experience I have found that the main culprit is not beating the meringue long enough (e.g. not to stiff peaks). If you didn't have any trouble with the piping, however, it may just need to be baked longer. I live in a very dry climate, but even so I usually try to do them in the late afternoon or evening, so that they can sit in the turned-off oven overnight and really dry out. If you think about it, with a mass of dissolved sugar and egg white proteins it does make sense that this could turn into a sticky mess. Luckily, this is just a temporary stage between the silky, raw meringue and the crisp finished cookies. However, if you do live in a humid climate and believe this to be the issue, just do your best to do the baking on a day with a relatively low amount of moisture in the air, as this can have a major effect on the baking time. For now, just keep them in the oven and hang in there! Hope I helped!

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your reply and suggestions, very much appreciated!!!

 

I don't think the stiffness was the problem - they were so stiff I had to pull hard to even remove the wire whip.

 

Left it for a total of 6 hours in the oven now and the stickiness is almost completely gone. They are now drying in the closed & switch-off oven, hopefully they'll be crisp by tomorrow.

 

Interesting that the parchment paper makes things so much better. They dry a lot more quickly and equally up and down (I guess they "breath" more vs. lying directly on a non-porous surface), while the other ones dried up from above much more quickly than from below.

 

What makes it easier though is that as long as the temperature is low enough, they seem to never even start browning and you can just leave them in longer. If you do it professionally, I guess it is a different story. Using an oven for so long for just a batch of cookies can't be good for business.

 

Thanks again!

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

6 hours baking + whole night drying in switched off oven.

 

Stickiness/chewiness totally gone, but they are still not 100% crisp at the core. I guess I'll bake them overnight next time or make them thinner!

 

Thanks!

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