My birthday is coming up, which means….
One, I have to figure out what dessert I will be making for myself. I am thinking brownie/cookie/coffee ice cream cake? With hot fudge sauce? It’ll be in cake form, but not cake at all. Or maybe Key Lime pie. Good thing I have a few days to decide. And because it’s my birthday….I might make both. I only turn 29 once. Or twice.
And secondly, a birthday as an adult means a trip to the bmv…I had to get tags for my vehicles. And a new license. They should decorate the BMV with ‘Happy Birthday” balloons and streamers…because the majority of people in there are probably celebrating a birthday or just recently celebrated one. They should give you a birthday card when you hand them your hard-earned cash. They could at least say ‘ Happy Birthday’ when they destroy your driver’s license that has been living peacefully in your wallet for the past four years. It has seen a lot of purses and squinting inquisitive bar tenders and grocery checkout ladies and waiters and waitresses. I am assuming that this license probably will not see as many squinting inquisitive eyes as the previous few. Bummer. My picture this time looks decent and I no longer look naked…
Wanna know my blonde moment for the day?
I wear corrective lenses…or contact lenses for those that aren’t working at the bmv. Must they call them corrective lenses? Can’t they just ask, glasses or contacts? No…corrective, like something is wrong with you that needs correcting…which, yes there is – but no need to point it out. Geezzz. But guess what? In order to take said eye exam, you have to be wearing said ‘corrective lenses’. I, however, forgot to put mine in…I realized this in the parking lot of the bmv. At least I didn’t make it inside. I can’t pass that test without my contacts. I have tried. I also can’t read box scores on the TV or read the preview channel or see individual leaves on trees or read road signs, which is the most important reason to wear my contacts…so says my mom. But she has never mistaken a 3 for an 8 during a baseball game and felt the disappointment when a win turns into a loss…stupid nearsidedness. Much more disappointment in a loss than missing a turn because you couldn’t read the street name until it was too late…
I didn’t have my contacts in because I had today off…and I was giving the 28 year + 358 day eyes a break, a little breather. I don’t need to see clearly to bake or to load a dishwasher or to transfer laundry from the washer to the drier. I have family coming up, so I did a quick spot clean on the house today - I find no reason to really clean when 4 dogs, 2 kids, and 6 adults are invading – plus, they are family – they are forgiving house guests. Don’t you love how I rationalize not cleaning?
Plus, I figure if I shove food in their faces once they get here…then they won’t notice my lackluster attempt at cleaning. This usually works. I have cookies and coffee cake and a pasta dish in the freezer…ready at the go. And I also made chocolate meringues. For the ladies. I am sure the guys will turn their noses…because they are light and crisp and dainty and slightly chewy…not dense and heavy and laden with butter.
Of course I couldn’t just leave chocolate meringues at just chocolate meringues. No, I added cocao nibs for a roasted chocolate crunch (almost like coffee, but not) and then I did add coffee, in the form of instant espresso powder. The stuff intensifies chocolate … like only coffee can do. I like these best alongside a cup of coffee or a glass of milk, or alone, on a saucer…while I watch the Grey’s Anatomy finale. ( Dear Grey’s people, I don’t like when you kill people off…Love, Mal)
p.s. do not judge my meringues … I stink at making dollops. My dollops always seem to get larger. This went from a small and dainty cookie to just large and mildly dainty…a touch awkward. Like the Brawny man drinking tea with his pinkie in the air.
Makes 2–3 dozen (depends on your dollop size)
4 Large Egg Whites, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
pinch of salt
1 Cup White Sugar
1/4 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, sifted
1 Tablespoon Cocao Nibs, plus extra for topping
1 Teaspoon Espresso Powder
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Preheat oven to 275°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Beat egg whites on medium speed until foamy (use the whisk attachment if using a stand mixer). Add cream of tartar and salt and increase spread to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form. Increase speed to high and slowly add sugar and beat until stiff glossy peaks form – about 3 minutes.
With a spatula, gently fold in vanilla, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and cocao nibs. (if you happen to forget the vanilla, which i have done on occasion, not a big deal, just keep going) Don’t over mix, fold the ingredients into the meringue, leaving chocolate streaks running through the meringue.
Either using a piping bag (which I didn’t have) or two teaspoons (which I did have), either pipe or dollop meringue onto parchment lined baking sheets. I made rather large dollops, because I can’t eyeball things. If using a piping bag, pipe into coils…it makes them look fancy. Sprinkle extra cocao nibs onto the top of the meringues. Bake in preheated oven for about 1 hour until they sound hollow to the touch and they lift off the parchment paper with ease. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
I ate one warm and it was out of this world. So, feel free to eat them warm, but do not store them until completely cooled, they will get damp and sticky if you do. Once cool though, store in an airtight container.