30 September 2010

Hot Mormon Muffins: September Edition

This has been a weird September, so it's only fitting that this month's muffin is also weird. So weird, it's not even a muffin! For anyone who avoids gluten (or just likes sticky, chocolaty treats), Miriam's Missionary Meringue will be right up your alley. Props go to 38-year old Miriam, mom of "2 +2," whatever that means. Click on photos to enlarge.

Making these meringues started off well enough, with a minimum of ingredients:

But my first inkling that there was trouble ahead came when I broke two of the yolks when I was separating the eggs (managing to squirt egg white across the stove as I tried to crack open one of them). I never break the yolks. But at least none ended up in the whites:

The KitchenAid was so quick at whipping the eggs that I barely had time to get any photos before they turned from liquid to solid-ish. And then I messed up again--I jumped the gun, adding the sugar and cocoa before the white were completely stiff. I was sure they were ruined. But hey, this is my first ever attempt at meringues--what do I know?--so I forged ahead.

I have no idea what meringue batter is supposed to look like, but I don't think it's this:

I forgot to take pre-oven photos, but they looked pretty sad and liquidy in the muffin cups. So I was amazed when the hour was up and I pulled these out of the oven (check out the one that's just about popping out of the cup on its own):

They crumble pretty easily, but they sure do look pretty on the plate! The geranium flower and lavender stalk are from my garden:

(PS--I finally figured out my camera has a "food" setting, and this is the first time I used it. I'm pretty pleased with the results.)

Miriam's Missionary Meringue (Gluten Free)

[My notes/changes in brackets.]

3 egg whites, room temperature
3/4 cup [granulated] sugar
5 tbs cocoa [powder, unsweetened]

Beat egg whites until stiff, then gradually add sugar and cocoa [I wasn't sure if the sugar and cocoa should be folded in or what, so I just lowered the speed on the mixer about two notches as I added them.] Butter your muffin tin thoroughly and fill 3/4 full with meringue. Put in a cold oven and turn the heat to 250F. Bake for one hour. Remove from oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

Run a sharp knife around the muffins and turn out. Tops should be crisp, bottoms chewy. Cut off the tops of each muffin and fill with ice cream, fruit, or whipped cream. [I wouldn't bother cutting off the tops--there's a natural indentation anyway, and the tops are crunchy and tasty.]

Makes 12 "muffins"

My verdict:

*I love these! They're super easy to make; despite my worries they turned out perfectly. They're also delicious. The chewy bottoms aren't so much muffin-like as marshmallow-like, but I don't have any problem with that. In fact, if I let myself, I could probably polish off all 12 of them in one sitting. Alas, my self-control is firmly in place.

*If you pay extra attention to buttering the rims of the muffin cups, you'll probably have less sticking and crumbling than I did (although they still came off the sides easily).

*The recipe does not make enough to fill the cups 3/4 full--more like half.

*These meringues are definitely reminiscent of brownies, so I think they'd be perfect served with vanilla ice cream (or maybe unsweetened whipped cream). If you really want to go over the top, serve with ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce.

Want more Hot Mormon Muffins (and really, who doesn't)? Check out my previous posts:

January (Lisa's Priesthood Praline)
February (Amy's Relief Society Raspberry)
March (Kourtnie's Mormon Marmalade)
April (Charli's Seminary Streusel)
May (Tami's Zesty Zion Zucchini)
June (Lynda's Seven Wives Grain)
July (Cami's Bring'em Young Blueberry)
August (Yayoi's Latter-Day Lemon)

Photos by Domicile

15 September 2010

Bed head

I think people who are into decorating and design are drawn to certain elements. For some it might be tables, for others fabrics; one of the things I'm most drawn to is beds. My first bed was a "princess" bed (courtesy of my older sister who'd always wanted one but never got it). It was white with painted gold trim and a pink canopy overhead with matching cover. Over-the-top girly girl and I loved it (when I was a bit older and feeling anti-pink I painted the bed black and replaced the canopy with a mass of black tulle--I have to say it looked pretty good). My next bed was a handmade cast-iron four-poster topped with fleur-de-lys finials. In retrospect I think I probably paid too much, and it was always a bit rickety thanks to cross-bars that could never quite be tightened enough, but it was my first big purchase and I thought it was the greatest bed ever. That is, until we moved into our current house and discovered the frame was about an inch or two too large to get up the century-old stairs. Oops. After some impromptu scrambling, we decided to just go ahead and buy some new bedroom furniture, including this bed:

It seems I'm destined to sleep in four-posters (although I'm not opposed to beds without canopies, by this time my mom had spent a couple of years crocheting a lace canopy for me, so I could hardly get a bed that wouldn't accommodate it). I love the new bed--it's both gorgeous and cozy (with no rattling!) My cast iron bed frame now provides architectural interest on the main floor of the house, with the tall headboard in the dining room and the equally tall footboard in the pantry.

I think part of my attraction to beds might have something to do with the fact that I can only have one at a time. In our house two of the three bedrooms are used as offices. So I can only fantasize about having a guest room for friends and family, or for someplace I can use for the occasional nap or change of scenery (ideal for those times when the cats have taken over our bed). When we moved in I thought we could sneak in a daybed somewhere, but then the bookcases pretty much took over (it's great to be surrounded by books, but they aren't all that comfortable). We settled for a pull-out couch. Comfy, but not exactly the stuff of dreams.

But still, I can look at all the pretty beds in the world and pretend I have a house with an infinite number of bedrooms. And I can share some of them with you while I'm at it. Click on the photos to see where I got them. Enjoy!

Although my tastes tend to run to the whimsical and ornate, you can't beat a well-crafted sleigh bed. This is one of the nicest ones I've seen:

There's something about iron beds that is both humble and grand. I'm a fan.

This bed is very cool, but you could get seriously hurt if you're not careful. On the other hand, I'd love a fence like this (keep all the hooligans out ~_^)
This is a daybed I really wanted to get (especially when we found it on sale at a local store), but we just didn't have the space. Damn my book addiction!

These are unusual, and I think they're lovely:

The SO found this one depressing, but I think it looks cozy--and if you're ever in Namibia you can sleep in it!

I'm not a fan of the all-white but the shape and style are gorgeous:
This is just a headboard and, amazingly, it's not an antique. If I had somewhere to put it I'd order it in a heartbeat:

This just looks so restful and relaxing (the site also has tons of other beautiful photos):

Kids have some awesome options. Victorian bunk beds:

Round and frilly:

The bunnies on the bed were cast from molds based on antique chocolate molds! I'd like it a lot better without the Easter basket and eggs, but it's still cute:

Or if you prefer birds to bunnies:

Not that adults are deprived of whimsy. Love this one:

More birds:

This one is just so pretty:

This might well be the coolest bed ever:

I'm not sure how I'd cope with the crazy lighting, but I love the shape and details of this bed:
If you want to go retro:

This bed is meant to be used outdoors. I love the curves and the way it looks like a sailboat; very elegant:

And just for fun I had to include the bed made of ultra-rare fossilized wood, all hand-carved. Only $66 million at auction!

I'd love to hear about your favourite beds...