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Dorothy Dean presents: Meringue roses are an elegant and edible Mother’s Day gift

UPDATED: Tue., May 7, 2019, 5:54 p.m.

By Audrey Alfaro For The Spokesman-Review

Birthed you, adopted you or took you under her wing, all moms deserve to be spoiled – of course every day, but even more so on Mother’s Day.

When choosing a gift for her, ignore the countless displays of flowers – I know, I know, it’s your usual go-to. But this year, you’re not buying her a bouquet, you’re making her one. One she can eat.

Just as beautiful as they are delicious, meringue roses are an elegant and edible treat. Made primarily with egg whites and sugar, meringue is not only gluten free, but fat free as well.

So it’ll leave her feeling guilt free if she eats the entire bouquet. (And with how tasty they are, it wouldn’t be a surprise.)

These delicate cookies are light and airy, with a crisp outside, and, like the magic of cotton candy, they melt in your mouth.

Their sweetness is not overpowering, and, while this recipe calls for vanilla, any extract can be used. You also can customize the flowers to your mom’s favorite colors.

Besides being heavenly on their own, they can be sandwiched together with fillings including ganache, Nutella or her favorite frosting. They make the prettiest decorations for cupcakes and cakes, too.

If you’ve never made meringue, I promise you that it’s easy.

As long as you start with a clean bowl and beaters (dry and free of any grease, which can prevent your egg whites from getting stiff) and room temperature eggs (they expand faster and better than cold), you’re whisks away from these decadent swirls.

Meringue Roses

4 large egg whites

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Green, pink and yellow food coloring gel or desired colors

Place oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 200 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.

Add egg whites to the bowl of electric mixer and beat with the whisk attachment on medium speed until foamy. Once foamy, add the cream of tartar and continue beating until whites hold soft peaks. Increase speed and slowly add the sugar, a little at a time, and beat until stiff peaks form. Add vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.

Place about 1/2 cup of meringue mixture into a small bowl and fold in a little green food coloring until desired shade is reached. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a leaf tip.

If making two shades of roses, divide remaining meringue and color each with desired food coloring. If making one shade, just add into mixer and beat till blended. Transfer mixtures into pastry bags fitted with a #1M ( 1/2 inch) open star tip.

To pipe out roses, hold bag perpendicular to baking sheet, and, starting in the middle, pipe out a spiral shape, looping around the center once or twice to create your roses. For leaves, start piping at the outer edge of the rose and release pressure, while pulling away, to make the leaf tip.

Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until they are dry and crisp to the touch. Turn oven off and prop open the oven door. Leave meringue roses to finish drying in oven several hours or even overnight.

Carefully remove from baking sheets and store in airtight container.

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