Monday, July 11, 2011

❤author: Rachel Thebault's No Mess Desserts and giveaway!

I usually don't do guest posts because I like to keep my content consistent, but Rachel Thebault, author of Sweet Chic: Stylish Treats to Dress Up for Any Occasion wrote up this amazing article about fashion and baking (how can you go wrong with that?) that I want to share it with you guys. There's a giveaway involved too, so don't be a stranger; check it out!

After a long snowy and rainy winter, my pasty skin is aching for some sun (yes, yes, with SPF of course.) As usual, I start the summer day dreaming about the season's cool white dresses to show off my inevitable tan, but, as usual, I worry about the practicality of buying one. Here are a few I've been eyeing:
Temperley London Mini Beatriz Dress from Shopbop

Shoshanna Beaded One Shoulder Dress from Shopbop

Haute Hippie 
Haute Hippie Belted Ruffle Silk Dress from Net-A-Porter

One of my obvious hold-ups for buying a white dress is that I do a lot of summer entertaining, and if I'm going from kitchen to cocktails, I don't want to worry about having a big ole chocolate stain on my chest. So I was brainstorming some ideas for no-mess summer desserts, and my sister suggested one of her favorite treats -- meringues.

Meringues are the perfect dessert for a summer soiree, because they can be made in advance in a variety of fun summer flavors and can be taken anywhere from a backyard barbecue to a rooftop cocktail party. Best of all, they're light enough that you can eat a few and not worry about how you look in your pretty new dress!

Here's the basic recipe (makes about 30):
❤ 2 oz. egg whites (either separated from two large eggs, or pre-separated pasteurized whites)
❤ 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
❤ ¼ tsp cream of tartar (to help stabilize egg whites, if you don't have it, substitute lemon juice)
❤ pinch of salt
❤ ½ cup superfine granulated sugar

1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.

2. Beat the egg whites, vanilla, cream of tartar and salt with the whisk attachment on a standing mixer (or with a hand held electric mixer) on medium-high speed until the whites begin to form soft peaks. Slowly add the sugar on low speed, then return to high speed until the meringue forms glossy, stiff peaks. Be careful not to over mix it.

3. Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a large round or star tip. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper, and dab the corners of the parchment paper on the underside with a bit of meringue, so the paper sticks to the pan while they're cooking.

4. Pipe the meringue into rounds or stars about 1 inch wide and 1 inch tall, with about ½ inch space in between each. Note that the size that you pipe them will be the finished size, so feel free to pipe them slightly smaller or larger, as desired.

5. Bake the meringues for about 90 minutes, until they are crisp and firm, then turn off the oven and allow them to cool slowly in the oven. (This will help dry them out further, rather than cooling in your kitchen, which tends to be more humid.)

6. Plate and serve!

Some great flavor variations for summer:

Mojito: substitute vanilla extract with 1 tsp lime juice and 1 tsp white rum. Fold about 3 tsp of thinly sliced mint leaves into meringue before transferring it to the pastry bag.

Raspberry:  substitute vanilla extract with 2 tsp strained, unsweetened raspberry puree.

Espresso Chocolate Chip: substitute vanilla extract with 3 tsp finely ground espresso powder. Fold about 2 tbsp mini chocolate chips into meringue before transferring it to the pastry bag.
© 2011 Rachel Thebault, author of Sweet Chic: Stylish Treats to Dress Up for Any Occasion

Rachel Schifter Thebault, author of Sweet Chic: Stylish Treats to Dress Up for Any Occasion, is the founder of Tribeca Treats, and spent seven years as an investment banker before transforming her side hobby of making truffles for friends into a full-time career in confections. A graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education, she opened Tribeca Treats in 2007. The bakery has won honors from American Express OPEN and entrepreneur organizations, and is a pillar of the Tribeca community. A sought-after speaker and panelist, she has also taught cooking and baking to children. She currently lives in Tribeca (and travels the globe) with her husband and their two daughters.

For more information, please visit Rachel at her website and at Amazon. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter as well.


Thanks to Rachel's publicist, FSB Media (who also hooked me up with No Mess Desserts!), one lucky commenter will win their very own hardcover copy of Sweet Chic. To enter, leave me a comment below telling me your favorite and most fashionable summer treat. If you could include a recipe, that would be super!

Mine would be the deliciously cold strawberry sorbet, which is made entirely out of frozen fruit:
Thanks to Vegan Sweet Tooth for the shockingly simple recipe and yummy picture!

Giveaway runs through Monday, July 25th, 2011 at 11.59 pm (your time) and is open to US and Canada residents only.
If your email is not publicly visible in your Blogger profile or if you don't have Blogger profile, please leave it in your comment! If I don't know who to contact once you are chosen as the winner, your prize will be forfeited!
As a reminder, you do not have to be a follower of my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated :)
Can't wait to hear all your summer pleasures. Good luck!