What cocoa meringue can teach you about failure

Looks pretty gross right?

As I squeezed the piping bag, I realized immediately- this was going to be a failed batch. No matter how much I willed it, the egg white mixture wouldn't hold its shape. I had followed the recipe to a tee, mixing the egg whites for what seemed like an eternity, and yet it was still runny. Not like the intended picture at all! My meringues were more like macaron imposters.

The thing with baking is that even if you spend a lot of time and effort to create something, the tiniest deviation from a recipe, or factors beyond your control, like the weather, can result in failure. With Singapore's 110% humidity, it's pretty difficult to whip up stiff egg whites. Not wanting to waste my hard work though, I decided to bake the batch anyway and see what would become of my meringues.

Although some turned out hollow (see above) and crumbled with a touch, some of them actually looked decent and even better, tasted great (somewhat like a melted marshmallow that's been put in a cup of hot cocoa).

Lesson learned? Failure is never absolute. If you are stubborn enough and keep on going, you can end up with something pretty good.

I'll probably revisit this recipe again and try again. Hopefully they'll actually look more meringue-like.

Cocoa Meringues
Recipe from 17and Baking
Makes approx 3 dozen meringues

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 tbsp quality cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F
  • Whisk the egg whites and sugar. In order to dissolve the sugar fully, place the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't actually touch the water. Whisk the mixture, stirring as the steam heats the meringue. Once the sugar is completely dissolved, and the meringue is warm but not hot, remove the bowl from the heat.
  • Whisk the mixture on high for 5-6 minutes, or until the egg white forms stiff peaks. 
  • Add the vanilla extract and whisk until incorporated. Whisk in the cocoa powder.
  • Pipe small meringues onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Bake in the center of the oven for 15 minutes.
  • Cool thoroughly on a rack
  • Store in an airtight container.


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