The crisp, clean coating of meringue is quite misleading, in my opinion.. Have you ever appreciated the fact that such a beautifully pristine exterior conceals a fall-apart, airy inside? They fascinate me–but maybe that’s just because I relate to the sugary delicacy a little bit more than I’d care to admit. A day in the life of Allie may, on the surface, seem as controlled and smooth as that wonderful meringue shell; go behind the scenes, though, and you find all the gooey, delicate insides and a whole lot of air (or air-headedness, I should say). In the past few days, I’ve had a particularly large number of incidents that were like cracks in my meringue–windows into to the messy, breakable, Allie hidden beneath the presentable exterior. My family, who is well aware of–and entertained by–my recurrent lack of common sense, has lovingly coined these situations “Allie moments.”
Here’s a rundown of just the most memorable Allie-moments this week:
1) After ballet class on Saturday, I was going to soak my feet in a bucket of ice water (I promise that’s a normal sentence in the dance world). Since pouring water into GIANT BUCKETS can be hard for people like me, the last half gallon or so ended up not in the bucket, but on the floor. Feeling frustrated but satisfied with the cleanup five minutes later, I picked up my bucket to leave the room–not three steps later I heard a snap, and suddenly I felt the weight of the water leave my hand and transform into a frigid pool at my feet. Thank goodness for friends who were willing to take half an hour out of their weekend to help me use three full rolls of paper towels to wipe up the lake that had taken over the exercise room (I did eventually get to use the ice for its intended purpose, in case you were wondering).
2) The same day, I had multiple baking jobs to complete. Three hours spent in my kitchen later, I found myself nearing the end with a batch of donuts. I grabbed the container of applesauce I had out of the fridge to add to my batter. Feeling that the lid was unusually snug for an opened jar, I became puzzled and twisted it harder. At once a massive POP (not unlike the sound of the bucket handle) erupted from the jar. And that wasn’t the only thing that erupted. In the time it takes to sneeze or blink, I went from lightly flour-dusted to thickly soaked in applesauce. A potent yeast smell pervaded the kitchen and living room, and the fermented apple substance had taken the shape of a clumpy beard from my nose to my chest. Both of my roommates were, of course, in prime viewing position nearby, and their laughter broke the somber silence that followed the explosion. How was I supposed to know that the “use within 14 days of opening” label isn’t supposed to be dismissed as food company trickery?
3) As many of you know, I work as a waitress on some nights after I dance. At the end of one particularly late shift, I was the last one in the building and more than ready to be home in bed. As in, I think that my brain had already jumped ship and was in my apartment underneath my comforter. You see, after all my closing jobs had been done, I cashed out of the register, securely locked the restaurant door behind me, and finally made it out of the restaurant with my purse, phone, keys…and bag of money to drop in the safe from my register. I did end up getting to sleep that night but not before sheepishly called my coworker to ask if it was alright that I brought it back the following day.
4) On my trip to resolve the previous lapse of common sense, I found myself performing yet another display of good old stupidity. In a few moments of free time after class on Thursday, I decided to venture out in the drizzly evening to return the money I’d unintentionally stolen from my place of work. Feeling motivated by Freddie Mercury blasting in my headphones (I’m on a Queen kick and will be until the Bohemian Rhapsody movie comes out 😀 ), I skipped out the door, right past my keys hanging on the wall. A few minutes later, after ringing the doorbell of every single unit in my apartment building until someone kindly let me in, I made my way once again down the street and completed my voyage.
5) I was concerned for a bit about some pain on my ankle bone this week, to the point that I even mentioned it to my physical therapist during my appointment. A few days later, I suddenly recalled that I may have just smacked it really hard on something. Probably a doorway, because doorways are almost as hard as buckets.
Clearly my week has been anything but white and shiny. Clearly I need ballet to compensate for my unbelievable lack of grace in all other venues of life. I love the feeling I get when I do display a rare moment of pure, rational, adult action because I know I’ve fooled the world for just a second into thinking I’m not a total mess. You’re not alone in your moments of blatant messiness, you’ve just let your meringue crack a bit. Bite into these sugary, slightly tangy, melt-in-your-mouth lemon cookies, and you’ll be reminded that no one is really as put-together as they appear.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 2:9
Lemon Meringue Cookies (V)
- 3/4 cup aquafaba (the liquid from one can of chickpeas)
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 cup vegan sugar
- 1 tsp lemon extract
- Preheat oven to 225°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Combine aquafaba and cream of tartar in bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment.
- Whisk on high speed until mixture becomes white and fluffy.
- With mixer still running, begin adding sugar in small increments until fully incorporated.
- Continue mixing until mixture forms stiff peaks. (Meringue will stand straight up when you insert a spoon or whisk and then pull it out). Whisk in lemon extract.
- Spoon meringue into piping bags with round or star tip (This meringue isn’t quite stiff enough to hold the star shape, but the star tip will still work fine).
- Pipe meringue cookies (just a little larger than a quarter) onto baking sheets, leaving a bit of space between them.
- Bake in preheated oven for about 2 hours. The outsides should be firm, and they should have remained white or just off-white.
- Turn off the oven, and leave them inside the oven to completely dry out for at least another 30 minutes.