The Best Kitchen Aid Ever
I have been slowly pulling my kitchen together over many years. I’ve come a long way since my first apartment in college, when my roommate’s and my kitchen was literally in a closet. But, if I recall, we didn’t need much space or gear to make ramen noodles or boxed mac and cheese. Between us we had plenty of parental hand-me-downs, and the rest was filled in with rummage sale finds.
Over time, I have slowly replaced my student era equipment--the melted plastic spoons, the thin bottomed pans with the scorch marks, the broken (and might I add, well used) wine bottle opener. I bought a food processor. I have good knives. My pots and pans are of quality, eclectic and perfect for my needs. I had everything I needed to make any recipe thrown at me…
I didn’t have a KitchenAid stand mixer. You must be familiar with them. With its iconic rounded shape and jazzy color options, it’s the Shelby Mustang of the mixer world. Its powerful motor it can muscle its way through the toughest cookie dough or whip egg whites to their knees. Zero to whipped cream in 60 seconds. It’s an American beauty--all that is missing is the racing stripes. Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!
I am sure my lack of ownership is the sole reason why baking has never been my thing. I haven’t had the proper tools! The KitchenAid has been on my ultimate kitchen wish list for a long time. A very long time. When out shopping, I always detour to the housewares department and seek one out, staring longingly at its bright and shiny surface and dreaming about all the lovely things I could make with it. Then a glance at the price tag would cause my daydream to come to a screeching halt.
Now could I have bought one at a point in the last twenty years? Probably, yes, of course. It is just that I’m cheap. And there always seems to be something better on which to spend my “discretionary” income. Like dental work. New tires. Student loan payments. A plumber. You know, all the fun stuff on which you end up spending your extra cash.
I want my mixer!!
Well, friends, the planets have aligned and the time has come. I had squirreled away some birthday bucks (thanks, Mom!) , and that added to about two years worth of change thrown in a jar, I was able to bring one home last week. It is a thing of beauty--gloss cinnamon red, with a balloon whisk, a batter paddle, a dough hook and a shield which keeps the flour in the bowl and off of me. I thought long and hard about what to make as my inaugural dish and finally decided to whip up a meringue. (Don't you love the concept of a stiff peak?) So, see below for the recipe for a Pavlova, a dessert like a cross between a giant marshmallow and a meringue cookie.
Are you a kitchen gadget person? Do you have a Kitchen Aid mixer? What’s your favorite recipe for it?
Recipe lightly adapted from simplyrecipes.com; which apparently adapted in turn it from a recipe posted in the San Francisco Chronicle.
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (I used superfine sugar, which you can make yourself by pulsing it in a food processor)
3/4 cup (about 6 large) egg whites, room temperature
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix the cornstarch with the sugar in a small bowl.
In a large bowl of a heavy-duty [Kitchen Aid!] mixer, fitted with whisk attachment, whip egg whites with the cream of tartar and salt, starting on low, increasing incrementally to medium speed until soft peaks start to form, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.
Increase speed to medium-high, and slowly sprinkle in the sugar-cornstarch mixture. When incorporated, slowly pour in the vanilla. Increase speed and whip until meringue is glossy with stiff peaks, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Pipe or spoon the meringue into 8-10 large round mounds that are 3 inches wide on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon liner. With the back of a spoon, create an indentation in the middle of the mound for holding a filling once meringue is baked.
Place baking sheet in the oven on the middle rack and reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees F. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the meringues are crisp, dry to the touch on the outside. They should be white, not tan colored and the interior should be have a marshmallow consistency. If they are turning color, reduce the oven temp.
Cool on a wire rack. Served topped with your favorite filling – fresh strawberries, lemon curd, or this time of year rhubarb sauce. Don’t forget the cream whipped by your fabulous machine.
Lisa Parsley is a Janesville native writes about food and cooking for Gazettextra.com. Lisa is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff. Her opinion is not necessarily that of the The Gazette staff or management.