Thursday, February 9, 2012

Homemade Meringue Candy Necklaces

by Darla

I made the funnest thing ever this week.

I couldn’t even begin to tell you what inspired it or how I thought it up. All I know is, I’m super glad about it.

I wanted jewelry for Valentine’s Day; edible jewelry that I could share with my peeps (that’s you). What’s better than a candy necklace, I ask?

Nothing. That’s what.

There is nothing better than a candy necklace. Especially for Valentine’s Day!

When I first thought of these homemade candy necklaces, I wasn’t 100% sure what was going to happen. I mean, they were pretty much either going to be the best thing ever. Or they were going to be the silliest thing ever.

I’m pretty thrilled, and not at all humble, about saying that they were a resounding success, and they really are the best thing ever. Ever. My little endeavor to create homemade, from scratch candy necklaces was brilliant (I know I’m being awfully proud here, but I can’t help it…they make me utterly happy), and they turned out so completely cute and fanciful! I am in love with them, and I don’t care who knows it!!

Meringues are super simple, you only need four ingredients to make them: sugar, egg whites, cream of tartar, and extract, such as lemon, vanilla, or raspberry, and food coloring, if desired.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk together the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar. Place the bowl on top of a medium sauce pan filled with a couple of inches of barely simmering water and set over medium heat. Gently whisk the mixture constantly until the sugar dissolves, about 10 minutes. Transfer the bowl to the standing mixer (if you’re not using a standing mixer, just remove the bowl from heat and use a hand mixer), and whisk the mixture on high until stiff peaks form. If making several colors or flavors, divide the mixture into separate bowls and gently stir in the extracts and food colorings.

Once your meringue is ready, transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a Wilton #4 writing tip (or comparable), and pipe small rings on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure that the rings have a nice open center, because they will spread very slightly (even with great, stiff meringue). Pipe a single circle onto the sheet, then continue piping until you have piped the circle twice. This will make the ring twice as high/thick, making it less fragile.

I used Silpat mats for my first two batches, but I recommend parchment paper instead. You can certainly use Silpat mats, but the meringues tend to stick a little more, and will have more of a tendency to crack. With parchment paper, the meringues release easily, and I didn’t have any breaks.

I made four colors and four flavors: yellow lemon, white vanilla, pink cherry, and blue raspberry.

You’ll notice that the white and yellow rings have the best shaped, while the pink and blue rings are less uniform. I discovered that it’s important to pipe all of the rings at once, because as the other colors sat (for two and three hours of bake times), the meringue softened slightly, causing them to have trouble holding their shape.

The blue “rings” lost their shape entirely, while the pink ones had to be piped large and thin to keep from filling in the center.

My biggest recommendation for this project: place four (or more) sheets of parchment paper the size of your baking sheets on flat surfaces. Pipe all of your meringue immediately, filling the paper with as many rings as possible. Set aside and do not disturb until they can be baked. The meringues will dry slightly as they sit, but that’s okay, as the end goal is to bake them until dried anyway.

I don’t recommend this if you live somewhere very humid, but I wouldn’t recommend making meringues in a very humid climate anyway.

Once all of your meringues are baked and cooled, you can begin stringing them together. :)

I used green and white baker’s twine for mine, but thin satin ribbon, twine, or another type of string would work well, too. The reason I like the baker’s twine, though, is because it stays tied very well. Satin ribbon tends to loosen or even untie completely with too much agitation, but twine holds tight without having to be double knotted.

Once I had all of my rings done, i decided that my necklaces needed some sweet heart pendants to make them even more perfect for Valentine’s Day.

All I did for these was pipe meringue hearts onto my parchment paper, then add an already baked ring to the top. Notice that the ring is standing on its side, and it is stuck directly into the soft meringue. When these are finished baking, the ring will be securely attached, and you’ll have pendants!

I. Love. These. Necklaces.

Like, with all my heart.

A word of warning, though: if you expect to have these whipped up and assembled in a short time, I have to tell you that it just isn’t going to happen. These are very easy to make, and they’re very quick to mix up, but you need to be prepared for two to four hours of waiting while they bake. Obviously, that’s no work at all, just a lot of waiting, but you can’t make these at the last minute. They only take about 15 to 20 minutes to mix and another 10 minutes or so to pipe, but they take one hour per two sheets to bake (you can place two baking sheets in your oven at one time, as long as they are evenly spaced and you rotate them front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time). You need a day to wait for them all to bake and cool. I would recommend making the candy one day, and assembling them the next.

I know that these aren’t a fancy schmancy cake, and they aren’t a super creative and detailed cookie. They’re not an irresistible and mouthwatering recipe, or an uber complicated concoction, but these sweet little homemade candy necklaces may just be my very favorite thing I’ve ever made!

They’re delicious, they’re seriously adorable, they’re incredibly easy and fun to make, and they are completely unexpected. What’s not to love?!

Please, go make these! You will have so much fun and kids and adults alike will be enchanted (yes, enchanted) by them. Enjoy!

Meringue Candy Necklaces [Printable Version]
Makes several, depending on length of each necklace

Prep time: 25 to 35 minutes
Bake time: 2 to 4 hours, possibly longer

Ingredients

4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon raspberry extract (and/or other flavors, if desired) *see note
Food coloring, optional

Preheat oven to 175 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk together the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar. Place the bowl on top of a medium sauce pan filled with a couple of inches of barely simmering water and set over medium heat. Gently whisk the mixture constantly until the sugar dissolves, about 10 minutes. Transfer the bowl to the standing mixer (if you’re not using a standing mixer, just remove the bowl from heat and use a hand mixer), and whisk the mixture on high until stiff peaks form. If making several colors or flavors, divide the mixture into separate bowls and gently stir in the extracts and food colorings.

Fit a pastry bag per color/flavor  with a Wilton #4 writing tip (or comparable), fill each bag with meringue, and pipe small circles, slightly larger than Cheerios onto prepared baking sheets. Refill bag as necessary. Pipe all of the meringue immediately, even if you can’t bake it all at the same time.

Bake rings until crisp but not brown, about 1 hour. Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks.

To make meringue heart pendants: Pipe large hearts (about 1 1/2-inches across) onto the prepared baking sheets. Place a baked and cooled ring in the center of the heart, standing on its side, to act as the loop that will connect the heart to the necklace. Bake for 1 hour 40 minutes, until crisp but not brown. Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks.

* You will need 1 teaspoon total flavoring for this recipe, so if you divide it into 4 flavors, each flavor will get 1/4 teaspoon of its respective flavor.

Created and recipe by Darla

Meringue making tips:

1. Don’t let any yolk at all into the egg whites…not even a tiny speck.

2. Always make meringue in metal or glass, never plastic. Plastic can absorb oils and such from other uses that a washing doesn’t always remove.

3. Make sure your bowl is 100% clean.

4. Make sure your cream of tartar is not expired. Although cream of tartar isn’t required for meringue, it’s very helpful in adding lift and volume.

5. Always try to use the freshest eggs you can get.

6. Separate your eggs while they’re cold, but allow them to come to room temperature before starting the process.

7. Make sure that your sugar is completely dissolved before you begin whipping the mixture.

8. When adding color/flavor, be sure to stir it in thoroughly, but gently.

Candy necklace tips:

1. Make a double loop of meringue to ensure the ring will be thick enough not to break while working with it.

2. Make all of your rings at once. This will mean having to place parchment paper on flat surfaces around your kitchen in order to have somewhere to make them all, but it’s an important step. By piping them all right away, you will get the best shapes, and the shapes will hold better (see blue rings above to see an example of rings that weren’t piped soon enough).

3. These can be made on Silpat mats, however, I don’t recommend it. They are somewhat delicate and they will release without breaking when parchment paper is used.

4. If the hole of a ring has closed, but there’s still a deep indentation where it was, you can thread the necklace string through it by gently using a needle to pierce the thinnest part of the candy.

Isn’t my sister the best candy necklace model ever?? ♥

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{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Caroline @ chocolate & carrots February 9, 2012 at 11:45 am

No way!?!?!? This is awesome Darla! :-D Totally just made my day. What a fun thing to make!

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2 Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar February 9, 2012 at 11:47 am

Awww you are the cutest! Love this idea.

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3 Kim February 9, 2012 at 12:23 pm

I have a friend who is *obsessed* with candy necklaces. I know what I’ll be making for her now! You’re too creative.

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4 Kathia February 9, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Your sister is adorable, and this candy necklace is the cutest idea ever. My little one would love to do this project with me, what can better than wearing a necklace and eating it.

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5 Debbie February 9, 2012 at 12:31 pm

I LOVE THIS IDEA!

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6 Mary Anne February 9, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Been wondering what you were up to since the instagram photo yesterday….
ADORABLE!!

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7 ann hazelett February 9, 2012 at 12:34 pm

you are amazing!!!!!!!

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8 Lori @ RecipeGirl February 9, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Totally and completely ADORABLE.

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9 Sherry February 9, 2012 at 12:52 pm

This necklace is awesome Darla! My daughter will love making this for her friends. Such a great idea and so, so cute.

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10 Emily ~So Domesticated~ February 9, 2012 at 12:58 pm

What a sweet idea, especially for Valentine’s Day… so, so cute!

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11 Life of a Modern Housewife February 9, 2012 at 3:03 pm

So clever!!! I would never think to make these…thanks!!

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12 Jill February 9, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Oh my goodness, what a great idea!!

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13 Carolyn February 9, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Love, love, love these!!!

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14 Sincerely Jill February 9, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Adorable! And there is no shame in tootin’ your own horn a little :)

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15 Venus February 9, 2012 at 4:09 pm

OHMYGOSH these are so incredible AWESOME! I don’t know *when* I’m going to have the time to do these, but the WILL be done at some point. I will be tweeting this out, I know others who will go gaga. Thanks so much!!

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16 Mary B. February 9, 2012 at 4:14 pm

That is awesome! I’m already planning to make your cake filled cookies for my playgroup next week….now I’m trying to convince myself I have time to make these, too. :) I love all of your creations! It’s encouraging to me, too, that you’re self-taught…I’ve used your homemade fondant once and I’m excited to practice with it some more!

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17 jo-lyn's cup cakes n' candies February 9, 2012 at 5:04 pm

These are adorable! Probably take more time than I am willing to take to make them, though at least right now, but I am def. going to save this recipe for later!! =) Thnx!

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18 Tina@flourtrader February 9, 2012 at 7:08 pm

This does look like a fun project and make for very cute gifts. You did a lot of work making all of these-I think I would need to recruit some friends! I love the pastel colors you chose also. This is probably the most creative food post I have seen in a long time-well done, Darla!

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19 Becca-cookie jar treats February 9, 2012 at 7:10 pm

These are way too cute :3 I remember eating candy jewelry when I was little. I liked saving the pendant for last because then I got to suck on it haha.

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20 trisha February 9, 2012 at 10:10 pm

this is pretty darn awesome indeed!!!

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21 Krysten S. February 9, 2012 at 10:37 pm

These are unbelievable! SO cute!!! I’m obsessed.

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22 Jackie February 9, 2012 at 11:37 pm

These are adorable! How long do they last for? How should they be stored?

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23 Darla February 12, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Thank you! :) They last for several days, although they usually get eaten very fast, so I don’t know much beyond four days. :) I store them in an airtight container, in a cool, dry place.

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24 Krissy {Krissy's Creations} February 10, 2012 at 2:37 am

Darla! Your most GENIUS creation yet! In love. In love. In love.

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25 PixelHazard February 10, 2012 at 6:01 am

That is incredibly cute!

Bright Green Laces

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26 Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking February 10, 2012 at 2:37 pm

This is an amazingly creative idea, Darla! Wow!

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27 Cheryl February 10, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Thanks for sharing this! My wee girl loves candy necklaces…what an awesome idea to be able to make one at home for her, and know what goes into it!

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28 Lora February 10, 2012 at 3:22 pm

I used to love those candy necklaces when I was a girl. Still do when I can get my hands on one. I absolutely love that you made this. Just brilliant!

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29 Crafty Couple's Corner February 10, 2012 at 5:01 pm

These are adorable what a great party favor for a little girls birthday or even a fun thing for a bachelorette party, the possibilities are endless

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30 Estelle February 11, 2012 at 6:58 am

soooo cute!!

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31 Carol February 11, 2012 at 5:23 pm

What a great project, and what a fun sister to have to enjoy them!

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32 Kieli Heart February 12, 2012 at 3:24 pm

That looks like an amazing and tasty necklace! And your sister looks so cute ^-^ Great recipe!

I remember always getting candy necklaces and bracelets as a kid. And I love meringue! What’s to not like about this?! Thanks so much! I definitely have to try this sometime!

~ Kieli ~

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33 Stephanie February 12, 2012 at 4:53 pm

As always….fantastic! Wish I had time to make these!! So cool ;)

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34 Arah February 13, 2012 at 1:21 am

so cute necklace!.. it’s like everything you think of you can make an edible version .. hehehe

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35 Tamara Jones February 14, 2012 at 12:28 am

I would never have thought of trying to make candy necklaces at home! GENIUS!

Now I’m trying to imagine all the other things I might be able to make with meringues, hmm hmm hmm. Thanks for the inspiration!

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36 Jenn February 15, 2012 at 10:25 am

Made these and they were mighty tasty! the kids were clamoring for the candy as soon as it was out of the oven. Thanks for the idea – I forget how versatile meringues can be.

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37 Emily February 24, 2012 at 11:27 pm

We {heart} edible art projects at our house. My girlies will flip over this one. Our rings probably won’t be as consistent or pretty, but they look so cute all strung together, I don’t think it will matter. Using frosting tips, stringing beads, and eating candy. It sounds like the perfect project!

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38 Britney March 17, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Oh that is so awesome! I love candied necklaces and am so going to make this :D

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39 AJ January 8, 2013 at 1:00 pm

SO CUTE!! I love these and I’m thinking I might try piping some of the circles into little heart shapes too. :)

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40 Sue {munchkin munchies} January 9, 2013 at 8:55 am

I can see why you fell in love with them; they’re ADORABLE!

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41 Beth @ Hungry Happenings January 9, 2013 at 10:42 am

What a brilliant idea! I love it and am pinning it.

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42 Lori Stilger January 9, 2013 at 12:35 pm

LOVE these! (I found you via Beth @Hungry Happenings :D) I do have a question: do you think xylitol would work instead of sugar? My sister doesn’t like for her kids to eat white sugar, and I’d love to make these with them….
Thank you for sharing! They’re awesome! And your photo is super-cute, too. :D

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43 Darla January 10, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Hi Lori, I’ve never made meringues with anything other than white sugar, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work, as the sugar is purely a sweetener, and nothing else. I don’t know if the xylitol will cause a different reaction with the egg whites, but I’d love to hear how they turn out for you. :)

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44 Debby January 12, 2013 at 5:35 am

Is it eatable?

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45 Darla February 4, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Absolutely! :)

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