Do you have a sweet tooth and love all things sugary? Then gorging on meringue probably seems like a tempting idea. It is sweet, foamy, and creamy – and absolutely delicious. You can enjoy it all by itself or add it to cupcakes and cakes. But is meringue gluten free and safe for people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease?
Meringue is a sweet delicacy made using sugar and eggs, both of which are gluten free ingredients. On the other hand, it can be made using ready-to-make meringue powders that may have gluten-based additives. Cross-contamination is also possible, especially at a bakery.
Table of Contents
- 1 Is Meringue Gluten Free?
- 2 What Exactly is Meringue and How is it Made?
- 3 Types of Meringue
- 4 Uses of Meringue
- 5 Health Risks of Meringue
- 6 Gluten Free Meringue Powder Brands
- 7 Gluten Free Meringue Cookie Recipe
- 8 Final Words
Is Meringue Gluten Free?
Meringue is a soft and mushy dessert or dessert topping that is used to enhance the taste of cupcakes, cakes, and other desserts. They look like peaks and have different levels of stiffness and consistency. Sometimes, they are baked into desserts in the form of cookies or pavlovas.
But if you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, can you enjoy this sweet goodness? The good news is that you don’t need to give up indulging in meringue, even if you are medically required to stay away from gluten. To understand why you need to know what meringue is.
Meringue is made using just two ingredients – sugar and eggs! Both of these are naturally free from gluten. Hence, meringue is inherently gluten free and safe for you. However, in the kitchen of your home, a restaurant, or a bakery, cross-contamination is a probability.
This is especially true because meringue is a dessert or a dessert topping. Meringue itself may not contain gluten, but since it is often handled among other desserts that contain gluten, cross-contamination can add gluten content to this sweet treat.
If you’re buying it from a local bakery or restaurant, ask them about their steps to keep tier facilities gluten free. If you want to make it at home, make sure that the utensils and ingredients you use have not come in contact with gluten ingredients.
Another way in which gluten can get added to meringue is if the additives have it. It can be a flavoring or coloring agent, a texturizer, or a preservative. They may contain gluten which can be added to the otherwise gluten free meringue.
Another method of making meringue is by using a ready-to-use powder. Such powders usually have naturally non-gluten ingredients. However, you should check the ingredients list to see if it may have ingredients that can trigger allergic reactions.
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What Exactly is Meringue and How is it Made?
Meringue’s complex texture and delicious taste make it hard to believe that it has only two ingredients – egg and sugar. Of course, you can jazz up the dessert by adding a few drops of vanilla essence or any other flavor. You can also add cream of tartar, a dash of lemon, a pinch of salt, a little gelatin for texture, etc.
The basic idea of making meringue is by beating eggs until fluffy and adding sugar to them. These two ingredients form the basic foamy sweet canvas of your dessert or dessert topping. You can add anything to it to enhance it. It is the building block for desserts like souffle and mousse.
Types of Meringue
Meringue can differ in texture and stiffness based on how it is made. There are three classic ways of making meringue. Each way incorporates sugar differently. Their cooking methods also vary. Let’s look at the different ways of making meringue.
This type of meringue is the softest texture, and its peaks can hardly hold shape for too long. It’s also the lightest. Making this meringue only requires you to whip superfine sugar and egg white together until you get cloud-like peaks.
b) Swiss Meringue
This meringue is dense and crispy. You need a double boiler for it – with a bowl set on another bowl full of water – and place the two over a fire. Then, the egg white and sugar are put into the top bowl and beaten. The meringue expands in the heat.
c) Italian Meringue
This meringue has steady peaks and requires hot sugar syrup with egg whites. The syrup needs to hit 236-240 F. When you add the hot syrup to the eggs and beat them, the two start to cook gently and form stable but silky peaks.
However, other modern recipes for making meringue have also been developed now. These are ideal for those who are not particularly fond of eggs or hate the hassle of working with them.
1) Vegan Meringue
This type of meringue uses Aquafaba as the base – with a little vinegar. Using sugar in this type of meringue is optional. Another ingredient used as a vegan base is the potato starch with water. But remember that this category of meringue tends to burn quickly.
2) Dried Egg Meringue Powder
Meringue powder contains just dried egg whites. This product is often used in baking as a substitute for egg whites. It is also used in meringue. You just have to beat it after adding water to get the desired texture and consistency.
Uses of Meringue
There are different ways of making meringue and turning them into desserts or using them as toppings and decorations. Here’s how to use it-
You can cook meringue in the oven to dry the surface and make it crisp. This, you will get what is often referred to as forgotten cookies. Interestingly, you can leave them in the oven without worrying about whether they’re cooked or not.
Meringue can be used as the base of many desserts. These include the pavlova, lemon meringue pie, pavlova, macarons, and more! You can cook meringue at high temperatures for a hard texture or slightly brown the peaks to make them crispy.
Meringue is often used as the frosting or topping of cakes, cookies, and other desserts. It has a foamy texture with a delicious creaminess and adds a lovely texture to other desserts. It also looks extremely pretty, especially when torched slightly.
Health Risks of Meringue
Meringue is delicious and sweet. It’s a dessert and a dessert topping. It’s so versatile that you can even add amazing flavors to it. And is meringue gluten free? It is! But there are some health concerns associated with meringue, especially when it’s French meringue.
Are these health scares real? Not really. While the chances of catching diseases from meringue are low, you should know about the problems caused by this item –
When meringue is made using real egg whites, one of the major health risks is salmonella. This is especially true when the egg whites are in raw form. Avoiding this issue is possible by using pasteurized eggs and meringue powders.
Another method of avoiding salmonella is to prepare your meringue at a temperature of 160 F. You can make your meringue in the oven, cook it on high heat, or use hot sugar syrup to kill the bacteria that can lead to salmonella.
b) Egg Allergy
Egg allergy is a condition that affects more people than you probably know of. There are different symptoms that get triggered by eating eggs, including chest pain, digestive problems, congestion, and more.
If you’re allergic to eggs, you cannot have meringue. One of the two ingredients in meringue is eggs. However, there are vegan or egg-free meringue options available that you can use instead of making egg-based meringue.
c) High Sugar Intake
Meringue contains a large quantity of sugar and if you have diabetes, eating meringue is not a good idea. It can cause a number of other problems like fatty liver, heart diseases, etc. It is also a bad fit when you’re trying to get used to a low-carb life.
Sugar is the root cause of a number of other health problems, from obesity to inflammation. It can also lead to cognitive decline. You can substitute sugar with other sweeteners in meringue to avoid sugar. Also, find sugar-free meringue or egg powders.
Gluten Free Meringue Powder Brands
If you want to make meringue using dehydrated egg powder or any other meringue powder, you can find many brands that are absolutely safe for you. These are either marketed or marked as gluten free products. Here’s a list of them.
a) Judee’s Meringue Powder Mix
This meringue powder mix makes it easy for you to make your favorite dessert – just by adding some water to it. The good news is that it is gluten free, as advertised on the package. It does not just have gluten free ingredients. It is also manufactured and processed in a clean facility.
b) LorAnn Meringue Powder
This meringue powder is a healthy option without any sugar content in it. It’s easy to use by just adding water and any sweetener to the mix – and it will be ready for you. The product is labeled gluten free, which means it’s a safe addition to your cakes, puddings, cupcakes, and more!
c) Chefmaster Deluxe Meringue Powder
This meringue powder is a great choice for some sweet indulgence without getting allergic reactions. The product is an alternative to raw eggs and can help you make stiff icing for desserts. You just have to add water and a sweetener to it and turn it into soft sweet peaks.
d) Meringue Shop Meringue Powder
Here’s an excellent choice if you want a plant-based meringue powder. It doesn’t have eggs and hence, won’t cause allergic reactions. The product makes delicious meringue with a consistent texture. You can enjoy it without worrying about allergies as it has a gluten free label.
e) Sweet Frosted Cookies Organic Meringue Powders
Here’s a brand that offers three meringue powder options: the egg-free variant, the vegan variant, and the traditional egg white variant. The website of the brand mentions that the brand, as a whole, is gluten free – and so are its meringue powders. The product is also organic.
f) Vör Vegan Meringue Powder
This meringue powder is a healthy choice with no egg content in it. It is a vegan product that fits into any diet. The product is marketed as a naturally gluten free meringue powder and has a beautiful taste and texture. It is an excellent choice for making healthy dessert toppings.
Gluten Free Meringue Cookie Recipe
Here’s a quick recipe for a gluten free meringue. Don’t let the word “cookie” misguide you! This recipe has no flour in it. Take a look!
- Granulated sugar: 1 cup
- Egg whites: 4 pieces (large)
- Vanilla extract: 1/2 tsp
- Salt: A pinch
- Lemon juice: 1 tbsp
- Chocolate: 12 oz + 2 oz
- Walnuts (chopped): 1/2 cup
- Break 12 oz chocolate into small pieces and melt it. You can use the microwave oven or a double boiler.
- Allow it to cool slightly, and then add vanilla.
- Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line three baking sheets with pieces of parchment paper.
- In another bowl, put egg whites, lemon juice, and salt – and use an electric beater to whisk everything until you form a foamy mix.
- Whisk for a minute and increase the speed to High. Continue to beat for 4-5 minutes and continue to add sugar slowly.
- Continue till you have stiff peaks that won’t fall if you hold the bowl upside down!
- Add 1/3rd of this meringue to the previously made melted chocolate. Mix.
- Add this mixture to the remaining 2/3rd meringue and fold it in gently.
- Chop the remaining chocolate and fold it into the mixture, along with the walnuts.
- Put the meringue mixture into a piping bag to pipe small circles on the baking sheet. Place them 2 inches apart and make each of them about 1 ½ inch.
- Immediately put the baking sheet into the oven and bake. Continue cooking for around 10 minutes till the crust becomes shiny and starts to leave the baking paper.
- Let them sit for 10 minutes and transfer them to the cooling rack.
There are different types of meringues and various methods of making them. The one thing common among them is that they are all delicious. But is meringue gluten free? Thankfully, it is inherently so. If you want to be additionally careful, you can choose gluten free meringue powder brands to make meringue at home.