What happened to my meringues?!
Here's what I did:
-6 egg whites, not a drop of yolk in sight
-3/4 cups white cane sugar
Everything was wiped down with soap and then vinegar.
I put the two on the top of a double boiler and whisked until it was rather warm and the sugar had melted. Egg whites were slightly frothy.
Put in stand mixer and whisked on the highest setting for about 4 minutes, until pretty stiff (should I have stuck to soft goopy peaks?).
Dropped by big spoonfuls (I would say over half a cup) onto baking sheets lined with wax paper, and smoothed out the tops a little so they were about an inch tall.
Put into a 200 degree oven. The recipe said to bake for two hours.
I admit to opening the oven around the half hour mark by accident. Would that cause what happened?
At the two hour mark they were really gooey to the touch. The recipe said that they should release easily. So I let them go. This kept going until the meringues were not just golden yellow, but had turned an orangey tan. Actually, if the advertisement to the right of your screen is on the "Covering Both Food Groups: Chowhound" with a plate of bacon and eggs, the meringues were exactly the orange color of that background. Weird, right? They also oozed a little caramelized sugar.
So finally I took them out, orange and gooey. Set them out to dry, and now they taste just fine. But why are they that color?
I think I just overbaked them. How do you know when meringues are done? I thought they would be crisp out of the oven, but now I suspect they're like cookies: they're soft and gooey, then firm up after cooling. Am I right? If I am, then the brown orangey color and weeping of the sugar were probably both due to overbaking.