The hard meringues you find in the bakery are not the same as the meringue you use for Pavlova or those delicious, soft-in-the-middle cookies, often filled with chocolate or other goodies. The crumbly ones use more sugar, melt in your mouth and can be the basis for many a tasty dessert. You can add many different flavors to them for variety.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours, 25 minutes
Yield: 3 dozen cookies
- 4 egg whites
- 2 1/4 c. powdered sugar (225 g.)
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- Clear vanilla extract, almond extract or favorite flavor to taste
Preheat the oven to 200°F (95°C).
Wash and dry your bowl and beater to make sure all traces of fat or oil are gone. Egg whites do not whip up if there are any oils at all.
Separate the egg whites from the yolks. This is easiest when the eggs are a few days old and cold. Then allow the egg whites to come to room temperature for a half an hour so they whip up higher. Use egg yolks in creme brulee, flan or butter cookies. You can also freeze yolks.
Start whipping the egg whites on medium speed until they are foamy, then increase to highest speed. When they are white and starting to be stiff, begin adding the sugar one tablespoon at a time. You may have to scrape the sides of the bowl as you go.
Add the salt and continue beating for several minutes until glossy and stiff. They will be about the consistency of thick frosting.
Stir in the extracts, if using. Use about one teaspoon of clear vanilla extract or a quarter teaspoon of almond, orange, lemon, coconut or mint extracts.
Fill the meringue into a pastry bag if you have one. Choose a big tip, like a star tip, for decorative lines.
Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Squeeze meringues onto cookie sheet well spaced. Use about one tablespoon per cookie. If you don't have a pastry bag or don't feel like using one, you may also make drop cookies using two spoons and smooth the tops a bit.
Place both cookie sheets in the oven and set the timer for one hour. Keep the oven door slightly ajar by propping it open with a wooden spoon. Switch the bottom cookie sheet with the top after about one half hour.
Lower the oven temperature as far as you can (my oven goes down to 175°F or 80°C) and let the cookies bake or dry out another two hours. Yes, it will take that long. Turn off oven and let cookies cool in the oven.
If the cookies are becoming too brown, turn off oven, close door and let them slowly cool down for several hours or overnight.
Bake these cookies on dry days only. Once cool, keep in an airtight container for several weeks.
Use these cookies as a dessert topper, to accompany an after-dinner coffee or in a Raspberry Ice Cream Dessert.