An excess of eggs in my fridge and a desire to make a vaguely festive sweet treat led me to making meringues. Flourless and perfect for Passover or Easter, these little cookies are very easy to make.
Since I had so (so) many eggs, I decided to make two batches of meringues: vanilla and rose water. I happen to really enjoy rose water but if you aren’t a fan, you could easily substitute orange blossom water or a small amount of really any extract that tickles your fancy.
It is essential when making meringues to include a little bit of cream of tartar. Cream of tartar, in case you’re interested, helps not only to stabilize beaten egg whites but also to increase their volume — you could see how that might be helpful with meringues, no?
When making meringues, it is rather important to beat your egg whites till they are very stiff and glossy. If you are using a stand mixer, this should take less than five minutes; if using a hand mixer, it might take a wee bit longer; and if beating the meringue by hand, settle in for the long haul and try to save up for a stand mixer because you are going to be mighty, mighty tired, mighty, mighty quick.
Here’s a hot tip! Before you pipe your meringues onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, I’ve found that it’s quite helpful to put a dab of meringue on the corners of parchment paper so that the paper sticks to the sheet and doesn’t move around as you pipe.
And speaking of piping, feel free to pipe your meringues in whatever manner makes you happy. I like the star shape but that’s just me.
Anyway you slice it, meringues are pretty delicious, fat-free, and fabulously festive.
Meringue Cookies (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook)
Makes dozens of meringues, depending on the size
3 egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ to 1 teaspoon flavouring (vanilla, rose water, orange blossom water)
1 cup granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 275˚F.
In a large bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer, combine egg whites, cream of tartar and flavouring. Beat till the whites are extremely frothy and then, with the mixer still running, gradually add the granulated sugar. Continue beating till the egg whites are very stiff and glossy.
Transfer the mixture into a piping bag fitted with the tip of your choice and pipe your meringue shapes onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Depending on the size, bake for at least ½ hour. Once the cookies are crisp and are not longer moist inside, turn off the oven and allow the cookies to dry out for an additional hour.
Eat alone or sandwich the cookies together with a ganache frosting, buttercream or lemon curd and enjoy!