Meringue cookies are quite intimidating to make but it’s actually very easy once you get the hang of it. Here are some really important tips to make a fool-proof meringue cookies:
Make sure that the bowl you’ll be using is metal and very clean; it must be free of oil/grease ( rinse it with vinegar to be sure);
Egg whites must be fresh and at room temperature;
Use very fine sugar;
If you think that you followed the recipe and the tips above to the letter and still your meringue cookies didn’t turn out right; well, you’re not alone…I know the feeling and all I can say is keep on trying, that’s what I do; sometimes you think you did everything right but it may not be the case.
I’ve made meringue cookies a few times before I finally made it right – crisp outside and chewy inside- but I’ve yet to make them as fluffy white but I kind of like them just the way they always turn out – a light coffee color.
SIMPLE MERINGUE COOKIES
adapted from Joy of Baking and Ultimate Cake
2 egg whites ( about 2 ounces)
1/2 cup caster sugar ( or process granulated sugar for about 30 seconds in a food processor)
pinch of cream of tartar ( this is optional, use it only if you have it in stock)
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on low-medium speed until thick and frothy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat the whites until they hold soft peaks. Add the sugar, a little at a time, and continue to beat until the meringue is stiff and glossy.
Note: The meringue is done when it holds stiff peaks and when you rub a little between your thumb and index finger it does not feel gritty. If it feels gritty the sugar has not fully dissolved so keep beating until it feels smooth between your fingers. (from Joy of Baking)
Spoon mixture into pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) plain or star tip and pipe mounds onto the baking sheet or simply spoon mounds of meringue, using two spoons, onto the prepared sheets.
Before placing the cookies on the cookie sheet, place a little of the meringue on the underside of each corner of the parchment paper. This will prevent the paper from sliding.
Bake the meringues for approximately 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours, rotating the baking sheet from front to back (about half way through) to ensure even baking. The meringues are done when they are pale in color and fairly crisp. Turn off the oven, open the door a crack, and leave the meringues in the oven to finish drying overnight.
Makes about 10 – 2 1/2 inch (6 cm) meringues. I made mine just about an inch-wide cookies so they’ll bake faster. – Olive