Meringue cookies are such a special treat for me. Not only are they special, they are pretty darned versatile. Some meringues are crisp throughout and some have that little chew in the center. However they turn out, they always seem to be the best you ever made! You can flavor them, color them, and sprinkle them with a wide variety of toppings. So elegant, I absolutely love them in all their varieties. Meringues are made with two simple ingredients; egg whites and super fine sugar. Add a little vanilla or other flavor extracts and VOILA! Decadent little bites! Bonus! They are also gluten free.
I participated in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap and sent my recipients the Cocoa Meringue Cookies because they are my 10 year old sons favorite. Simply add 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa per egg white along with the vanilla.
You might notice the absence of cream of tartar in my recipe. Kind of a happy accident really.
The first batch of meringue cookies I had ever baked, I forgot to add cream of tartar to stabilize and bring my egg whites to the maximum volume like the recipe stated. “DARN IT”!! So I quickly grabbed the “box of cream of tartar” out of the cupboard and added 1/4 teaspoon to my already stiffened peaks of sugary goodness. It wasnt until after my cookies were in the oven, and I was putting things away, that I realized I used corn starch! But surprise surprise! They were amazing!
I have since tried a batch using cream of tartar, but actually like the consistency of my meringues better when I dont use it. The jury is still out on whether or not the corn starch made my cookies better. I am still experimenting!
The recipe I am sharing today is for a basic vanilla meringue cookie. Here are some variants you might like to try.
*Add 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa per egg along with your vanilla.
*Replace the vanilla with 5-8 drops peppermint oil, almond extract or other flavors
*drizzle dark tempered chocolate over any flavor meringue
*Dust the tops of your unbaked meringues with cocoa powder
*Add 1/2 cup chocolate chips along with your vanilla
*Add a few drops of red or green food coloring to peppermint meringues
TIPS FOR GREAT MERINGUES
Tip #1 3 egg whites is a standard nice sized batch of meringue cookies. But you can change your batch size with this simple ratio of one egg white to 1/4 cup of sugar.
Tip #2 Separate your eggs while they are cold, but allow them to come to room temperature before whipping into peaks
Tip #3 – If you don’t have super fine sugar, simply put your granulated sugar into a food processor for a minute or two until very fine.
Tip #4 – Make sure you whip your eggs and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. To check, simply but a dab between your fingers and rub and feel for sugar granules. If you feel sugar granules, whip some more. Once you feel smoothness you are finished.
Tip #5 – Although I just use a spoon to to scoop my meringue onto my parchment paper and swirled the top with the same spoon, some people find it fun to put the whipped egg mixture into a pastry bag and pipe the meringues onto the baking sheet.
Tip #6 – If you do not have parchment paper, it is okay to use aluminum foil. But do NOT use waxed paper.
Tip #7 – On humid days, fully expect to bake your meringues a little longer. Please also remember, the bake time will depend on the size of your meringues.