Congratulations! You've made it into the third week of January in one piece and I think you deserve a treat!
If I had to describe a meringue cookie in two words, the words 'crispy pillow' first come to my mind. Meringues have a crisp outer shell, that encompasses a delicate, fluffy melt-in-your-mouth cookie. They're not rich like shortbread, or boring like an oatmeal cookie [in my humble opinion], but they're sweet enough to be classified as a treat, and having two or three will definitely not weigh you down.
So, how do you make meringue cookies? It's rather simple and only takes 4 ingredients...
3 egg whites
1 + 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
A few simple steps:
Preheat your oven to 250F or 120C. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
Place 3 egg whites in a stainless steel bowl. Add salt and beat until stiff peaks are formed.
Beating constantly, gradually add the sugar and vanilla. Do not over beat the batter.
Drop tablespoons of the meringue batter into the prepared cookie sheet.
Bake for 60 minutes.
I decided to spice the meringues up by adding a few drops of red food coloring and a teaspoon of peppermint extract. If you're adding coloring of flavors into the batter, I recommend you fold the ingredients in, rather than with a hand mixer, because the meringues will lose their volume and flatten once placed on the cookie sheet.
To get the swirl effect, I used a decorative icing bag with an icing tip in the bottom corner. Then I placed a big spoonful of pink batter on one side of the bag, and vanilla on the other side. Once you start piping in circles, you get a pretty swirl pattern. It will take a few practice meringues - as you can see, my left column was a little weak, but my second one was much better.
3 different varieties - vanilla meringues dusted with almond chocolate, pink peppermint meringues and plain vanilla. I imagine a sweet, yellow lemon meringue would be delicious!
Q: What's your favorite cookie?
Next recipe experiment for me... macaroons! They have a similar shell to the meringue cookies, but macaroons have ganache or filling in the center... now those are heavenly.