These cookies are simple, delicious and only require a few ingredients! If you've never had them before, now is the time! They are crunchy, light and airy - and my son thinks they resemble a taste like crispy marshmallows. :)
Meringues are known as the "Forgotton Cookies" because after cooking them on a low setting in the oven, the oven should then be turned off and the cookies can be left in the oven for another few hours or overnight. This helps to dry them out and keep them nice and crispy. If you want them chewy on the inside (or you are really impatient to eat them - like myself), you can take them out and eat them sooner. The main ingredients needed to make meringues are egg whites and sugar. You also need a mixer, preferably a stand mixer.
Step 1: Ingredients for Meringue Cookies
- 3 egg whites (at room temperature) <-it's easier to separate them from the yolks when cold, then let it sit out (*please ignore that my photo only has two eggs - I made a smaller batch)
- 3/4 cup of sugar - superfine sugar would be best to use. I only had organic cane sugar and it worked well. You could put the sugar through a sifter and that would be helpful. I think normal white sugar would be fine as the sugar I used was more dense, but still worked great. I made another batch after this one, and used powdered sugar (as it is also recommended in many recipes) and they turned out almost too airy and very different. I say, use what you have on hand - plain white sugar would be fine.
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Optional but Recommended:
- 1/4 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (if you don't have any, it is ok to omit) or,
- pinch of cream of tartar (if you don't have this, you may omit also) or,
- small squeeze of lemon juice if you don't have the other two ingredients above this
- stand mixer or hand mixer (you will get a good workout if you don't have a stand mixer)
- ice cream scoop, or
- you can use a frosting piping tip for a fancier looking cookie
- oven, cookie sheet and parchment paper or silpat (I had no parchment paper and used my small silpat and palm shortening on the cookie sheet - it worked great)
- Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F (121 degrees C).
- Measure out your ingredients and have them all ready and near the mixer.
To change the amount you want to make, just use about 1/4 cup of sugar for each egg white used. You can make quite a few meringue cookies from just three egg whites. With this recipe, you can easily make 8 very large, 12-15 medium or 24-30 small meringue cookies. The ones I made were medium in size at a couple inches around.
The last two ingredients - the apple cider vinegar and cream of tartar will help the meringues keep their shape. But, if you don't have either of these, you can omit them. Or, you could add a small amount of lemon juice. I personally used the vinegar and also a small pinch of cream of tartar. I've read that cream of tartar is the preferred thing to use over the other two. If you have none of those three things and really want to make this anyway - it will still work! It may not be as shapely and firm, but that's ok!
Lastly, these will not turn out too well if you try to do this and it is extremely humid in your house.
Step 2: Mixing the Eggs for the Meringue Cookies
After your egg whites are at room temperature and you have all the other ingredients nearby and on-hand, it's time to place the egg whites into the mixer. Be sure to have a whisk attachment on the mixer. Please ignore the fact that there are only two eggs in that photo (I ran out and made a smaller batch).
Turn the mixer onto a low-to-medium speed and beat the egg whites until foamy. If you are adding cream of tartar, now you can add it in. If not, just continue beating the egg whites until they hold soft peaks.
Step 3: Adding Sugar for Meringue Cookies
Once the soft peaks have formed, then very slowly add in the sugar. Once all the sugar is well-incorporated, then you can add the vanilla and vinegar. Increase the speed to high and beat until the sugar is all dissolved nicely and the meringue mixture is holding glossy, stiff peaks. It may take five minutes. It may take 10 minutes. It depends on the mixer and a lot of other factors - but it will get there.
Note: If you were to add in items, now would be the time. For example, if you melt some chocolate (and let it cool), you can drizzle it over the finished meringue and try to gently fold it in (the less you mess with the mixture, the better).
Step 4: Piping or Plopping the Meringue Cookies
Now for the really fun part! You can pipe or plop out your meringue cookies. If plopping, you can use something like an ice cream scooper (apparently this isn't a word - scoop) - to scoop out the meringue and then use another spoon to help scoop it out. Place them about two inches apart on the cookie sheet.
Or, you can use a piping bag (or any ziplock or clear sandwich bag) and use a piping tip to help create pretty or unique designs for the cookies. I was too lazy to use it the right way - so I put this in a sandwich bag, cut a small hole in the corner and it worked great!
Lastly, I had powdered beet root that I had never used before (I bought it originally to use as a safe powder dye for cosmetics) so I dusted it over half of the meringue cookies - and love how they look.
Bake the meringues for 40-50 minutes, or until you can easily lift them off of the parchment paper. Then, turn the oven off. Some people then crack the oven door and leave them in there for another hour. Or, you can leave the oven door closed and leave them in there for an hour or even overnight. It's up to you. It is so dry in our house that I turned the oven off, left it open a crack for about 30 minutes, then tasted one. Crispy, light, airy and delicious! There was a small amount of chewiness on the inside (some people love that, others do not). So a couple of hours later, I opened the oven (my son stole most of them by that time they were gone) and tested one again - all crispy and airy throughout. I LOVE these cookies!
Step 5: Meringue Cookies Recipe Photos
Enjoy your cookies! They can be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for a few days (some say, up to 10 days). But, the sooner you eat them the better. They are addictive!