Meringue Cookies

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Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Last Saturday we had our first serious winter snow here in Ann Arbor. It started out lightly in the morning as just a few sprinkles, but picked up by the afternoon and evening. I love snowy days, but I absolutely detest driving around in the snow. That’s why I spent my Saturday tucked indoors doing some of my holiday baking. I made a plate of cookies for our downstairs neighbor as a thank you for collecting our packages while we were out of town. Nothing says thank you like a plate full of Christmas cookies!

Meringue Cookies are so light and airy, sweet and crisp that they seem to just melt in your mouth. I love how the outsides of the meringues are nice and crisp, yet the insides remain wonderfully soft and puffy. There are a few things to keep in mind when making meringue cookies. Cream of tartar is used in the whipping of egg whites to stabilize them and allows them to reach maximum volume. Also, it is a good idea to use parchment paper or aluminum foil to line your baking sheets, not wax paper, as the meringue will sometimes stick to wax paper. Baking the meringues in a slow oven allows for gradual evaporation of the moisture from the meringues. If the oven temperature is too high, the outside of the meringue will dry and set too quickly.

Meringue Cookies
Makes 5 dozen

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Ingredients
4 egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Food coloring, optional

Directions
Preheat oven to 225°F. Beat egg whites in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until frothy. (If using a freestanding mixer, use wire whisk attachment.) Add cream of tartar; beat until soft peaks form. Increase speed to medium-high. Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until sugar is dissolved and stiff peaks form. Beat in extract and food color until well blended. Gently stir in chips, if desired.

Drop by rounded measuring teaspoonfuls about 1 inch apart onto 2 large foil-lined baking sheets sprayed with no stick cooking spray. Bake both sheets of meringues at the same time 45 minutes. Turn oven off. Let meringues stand in oven 1 hour or until completely cooled.

Heather’s Helpful Hints
Make sure your beater and mixing bowl are spotlessly clean. Any grease in the mixture will deflate the meringue.To make different shapes of meringue, spoon meringue mixture into large resealable plastic bag. Snip off a corner of the bag and gently squeeze to pipe meringue onto baking sheets. Pipe into various shapes, such as hearts, “kisses,” letters, numbers, etc.

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19 thoughts on “Meringue Cookies

  1. Snow!!! How wonderful, and what a perfect recipe to go with it! Heather, I love your posts. They bring joy to my soul, even if I don’t have the time to make everything, but I know where to come when I do :-)

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    • What kind words, thank you so much Sherri! I feel the same way when I read other food blogs. I don’t always have the time or ambition to make everything that I read about, but I always tuck the recipe away in the back of my mind and know where to come when I do have time to make something!

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  2. Oh, yum! I love the sparkle you put on. Ken did all the baking this year and left nothing for me to do. I’m going to surprise him and make some meringues. I love that you don’t need 12 egg whites!

    We got snow Saturday, too. It must have been a huge storm to reach all the way from Ann Arbor to here! I don’t love the cold, but the white stuff does help me feel Christmassy.

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    • Last time I made an angel food cake I was left with 12 egg yolks which I dutifully stored in the refrigerator to use in another recipe. Well, somehow they got forgotten in the back of the fridge and I ended up having to throw them out. Since I only needed four egg yolks this time, I didn’t feel too guilty not saving them and just letting them go ;)

      I heard that the east coast also got quite a bit of snow. I’m just hoping that we get all the snow we can this week and the weather will be fair next week for Christmas. Matt and I are driving to MN and the idea of battling the roads in a snowstorm is not on the top of my list!

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      • We were driving around up in the New Hampshire Appalachians when the storm hit. Pretty! But stressful! (There’s much less snow down here in Rhode Island).

        I wish you fair driving weather.

        It’s supposed to hit 50 here this weekend!!

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    • Thanks! Yes, were headed into a warm-up later this week too. It seems so wrong to have all this snow and then have it melt away later. My fingers are crossed for a white Christmas. We’re headed back to MN so I figure there’s a better chance for that to happen there!

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  3. I love meringue cookies. I remember my grandmother making them when I was little and then making them myself years later. I think your silver sprinkles are grand. Quite the elegant touch.

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  4. As Francesca mentioned, I do love them!!! And your meringue cookies look fabulous, Heather. What a wonderful idea and recipe! Now, do you have any delicious amaretti recipe coming up by any chance?… I possibly love those even more than meringue cookies ;-)

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      • Ha! That needs to be rectified asap, dear Heather, as they are delicious! :-) Bear in mind that there are (at least) two types of amaretti, both of which are almond-based: one is a cooky that is soft inside and gently crunchy on the granulated sugar coated outside – the amaretti di Mombaruzzo (a small town in Piemonte) are the perfect example (Saronno is a similar example), check out this link: http://www.amarettidimombaruzzo.com/macaroons.htm
        The other type is called Splinsugni (an almost unpronounceable word that in the dialect of Piemonte means “pinches”): these are equally delicious, but different as they are all soft, shaped by pinching them (hence the name) into a sort of triangular shape and covered in confectioners sugar – it is more difficult to find a good link for these – let alone in English, but hopefully this should give you an idea: http://www.bottaroecampora.it/prodotti.html (you can kind of see a picture on the right side).
        Now you know everything there is to know about amaretti ;-) I can’t wait to see your own take of them!

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      • Oh these links are fantastic Stefano, thank you so much! I absolutely love new baking adventures, so often I feel like I’m searching for something new to try out. These two types of amaretti cookies look so interesting. I don’t think I’ve had anything like them. I’m tucking these away for the New Year and can’t wait to try them!

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