Crispy on the outside and slightly chewy inside this is a melt-in-your-mouth treat. These cookies are fun to bake and will look beautiful on any cookie tray. Mainly just made from sugar and egg whites meringues can be a little finicky especially when you make them on a humid day. I have shared all the details below!
There are 3 types of meringues:
French: This is where the sugar is added slowly to the egg whites, as the egg whites are being whipped.
Italian: This is where as you are whipping the egg whites the hot sugar liquid is slowly added.
Swiss: This method slowly heats the egg whites and sugar together then whipped.
All these three meringues are delicious but French Meringue is the easiest to make especially if you have never attempted making meringue.
Once you learn the basic meringue you can add additions like adding some melted chocolate to the whipped meringue or drizzle with chocolate. Add almond extract instead of vanilla.
Always go thru the recipe first and have everything out and ready to go.
EQUIPMENT-You will need: stand or electric hand mixer. Baking sheet with parchment paper. Frosting bag and any tip of choice to pipe the shape of the meringues. Any large star/flower tip should work fine. You can just use 2 spoons and drop/shape the meringues. Gel food color of choice.
Before you begin making the meringue. Make sure that your mixer bowl and attachment is clean and free of any fat residue/grease from a previous recipe. If you have any trace of fat like oil or butter in the bowl or whisk the meringues will not whip properly.
The meringues can be made in a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer. This batch is small for a larger batch use stand mixer. You will need the whisk attachment.
Always preheat your oven. You will preheat the oven to 200F for this recipe. This bakes the meringues slow and long.
EGGS-You want to separate the egg whites from the yolk when the eggs are cold. This is much easier to do. If you separate with room temperature eggs the yolks will break. If you get any yolk in the whites the egg whites will not whip properly. Carton egg whites may not whip to stiff peaks.
SUGAR- It may look like it’s a lot of sugar, but the sugar is what makes the meringues crispy as they bake. I have used regular granulated sugar. Keep in mind as you are adding sugar to the egg whites make sure it’s done slowly, so it does not deflate the whipped egg whites.
CREAM OF TARTAR-This is an acid and this helps stabilize the egg whites as they are whipped and will help get stiff peaks. If you don’t have this you can use just few drops of lemon juice or vinegar.
The meringue will be done once the sugar has fully incorporated into the whipped egg whites, rub to make sure it’s not grainy. The texture will be very thick and glossy and will hold nice peak.
Depending on the weather they may come out prefect. But if it’s a humid day they will absorb moisture and become very sticky and chewy. If this happens you can bake them again for 10-15 minutes.
You can color the meringue of your choice. Always start with little food color.
Once the meringue is ready bake right away. As they sit the volume may decrease and alter the texture.
If the cookies are stored properly they can last over 1 week. keep them dry in a sealed container. They can become sticky.
Meringue cookies can be served alone or to decorate a cake. Serve with some whipped cream with berries or lemon custard.
As you decide to bake these keep in mind the baking and cooling time.
This recipe can yield anywhere from 24-30 small meringue cookies depending on the size of the piping tip you use.
- 2 egg whites at room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp. cream of tartar ( see notes. you can use few drops of lemon juice or vinegar)
- Preheat oven to 200F
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside
- If using frosting bag and tip, prep and keep aside. I used a small brush to strip the inside of the bag with gel food color. You can color the meringue one color of choice.
- Separate egg whites from the yolks when the eggs are cold. Let the egg whites come to room temperature.
- Using stand or hand held mixer, add egg whites to the bowl of mixer, salt, vanilla & cream of tartar. Start the mixer on low and mix until egg whites get fluffy and frothy. Start adding the sugar 1 tbsp. at a time making sure its well incorporated before adding more. Once all the sugar has been added, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Turn mixer on high and whip the egg whites for about 3-5 minutes. The meringue should not be grainy, whip longer if grainy. It should get thick, glossy and should hold a stiff peak.
- Now using some gel food color you can add to meringue or do the strip method as I did.
- Fill the frosting bag with meringue and pipe meringue cookies about 2½ inches. They can be piped close because they will not spread as they bake.
- Bake right away on the middle rack for about 1-1½ hrs. They should be dry to touch.
- Turn oven off and let the cookies cool inside oven for another hour or so.
- Texture should be light and crispy!