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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Meringue Cookies

I hate wasting food.  It comes from my Mom guilting me into finishing every meal and cleaning off my plate and being grateful for it.  Even when I am full I have this guilty need to clean the plate or expect a lecture on gratitude and starving children in Africa if I don't.  I am the same way with my kitchen fridge and pantry.  I hate throwing away food and feel really guilty about it when I have to.  When separating eggs for a recipe I like to make two things so I can use both the egg yolks and the egg whites.  For example, when I make Macaroons (egg whites) I usually make pasta (egg yolks) at the same time.  Or in this case it was Pastry Cream (egg yolks) and Meringue cookies (egg whites).  

Meringue Cookies

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup ultafine sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (I used roasted Hazelnuts for this batch.  Pistachios also taste good.)
Makes 100+ small (1 inch round) cookies.  They are quick and easy to make, but take forever to bake.  An excellent cookie selection for whipping up (no pun intended) before church (3 hours) and taking them out of the oven when you get home.  I also like making these late at night so I can snack on them the next day.
Preheat over to 300 degrees.  Whip egg whites until stiff peaks form then add ultrafine sugar slowly, or 1 Tbs at a time, and whip until the egg whites are nice and glossy.
Whip in Vanilla and Vinegar.
Fold in Nuts.
Fill a piping bag and pipe out small 1 - 2 inch circles onto a parchment paper lined baking tray.
Place cookies in the oven (preheated to 300 degrees) then immediately turn the temperature down to 275  degrees.  Bake for 30 minutes then turn the oven off and do not open it for at least 4 hours for the cookies to completely dry out.  I usually leave them in the oven overnight.  DO NOT OPEN the oven at ANY time.  This is a long, slow, temperature sensitive process.
Confession time:  Opening the oven once did not ruin them.  I just know I'm not supposed to do it.
I would describe Meringue cookies as a light airy snack cookie that melts in your mouth and has a nice crunchy bit to them.  The 100+ cookie batch may seem like a lot to make at one time, but like chips, you can never have just one.
Enjoy.