I thumbed through a bunch of magazines at the grocery store and was inspired to try making French Meringue cookies for the first time. I was a little scared; I thought maybe they'd be finicky and requires lots of sweet whispering in order to turn out mildly ok. I was totally wrong. These little puppies are so fun to make! Plus, they're fat-free, gluten-free, and milk-free!
The recipe only requires 3 ingredients and about 20 minutes to get put together and onto the cookie sheet. And then, the meringues take....3 hours to bake. But don't let that deter you! You just put them in the oven and let them do their (slow) thing. I'm imagining all kinds of shapes that you could make for other occasions - snowflakes and snowmen, initials, numbers, words, hearts, and on and on.
A couple of notes: French meringue cookies are sensitive to moisture, so don't go crazy adding in lots of food dye and/or flavorings. (I added 1/4c. powdered sugar just to compensate for my 1tsp. vanilla.) Go ahead and swap out the vanilla for whichever flavoring you like - 1/2 tsp. peppermint and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extracts would be so yummy for Christmas, don't you think? Also, I've read that baking these on a humid or rainy day can require longer baking time. It was both rainy and humid when I made these last night, and they were finished in 2 1/2 hours. So, just check them after 2 1/2 hours and go from there.
4 egg whites
2 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
chocolate chips for eyes, or other decorations
Preheat the oven to 185 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a chilled glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites until foamy using an electric mixer at medium speed (I set my KitchenAid to "6"). Add vanilla (and food coloring, if desired). Add in the powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, while continuing to whip at medium speed. When the mixture becomes stiff and shiny like satin, stop mixing, and transfer the mixture to a large pastry bag (or large ziploc bag with a corner snipped off). Pipe the meringue out onto the parchment paper using a large round tip or star tip. Place chocolate chips into your shapes or add sprinkles.
Place the meringues in the oven and bake on the middle rack for 2 1/2 - 3 hours, or until the meringues are dry, and easily slide on the parchment paper. Allow cookies to cool completely before storing in an airtight container at room temperature.
Egg whites: Foamy.
Egg whites: Stiff, and shiny like satin.
The inside of meringue cookie is crunchy and fluffy,
all at the same time.