I don’t think it’s possible to be unhappy eating meringues. I really don’t. They’re bite sized, fluffy little clouds with a sweet, crispy exterior. Um, hello? Could you write a more perfect description? (Without using the words “nutella” or “doughnuts”, because that would totally be cheating)
And bonus: they’re fat-free. Yeah, buddy.
Sometimes people can get a little nervous about working with beaten egg whites or making meringues. It’s understandable; there are some things that can go wrong during the whole process. But if you make sure you take care of a few possible roadblocks at the beginning, you’ll be blown away by how incredibly easy these little cookies are.
First things first: separating those egg whites. Your eggs will separate easier when they’re cold straight from the fridge. Then, when you do separate them, make sure that there are no no no bits of yolk in them, because that can totally throw things off later on.
Now that you have your egg whites all separated, you’ll want to let them sit out and come to room temperature, because that will allow them to whip up to a fluffier, lighter meringue (this usually takes about 30 minutes). Then, once it’s time to beat the egg whites, you need to be absolutely sure that your bowl, whisk attachment, and any other utensils are completely clean and dry, especially making sure that there are no traces of grease or any other fat, as that will interfere with your whites and prevent them from becoming stiff.
Next, when the time comes to add the sugar to the egg whites, you need to do so gradually. Listen, I know you’re impatient and ready to go, and sometimes it’s tempting to throw the whole bowl of sugar right on in (trust me, I’ve been there). But but but, a pretty meringue that will not make, and so remember to simply add the sugar one small spoonful at a time, so that it can fully dissolve.
If everything goes right, you should end up with a big bowl of billowy white clouds ready to be piped out into whatever shapes you desire. Also, if you want to sneak a few spoonfuls of these dreamy whipped egg whites on their way to the baking sheet, that’s totally acceptable too.
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Little Almond Meringues
from Joy of Baking
3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup superfine or caster sugar (to make, take granulated white sugar and process it in a food processor for about 30-60 seconds)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (can also use any other flavoring, such as vanilla extract)
Preheat oven to 200 F. In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat the whites until they hold soft peaks. Add the sugar, a little at a time, and continue to beat, on medium-high speed, until the meringue holds very stiff peaks. Beat in the almond extract.
Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch tip. Pipe 2 inch rounds of meringue in rows on a prepared baking sheet.
Bake the meringues for approximately 1 1/2 to1 3/4 hours, rotating the baking sheet from front to back (about half way through) to ensure even baking. The meringues are done when they are pale in color and fairly crisp.
Turn off the oven, open the door a crack, and leave the meringues in the oven to finish drying several hours or overnight. The meringues can be covered and stored at room temperature for several days.