I once wrote that I can never seem to go more than two months without making meringues… and that’s totally true. Aside from being shattering, ethereal, literally-melt-in-your-mouth little gems that are way too easy to eat five at a time, they are also so gosh darn fun to make. It’s like making marshmallows, except there’s no corn syrup or stovetops involved and the end result winds being up being cookies.
I thought that I loved meringues about as much as I ever could, and that there wasn’t much one could do to improve upon them without changing their fundamental nature aside from stirring in a few extracts or flavorings. But then— THEN— the goddess that is Alice Medrich came along and told me how I can make meringues better, and now I love her (and them) all the more for it.
The difference here is the addition of one more simple ingredient: almond butter. Once you’ve made your meringue, you simply fold in a few spoonfuls— a quick step, and yet it ultimately makes all the difference. The nuts cut through the overwhelming sweetness of the meringues and provide an excellent contrast in flavor that simply can’t be beat. The resulting cookies are richer and more complex, elevated beyond the basic one-note sweetness that typically characterizes meringues. It’s basically a match made in heaven.
I’m providing a recipe for meringues made with almond butter, because almond butter is unquestionably delicious and was also the only nut butter to be found in my pantry at the time, but really any nut or seed butter should do here. I would just caution against using any that is sweetened, as the whole aim here is the contrast with the already super sweet meringue. Any basic, straightforward natural version should do.
Celebrate your Friday with a new and improved meringue recipe. You can thank me later.
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Almond Butter Swirled Meringues
Barely adapted from Alice Medrich
3 egg whites
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup almond butter, salted*
Preheat oven to 200F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl or the base of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until they have turned white (not just opaque) and are thick and beginning to stiffen. Beat in the salt. Begin to add the sugar gradually as you continue to beat the egg whites, one spoonful at a time, making sure not to rush. Once all of the sugar has been added, continue to beat until the meringue forms very stiff peaks.
Scatter spoonfuls of the almond butter across the surface of the meringue and use a rubber spatula to gradually fold it in. You don’t want to fully incorporate it; there should still be streaks and pockets of almond butter in the meringue.
Drop spoonfuls of meringue onto the baking sheet or use a plastic bag or piping bag to pipe out the meringue. Bake for 2 hours, then turn off the oven and crack the door with a wooden spoon, leaving the meringues inside until cool.
*If your almond butter is not salted, you can just stir in a pinch of salt before adding the butter to the meringue.