How to Make Meringue Cookies
Egg whites and sugar make these cookies light and airy; the resulting treats are far from ordinary. Learn how to make them with these five simple steps and tips.
Meringues are unlike any other cookie. They melt in your mouth, and the basic formula–stiffly beaten egg whites and sugar–is virtually fat free and a blank canvas waiting to take on a variety of flavors.
Start with chilled eggs, since they're easier to separate without breaking the yolks. Gently crack the egg, keeping the shell together. Hold a cupped hand over a bowl. With the other, gently separate the shell along the crack, letting the yolk and white drip into your waiting hand. Keeping the solid yolk in your hand, allow the white to fall through your fingers into the bowl below. Fat, which is found in yolks, is the enemy of light, airy, stiffly beaten egg whites. Reserve the yolk in a separate bowl for another use, and throw away the shell.
Place the egg whites and cream of tartar (added to stabilize the egg whites) in a large, clean bowl; beat with a mixer with clean, dry beaters at medium speed until soft peaks form.
Increase the mixer speed to high, and gradually add granulated sugar and then powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Add vanilla seeds and extract; beat just until blended.
For picture-perfect meringues, spoon the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip; pipe 60 mounds onto prepared baking sheets.
You can also scoop the batter with a spoon, using your finger to transfer the batter onto the baking sheets. Bake the meringues slowly at 225° for 1 1/2 hours. Turn the oven off, and leave the meringues in the oven with the door closed for 1 1/2 hours or until the meringues are dry.