A simple recipe for white, crispy meringue cookies that will melt in your mouth. Make them any size or shape you want!
While there are many ways to make meringue, there is one important rule to remember in making it the authentic way, and that is the 1:2 ratio of egg whites to sugar. Meringue should be on the sweet side, with a crisp texture that will instantly melt in your mouth. After being given plenty of time to slowly bake, finished meringue will be white, shiny, and smooth.
Ingredients & Methods:
Egg whites: Separate the eggs while they are still cold as that’s when it’s the easiest. Then, cover and let sit to reach room temperature. Room temperature egg whites will whip up best and reach their highest volume.
Salt: We use just a pinch, but don’t leave it out. The salt cuts the sweetness and helps in stabilizing the egg whites so that they can reach their full volume.
Sugar: Don’t be tempted to use less sugar to cut the sweetness since it plays a big role in the meringue’s texture. It also helps with the stabilization of the egg whites – both while whipping and during baking. If you don’t use the amount suggested, the meringue may be too soft and eventually collapse.
Cookie size: I usually go for either large meringue cookies or traditional mini cookies called “kisses”. However, you can make them in any size or shape you want, just change the amount of baking time accordingly (shorter baking time for smaller meringues). Temperature will stay the same.
Piping or spooning: For perfectly shaped and even meringues, pipe the meringue using a pastry bag fitted with a round or star tip. Otherwise, drop mounds of meringue onto the baking sheet, using the help of 2 tablespoons.
Meringue kisses: Use a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch round or star tip. Hold the piping bag at a 90 degree angle from the surface (your hands will be vertical to the surface). Keep the tip close to the surface, and squeeze for a count of 3. Stop squeezing, and lift the bag straight up while releasing pressure to let a peak form.
Snow white cookies: I usually bake the cookies at 200F/90C and they turn out white. However, if your cookies have a slight tint after baking, decrease the temperature to 175F/80C next time – no lower than that – and increase the baking time. Also, be sure to bake the cookies in the lower part of the oven.
When are these babies ready? Usually once they appear dry and are easily lifted from the parchment paper with their bases intact. Sometimes, though, especially for large meringues, it’s hard to know if the center has baked properly. It’s ok if it’s quite soft and marshmallow-like, but it shouldn’t be sticky like gum. If you don’t care how white your meringues are, you can slightly increase the temperature and bake for less time.
- 3 large (100g/3.5 oz.) egg whites*, at room temperature
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup (100g/3.5 oz.) granulated or caster sugar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¾ cup (90g/3.2 oz.) powdered sugar
- Food coloring, optional
- Preheat oven to 200F/90C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Double-check that your mixer bowl is extra clean and not greasy, as that will cause the egg whites to not whip up properly. In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites and salt on low-medium speed until foamy and soft peaks start to form, approximately 40-50 seconds. Then, while mixer is running, add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, and continue whisking on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, meringue is glossy and completely smooth but not dry, and the sugar is fully dissolved (this part of adding the sugar and continues beating may take 5-10 minutes.). Beat in vanilla extract. Stop the mixer and add the powdered sugar. Fold gently by hand until combined and smooth. Fold in food coloring, if using.
- Immediately spoon mounds of meringue onto the prepared baking sheet, about 2.5-inch in diameter (for piping or “kisses” shape, refer to above post). These cookies don’t spread much, so you can place them quite close to each other. Place in the lower part of the oven and bake for 2-3 hours, or until the meringues are dry, their center isn’t sticky, and they are easily lifted from the parchment paper with their bases intact. Turn off the oven and, without removing, let meringues cool completely for at least one hour or overnight.
- Meringue cookies will keep for 2 weeks in an airtight container at room temperature.
- *If you have a scale, weigh the egg whites for best results. Make sure there are no egg yolks in there or it will ruin the meringue.
- *Remember that there’s no harm in baking the meringues for a longer time, so if you don’t feel that they’re quite ready yet, continue letting them bake.