Saturday, October 22, 2011

Meringue Cookies

Have you ever seen those white, round meringue cookies in the grocery store, or better yet, at a pastry shop, and thought you could make those yourself? YOU CAN! And, they are way better when you make them at home then the ones you get in a grocery store. I won't go as far as to say that they are quite as good as ones you can get in a fine pastry shop, but pretty darn close. These are a nice change up from chocolate chip cookies and the like. They are fun because you can make them any shape you want to. Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, makes these pretty large with an indentation in the middle so she can serve fresh fruit and whipped cream in the middle. Yum! You can add mini-chocolate chips to these, use them for dipping in fondue, or just eat them plain.

They are a snap to make, but they do take time! Make sure you have 3 hours or so. I know...that's a long time, but these are worth the wait. I got this particular recipe from the All Recipes website, which calls them "Authentic French Meringues."

4 egg whites
2.25 cups powdered sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Butter and flour a baking sheet, or put down a piece of parchment paper or Silpat.

2. In a glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites until foamy using an electric mixer. Sprinkle in sugar a little at a time, while continuing to whip at medium speed. When the mixture becomes stiff and shiny like satin, stop mixing (this took me almost 10 minutes on my KitchenAid), and transfer the mixture to a large pastry bag.

(I used a Ziploc bag - I put the mixture in, zipped it closed, maneuvered it all down to one side, used a pair of scissors to snip of the bottom corner of the bag, and voila! Instant piping bag!)

3. Pipe the meringue out onto the prepared baking sheet in your desired shapes.

4. Place the meringues in the oven and place a wooden spoon handle in the door to keep it from closing all the way. Bake for 3 hours, or until the meringues are dry, and can easily be removed from the pan. Allow cookies to cool completely before storing in an airtight container at room temperature.

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