As Alton Brown says, "Organization will set you free".
Anyways, After making creme brulee (more on that later), I had some extra egg whites, and my hubby suggested I should make meringue cookies with them. What a good idea! First, to find a recipe. And who was there for me? The Taste of Home Cooking Cookbook. Sigh. It's really awesome, isn't it.
The recipe looks pretty much exactly like meringue for a lemon meringue pie- one of my favorite pies to make, so I figured that it should be a pretty easy task.
Let egg whites sit out for 30 minutes to come more to room temperature.
Beat the egg whites, vanilla and cream of tartar until soft peaks form in a metal or glass bowl. It is important you don't use plastic because plastic easily scratches and these scratches hold things like fat which don't allow egg whites to stiffen up when beaten.
Then, slowly add in sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. (check this page out on beating egg whites)
Here is where I started to stray from the recipe before me. My book had 2 cookie recipes, both with 1/4 cup of sugar per egg white- the meringues at this point were pretty much the same in both recipes. However, one recipe says to bake teaspoon sized cookies at 250 degrees for 40-45 minutes, then let sit in the oven for 1 and 1/2 hours after you turn it off. The other recipe says to bake at 250 degrees for 30-35 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack.
You can guess which route I took. I baked them for 35 minutes and put them on cooling racks. They were super tasty. Very light, with a hint of vanilla. Later that evening, I put them in a zip top bag, and the next morning they were a bit more soft than before. I think the combination of being piled together, and any moisture in the air didn't work out for them. I put them all back on a cooling rack, and soon they were just fine again.
I think next time I'll follow the other recipe. Bake for 40-45 minutes, turn of fthe oven and let them sit in it for another hour and a half. It really ensures that they dry out and don't end up sticky or mushy.
3 egg whites
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
1/8 tsp. salt
3/4 c. sugar
Preheat oven to 250 degrees
Set out egg whites in a bowl for about 30 minutes before using so they can come to room temperature.
Beat the egg whites, vanilla, cream of tartar and salt on medium speed until soft peaks form.
Turn the speed up to high and gradually add the sugar, about a tablespoon at a time. Beat until all of the sugar is dissolved and you have lovely stiff peaks.
Drop the meringue by rounded teaspoons about an inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Turn off the oven and leave those meringues in there with the door closed for another hour and a half.
Take out your meringues and let them cool on wire cooling racks.
This recipe is linked to Mouthwatering Monday!