If you’re anything like us, you often find yourself in the position of having too many egg whites on hand. This is due entirely to Jon’s tendency to make fabulous homemade ice cream, full of cream and egg yolks, plus our extreme dislike of scrambled egg whites (I’ve tried adding a bit of extra white to regular scrambled eggs, and I’m not crazy about that either). What to do with all those egg whites? It finally occurred to me to start making meringue.
The main way I’ve seen baked meringue is as a pavlova, or the big messy pillows that French bakeries all seem to have piled up in their windows. I wanted a small, bite-sized cookie, so I hunted around and found some recipes to try. The first batch I made, I just spooned out the batter in lumps like drop biscuits, and didn’t bake them quite long enough. They were delicious but very sticky. This last time, I used a piping tube to make evenly sized dollops, then baked them very slowly for two hours and gave them an extra hour in the oven to dry out. They were perfect – crispy to bite into, then melting away. Not to mention adorable. The few remaining cookies that sat out overnight began to get a bit soft, so they were like slightly stale marshmallows – which was kind of wonderful.
For flavor, I’m finding that you can add a small amount of extra liquid or other ingredient, but nothing that will weigh down the delicate batter too much. I’ve tried vanilla, which is fine but a little dull. For this last batch I added Zaya rum, which is very sweet and vanilla in flavor but also rich and golden-tasting. I’m excited to try different flavorings in future batches, maybe limoncello? Booze seems to work well since it’s so concentrated. I’ve also seen ground nuts, especially almonds, and whole cocoa nibs added to meringue.
We generally have 6 egg whites left after making ice cream, but I found that a batch of meringue made with all six is way too much to bake at once. A recipe using 3 whites seems to be about right.
Bite-size Meringue Cookies
Makes about 60 cookies (which sounds like a lot, but they go fast). Adapted from The Kitchn
- 3 egg whites
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 Tbsp rum or other intensely flavored liquid
Preheat the oven to 200°. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
Put the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on high, until you are getting soft peaks. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat. Add the sugar one spoonful at a time, letting it beat into the whites. The mixture will get thick and glossy. Add the rum or other liquid and beat in.
Pile the meringue into a piping tube. Pipe out blobs of it onto the parchment like big Hershey’s kisses, or whatever shape you like. Whatever size you decide to make them, try to stay consistent, though. The cookies can be quite close together. When the sheets are full, put them into the oven and let bake for two hours, checking occasionally to make sure the oven isn’t too hot – you don’t want the meringues to color up, just dry out.
After two hours, turn off the oven and let the cookies sit in there another hour or more to finish drying.
Eat within a day or two.