My love affair with meringue cookies began a few months ago, after happening upon the #meringues hashtag on Instagram. (If you haven’t had a look, I highly recommend it!) I found myself immediately enchanted by these fluffy, cloudlike cookies.
Pretty soon I learned that meringues are also low-calorie, which makes them all the more appealing. (Don’t get too excited, though–they’re pretty much pure sugar, so definitely not a “health” food!) And the ingredient list is short, basically just egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar. So, it wasn’t long before I decided to give meringue-making a try.
My first batch of homemade meringue cookies featured pastel colors and confetti sprinkles. All things considered, they actually turned out pretty well:
From there, I just kept experimenting. And experimenting. And experimenting. Chocolate meringues, strawberry jam meringues, unicorn-colored meringues…I kept coming up with new ways to prepare these tasty treats.
This flower version uses piping bags and tips to make the leaf and flower shapes. However, you can just as easily use a spoon to drop your meringue mixture onto cookie sheets, or cut the corner off of a large ziploc bag for a cheap DIY pastry bag approach.
These flower meringues were also the first time I used my new gel food coloring set, and was quite happy with the results. I especially liked having access to a true purple, which (despite years of art training and paint-mixing!) causes me trouble every time I attempt to mix it using standard grocery store food coloring.
Meringue Tips and Tricks
As I’ve been perfecting my meringue cookie technique, the biggest things I’ve learned are: a) the importance of using superfine sugar, and b) how much the end results will vary based on you equipment, ingredients, and even the weather!
I’ve found that grinding your granulated sugar into a finer caster sugar produces a much fluffier, less grainy cookie. (You can also use caster/superfine sugar if you happen have it handy. However, it can be difficult to find in American grocery stores.) I make my caster sugar by simply pulsing granulated sugar in a coffee grinder for a few seconds.
Meringue baking times and temperatures can vary quite a bit depending on your oven, the weather, and even the specific ingredients (jams, chocolate chips, colorings) you’ve added to your meringues. Some recipes call for higher temperatures and faster bake times, while others suggest lower temperatures and more time spent in the oven.
When in doubt, I find that “low and slow” is the best approach to avoid having the sugar caramelize and the meringues turning brown around the edges. That said, it might take a practice batch or two to find the best meringue baking method for your oven.
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