SWEET! Vermont maple meringues

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Why are so many people afraid to make meringue?

Nothing could be simpler or more satisfactory than beating up a couple of egg whites and watching them turn into a glossy, airy cloud. Especially when that cloud is flavored with maple – like the clouds of steam that’ll be blanketing the Vermont countryside in the next month or so, as maple sugaring season kicks into high gear.

Gone are the days when draft horses – Bob and Mike, or maybe Pete and Jim – hauled a sledge through the snowy woods, waiting patiently while their driver emptied wooden buckets of sap from his “sugar bush” – the farm’s stand of sugar maple trees. These days, large operations (and even many smaller ones) funnel sap via plastic tubing from the trees to a central evaporator, where it’s boiled for hours and eventually becomes maple syrup.

Still, there are those who collect sap the old-fashioned way. Though a tractor or ATV has probably replaced Bob and Mike, many small sugar makers still tap trees and empty buckets by hand.

And it’s a treasured Vermont tradition to sit around the fire in an open-sided sugarhouse, watching clear maple sap bubble for hours before finally thickening to a lovely, amber-gold syrup. More “wait” than work, tending the sap is a time for story-telling, reminiscence, and connecting with old friends.

This year, the season’s a bit late; daytime temperatures have been too cold. Sap won’t flow unless it’s cold at night, and near to above freezing during the day. And until the past couple of days, we’d been stuck in a trough of Arctic air; indeed, many are commenting that this winter has been colder, snowier, and longer than any of those in recent memory.

Global warming? Not in Vermont. Still, nature is inexorable. Spring will come, days will grow warmer, and the ping-ping-ping of sap dripping into metal buckets will be heard across the land.

With that nostalgic picture in mind, let’s make Vermont Maple Meringues.

Egg whites and sugar are the basic meringue formula, but this recipe replaces white sugar with maple. These cookies are cholesterol free, very low in fat (2 egg whites contain just a trace of fat) and – attention dieters! – they check in at fewer than 15 calories each. When  your sweet tooth calls, satisfy it with a couple of these melt-in-your-mouth goodies.

Maple sugar is what’s left after almost all the water is boiled from maple sap. The solid sugar that remains can be made into candy, or crushed to make pourable maple sugar. It’s about twice as sweet as granulated sugar, with wonderful maple flavor.

First, let’s talk about meringue in general.

Beating egg whites to a smooth, glossy puff is a snap, provided you start with a clean bowl and beaters, and make sure no egg yolk sneaks into the white while you’re separating the eggs. Simply crack an egg in half and, over a clean, dry bowl, pour the yolk from one half shell to the other several times. The yolk will remain intact, while the white will fall into the bowl below.

If the yolk breaks and starts to separate, throw it away before any gets into the white. If any yolk does get into the white, use one of the half-shells to scoop it out.

to make meringue, beat egg whites at the highest speed of your electric mixer until they’re smooth, glossy, and stiff enough to form peaks when you remove the beaters from the bowl. The addition of about 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar to the whites will help increase their volume and stability as you beat.

OK, let’s get started.

Preheat your oven to 225°F. Yes, 225°F; this isn’t a typo. Meringues like a long, slow bake.

Combine the following in a large bowl:

2 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
pinch of salt

Beat at high speed, using your mixer’s whisk attachment, if possible.

Beat until the whites are very foamy, and a soft peak forms when you lift the whisk out of the whites.

With the mixer going, gradually add 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (3 3/8 ounces) maple sugar.

Continue to beat till mixture is stiff and glossy. When you lift the whisk out of the whites, the peak will stand straight up, then gradually droop once the connection is broken.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment.

Drop the meringues by large teaspoonfuls onto the baking sheet. A teaspoon cookie scoop, dipped in water frequently, works well here.

The meringues won’t spread as they bake, so they can be spaced close together.

Sprinkle each meringue with additional maple sugar, if you like.

Bake the meringues for 2 hours.

Turn the heat off and leave the meringues in the oven until they’re completely cool and crunchy all the way through; this will take several hours at least. Overnight is a great option.

Remove the meringues from the oven. As you can see, they’ve darkened just a bit.

Pick one up – they’re light as a feather.

And no wonder – look at that bubble-filled interior!

CRUNCH!

How sweet is it… And I don’t mean just the meringues. This is the 500th post we’ve made to our King Arthur blog, which was launched in November, 2007. (To see how the blog has evolved, check out our very first post – quite a change!)

One thing that hasn’t changed is the friendliness, warmth, and caring we feel every day from our readers. YOU make this blog what it is: a place to learn, to share, and to grow. We look forward to the next 500 posts!

Read, rate, and review (please) our recipe for Vermont Maple Meringues.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. argentyne

    I love making meringues. They were the very first type of cookie I learned to make without any help! (The Sesame Street Cookbook taught me.)

    I shall have to see about these maple ones. I normally make chocolate chip ones. :D

    Reply
  2. sailortitan

    I make these every year for my xmas cookie packages. They are always a hit. <3

    One thing I do, though, is instead of using 100% maple sugar ($$$) I tone it down to about 1/3 maple sugar. The maple flavor is still nice and strong (and it's still *real* maple) but it's not quite as hard on the wallet as pure maple sugar.

    Reply
  3. empressqueenb

    Would it be possible to use regular or brown sugar & add some of your maple flavoring? The maple flavoring rocks by the way. I make maple walnut steel cut oats with it. Everyone who tries it goes crazy for it.

    No, brown sugar is much too wet. Just use white sugar and maple flavor. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  4. Vanessa

    Hey, this recipe looks delicious. When I was in grade 8 my favourite thing to eat was meringues, and I think my 8th-grade self would have fallen in love with this variation. But on a completely different note, I must correct one thing that you mentioned – about global warming. Here is a quote from the Times that can explain it far better than me:

    “The 2009 U.S. Climate Impacts Report found that large-scale cold-weather storm systems have gradually tracked to the north in the U.S. over the past 50 years. While the frequency of storms in the middle latitudes has decreased as the climate has warmed, the intensity of those storms has increased. That’s in part because of global warming — hotter air can hold more moisture, so when a storm gathers it can unleash massive amounts of snow. Colder air, by contrast, is drier; if we were in a truly vicious cold snap, like the one that occurred over much of the East Coast during parts of January, we would be unlikely to see heavy snowfall.”

    Sorry if I seem nit-picky, but global warming is a serious issue! Take care, and thanks for sharing this recipe!
    And thank you for sharing your knowledge on global warming! ~Amy @KAF

    Reply
  5. daphnewoman

    Hooray! 500 posts! I can’t believe it – I do remember the very first one! Your blog is the first one I check every day. I have gotten so many great ideas (freezing shaped cookies to bake later in small batches) and wonderful recipes – you are absolutely the BEST place on the Web. If I didn’t live clear across the country in Oregon (right up the hill from Bob’s Red Mill) I’d certainly be a regular visitor to your store in person. Thanks a million.

    Penny

    Reply
  6. kittykat3308

    I do not usually eat many sweets but I love meringues and I imagine that maple ones would be hard to resist. I also appreciate the fact that they all natural. After all, that’s why most of bake. Thanks for another great recipe.

    Kat

    Reply
  7. Sandra (Alicante)

    Congratulations on the Blog! I check for new entries every day and while I don’t always make the creations, I certainly enjoy reading them. This reminds me of a sorry tale from last year. Our younger son met an American girl at Uni in the UK. They have a long distance relationship and last year were back and forth. She went to the UK last summer, he drove her over here, through France to Southern Spain. Asked if there was anything I would like, I asked for some authentic Maple syrup which she gladly brought thousands of miles. I was carrying it, on top of other stuff, from the car, not realising the bottle was glass, only to have it topple and smash on the steps of the house. Maple syrup everywhere. It may have been the most embarrassing meeting but it did break the ice! She is a lovely girl but when she visits again I won’t ask for anything breakable!

    Reply
  8. melissa

    oh how I love meringues, but they have ALWAYS eluded me. I can make any number of elaborate baked goods, but every time I’ve tried meringues in the past, they’ve fallen into flat puddles in the oven, which my husband dubbed “mer-wrongs”. :/ I’ve never really outlived the embarrassment so I just buy them now.

    Reply
  9. orders18431

    I love making meringues! They’re so easy and light (we make chocolate, lemon, and a yummy chocolate cinnamon). I’ve always found it easiest if you dump the meringue fluff into a large ziplock bag and snip off a corner and pipe it onto your sheet – less mess and you can make logs, too!

    Reply
  10. march7752

    I will definitely make these, since they would be gluten free. Last Christmas was my first being a Celiac, made several GF recipes for cookie exchange, this will be a favorite I’m sure. THANKS

    Reply
  11. HMB

    CONGRATULATIONS on your 500th post! You and your colleagues do such a fabulous job with this blog — it is educational, funny, warm and inspiring.

    Now, on to meringues. We call them Forgotten Cookies in our house because we “forget” them in the oven overnight. I’m looking forward to trying maple. Usually I make them with finely ground nuts (almonds or hazelnuts) and chocolate chips. So good and easy, and a great way to use up leftover egg whites.

    Reply
  12. KAF_MaryJane

    Wooo-hooo! 500 posts is just amazing to me, and I’m so proud to be a part of it all.

    I remember when my husband and I were kids days when his Dad and mine would take a bottle of rum out the the sugar house to tend the evaporator and shoot the breeze. We’d often find them out there a couple of hours later, snoozing in the warmth of the wood fire. Great memory, thanks for reminding us.

    ~ MaryJane

    Thanks, MJ – good team! :) PJH

    Reply
  13. sunkissmetwo

    I dont have any maple sugar on hand, but do have date sugar that looks like the same consistancy. What do you think about that being used? I am going to try that and will get back to you with the results.

    Bet that would work just fine – let us know, OK? PJH

    Hi – I actually just read an article on date sugar that says it doesn’t dissolve (since it’s not really sugar, per se; it’s ground dried dates). And since dissolved sugar is what helps strengthen the meringues and give them structure, this might not work… PJH

    Reply
  14. fran16250

    Congratulations on your 500th blog! What an awesome accomplishment! I am not a big blogger but I am a regular here! I love meringues and maple too. I will definately be making these. Now I have a use for the maple sugar I just bought. I’ll be making the maple shortbread cookies too!.
    How would it be if I added some nut meal to the meringues? I think the flavor would be great but any adjustments needed elsewhere?
    Hi Fran,
    Try folding in 1/4 cup of almond flour or other nut flour into the whipped meringue before scooping. Should work out just fine. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  15. milkwithknives

    HA! Mer-wrongs! I’ll add that to the lexicon along with spiffily!

    You know, I have always wanted to try making maple sugar, ever since reading the Laura Ingalls books as a child. I actually just started searching last week for instructions and methods on how to do it, and now this appears! It must be a sign. (grin) And I do love meringues, though I have only made mint ones before. I’ll add this to my “try” pile. Thanks so much.

    And wonderful job on the blog. Its evolution has been quite fun to see and participate in. Incidentally, I have recently really enjoyed the recipe links under the post titles. Great new feature. Thanks again!

    Thanks – I’m passing this along to our Web designer, the guy who figured out how to add those recipe links under the title. It’s his birthday today – Happy Birthday, Ben! :) PJH

    Reply
  16. "Mike Nolan"

    Congratulations on the 500th blog post, PJ, it’s such a treasure trove of goodies that I wish I had time to try them all. I’m not even sure I can list my favorites.

    Thanks so much, Mike. I VERY much appreciate your contributions to our community, and your kind comments here. PJH

    Reply
  17. Joanie

    Yours is the only blog I faithfully read daily (though I haven’t read all 500 posts!). It has provided endless inspiration and valuable information. I guess I’m moving on to the next step, because this is my first posting! I was hoping someone would ask this question, but since no one has, here goes… My meringues are always hollow, but based on your picture of the cross-section, yours are not. Any idea why?

    Yours are probably better than mine, Joanie! They’re actually supposed to be hollow. But I find that somehow the maple sugar is moister than granulated; using the same recipe with granulated sugar, I get hollow meringues, but the moisture in the maple sugar (or maybe moisture + acidity?) “weighs” them down a bit. That’s my theory, anyway… :) PJH

    Reply
  18. lsy524

    hey pj,
    kudos on 500! very cool!
    love this post & recipe…since i am on a meringue kick i am making these right away…i have all the ingredients & am ready to rock…er…bake!

    Thanks! Rock (bake) on! :) PJH

    Reply
  19. benita

    I love meringues and bake them often. That is whenever I go home to Kansas where the air is much dryer. I have moved to the South and find that meringues don’t work as well down here because the air is too heavy and humid. It takes much longer for the egg whites to beat to stiff peaks. This last weekend I beat egg whites for about 1/2 hour and never did get them to stiff peaks. I usually have no trouble with meringues but this time the air was too humid, it was drizzling outside, and they just wouldn’t stand up. I used what I had by turning it into a base for some cherry pie filling. It still looked impressive as a desert but it wasn’t the meringue cookies I had wanted.

    I always use the leftover egg whites to make lemon filling to put inside of your lemon braid bread, or make a lemon pie. That way I get two deserts out of those eggs.

    Reply
  20. lishy

    I adore this blog, and have learned so much about baking in the past couple of years reading it. I enjoy reading back through old posts, and love reading the new ones. I am much more creative and confident in the kitchen. I love your products, and the community of bakers. Also I can’t wait to make these meringues. I LOVE maple. I must say I am quite intrigued by the date sugar another person mentioned, where would I find it? My kiddos love dates, and I would love to find new ways to use date anything. Thanks for the great post, and keep up the amazing work you do for all of us!

    Bob’s Red Mill sells Date Sugar through their on-line store or you could take a look at your local health food store. – kelsey

    Date sugar not be such a good idea, in retrospect – see comment above, to sunkissmetwo – PJH

    Reply
  21. tarpleypolly

    Yum on the Maple Meringues. The method reminds me of my very first cookbook as a newlywed. My new mother-in-law gave me the Betty Crocker Good and Easy Cookbook. What became a family favorite was their recipe for Forgotten Meringues. Baked at 225 for an hour or two (book has long disappeared except in memory), then leave in the oven overnight. My youngsters loved them! I’m sure, as adults or children, they will love your version equally!
    Polly

    Reply
  22. Jane

    Can’t wait to try these, now I just need to buy me some mapple sugar!

    Also, thank you so much for this blog. It is really inspirational. I don’t like cooking or baking very much. But you make it look so delicious and not even all that hard! (:

    Thanks, Jane. I’ve always said, if you can read, you can bake… Glad we can inspire you to turn on the oven and turn out some goodies! :) PJH

    Reply
  23. Elisabeth

    I love meringues, but every time I have tried to bake them here in Idaho (right around 5,000 ft.) they never work out. Do you have any tips for making these cookies at a high altitude?

    Elisabeth, I think if you call our hotline (802-649-3717) they can help you out. They’ll need to know what doesn’t work out – are they dense? Crumbly? Moist? Best to talk this one out on the phone… Good luck – PJH

    Reply
  24. Julia

    Firstly, let me say thank you for all you do and to all the posters who ask questions and offer up feedback and baking tips.
    Secondly, I don’t mean to sound like a stick in the mud, but…….

    I like to read all the comments after the recipes and blog postings before I make a recipe for any tips/tricks others may have to offer, or interesting variations others have tried. It is rather annoying to read through ten comments of “oh, I HAVE to make these” or “these look so delicious!” for every comment of actual baking or anecdotal helpfulness. Of COURSE these recipes look great! You are KAF, for Pete’s sake! So taking the risk of sounding rude, can’t we try to just post comments that actual SAY SOMETHING! I mean, really, how many times do we have to read “Ooh, how delicious these must be!” I truly value questions/comments that have a story or offer advice, but so many comments of “nothingness……….”

    Julia, I think lots of people like the “feel good” aspect of enthusiastic, “thumbs up” comments. Personally, when I’m reading any kind of product review, I read quickly through the obvious “love it” comments (relishing them, for sure); then spend some time on comments offering advice (e.g., I was reading reviews of a bicycle this morning, and someone was giving hints about how to assemble it). But I do take all of them into account, when deciding whether or not to bake a recipe, purchase a bike, read a book… One person’s “nothingness” is another’s “yeah, so many people like this, it must be good and I can feel confident making it.” So – maybe you can simply skim past the comments you don’t need, and focus on those you value? PJH

    Reply
  25. Ricardo Neves Gonzalez - FMP-FASE - Petrópolis, R.J., BRAZIL

    Here in Brazil, the children loves Meringues. But we can´t find satisfatory ones to buy. They´re always so sweet and with dry interior gritty, not chewable like the bests are. I wanna know what´s the secret to improve and let our Meringues chewable inside with not sugar, sugar, sugar, dried sugar. I wanna try them like chewing gums, is it easy?

    Another words. Just to parabenizate KAF for this AMAZING blog. I think i´m that kind of guy who can´t live without be in tune with you, constantly. The next 500 posts will come between salty and sweeter and lots of new followers will enjoy what we are enjoying luckily, since that first post!!!!!
    My best wishes!

    Some bakers find a secret to less gritty merinques may be superfine sugar instead of table sugar. Superfine will dissolve quicker in the merinque mixture instead of leaving the gritty-ness! Irene @ KAF

    Ricardo, for chewy meringues, bake them less; take out when they’re as chewy as you like. Enjoy! PJH

    Reply
  26. xbaber

    I made meringues last weekend to use the whites after I made creme brulee for Valentine’s Day. DH said he usually doesn’t like meringues because they stick to his teeth, but the ones I made weren’t sticky at all and dissolved nicely in the mouth. He gobbled them down with no complaints.

    What would cause stickiness? I usually use cream of tartar, but was testing out a new recipe that called for vinegar instead. I made a basic vanilla meringue and then divided it in thirds to make vanilla, cocoa, and mocha chip. None of them were sticky, but the vanilla were the loftiest. It’s hard not to deflate the whites when adding the mix-ins.

    I’ll have to try making Ohio Maple Meringues with local maple sugar the next time I have extra egg whites on hand!

    Stickiness in meringues has to do with moisture content. The sugar in the mixture is always looking to attract water, from wherever it can get it. It could be that the extra liquid from the vinegar meant that you needed more drying time, or it could be that it was a more humid day. Susan

    Reply
  27. LeeH

    Re the maple meringues.. can maple syrup be substituted or would the moisture content upset the balance of the meringue?

    Lee, I haven’t tried maple syrup, but here’s what I think: it would be better to use maple flavor. The syrup would be lost, flavor-wise, unless you used so much of it that it would then upset the liquid balance. PJH

    Reply
  28. jthisell

    I made these a few weeks ago. They are so good! They taste great and keep for weeks in a tin. I didn’t have enough maple sugar so I used 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp. maple sugar and 1/4 cup of granulated sugar. I then added 1/8 tsp. maple flavor to enhance the flavor.

    Reply
  29. pat

    Can I use frozen egg whites for this recipe?

    Don’t see why not, Pat – so long as they whip up… PJH

    Reply
  30. Amanda Hollyer

    Living in the United Kingdom, I don’t have a chance of finding maple sugar, though I have some wonderful ‘C’ grade maple syrup. Any ideas how I might use ordinary white sugar, maybe with a bit of maple syrup, to get the amazing flavour? Thanks.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Amanda, try adding 1 tablespoon of your syrup to 1/2 cup sugar, see how that goes. If you can get your hands on any maple flavor, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of that, too. Good luck – PJH

    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Sure – they just won’t taste as sweet, as non-maple “maple” syrup isn’t as swet, and adding more to sweeten them up will tip the egg white/sugar balance… But they’ll still be light and fairly tasty. PJH

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