Meringues

Meringues — what better way to watch your waistline and still have treats! Crunchy-crisp, feather-light and sweet, meringues are very easy to make, they're nonfat and fairly low in calories, and they add an elegant — and gluten-free — touch to the cookie plate. You can choose to leave them plain, flavored simply with a hint of vanilla, or bake them with grated bittersweet chocolate or nuts folded in. We offer an array of suggestions for flavor options — the choice is yours!

Meringues may be dropped by the tablespoonful onto parchment paper-lined-baking sheets, or piped, using a pastry bag for more elegant shapes.  Try our variation in the baker's tips below, and flavor some of the meringue with freeze-dried fruit for a naturally colorful, fruit-flavored take on this classic.  For more on meringue technique see our blog post, Meringue rules.

Prep
20 mins
Bake
2 hrs to 2 hrs 30 mins
Total
2 hrs 20 mins
Yield
36 to 48 meringues
Meringues

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 250°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, or lightly grease and flour them.

  2. In a medium bowl combine the two sugars and set aside.

  3. Place the room-temperature egg whites into the bowl of a mixer. Add the cream of tartar. Beat on slow speed until the cream of tartar is dissolved and the egg whites are foamy, about 2 minutes. Add the salt.

  4. Slowly increase the speed of the mixer. When the volume of the eggs has doubled and they begin to look opaque, sprinkle in sugar by the tablespoon. Continue to beat, until the whites are glossy and getting stiff. Slowly (over 4 to 5 minutes) add the remaining sugar and mix until it's evenly distributed and the whites hold a stiff peak.

  5. Fold in the flavoring and coloring of your choice, and nuts or chocolate, if desired.

  6. Drop the mixture by the tablespoonful onto the prepared pans, or fill a pastry bag and use it to pipe out any design you wish. Top them with more nuts, chocolate, sparkling white sugar, sprinkles, or other decorations.

  7. Place the meringues in the oven. After 30 minutes, reduce the oven heat to 225°F, and continue to bake for another 1 to 2 hours. For a chewy meringue, bake for the shorter time (about 1 hour). When the cookie is finished, its center will measure 165°F on an instant-read thermometer. For crunchy meringues, bake them for the longer time (about 2 hours). To test if they're done, pick one up; it should feel very light. Tap the bottom; it should feel hollow. Break one open; it should be dry. Taste the broken one while it's still warm; it should melt in your mouth. When the meringue is finished it should be almost white, with just a hint of color around the bottom. Turn off the oven, prop the door open and allow the meringues to cool on the pan in the oven for 30 minutes.

  8. Remove the meringues from the pans, and place them on a wire rack to cool completely. Store in airtight containers for up to several weeks.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Flavor Options

    To each batch, add one of the following flavor options with the color of your choice:
    — 1 teaspoon each vanilla and Princess Cake and Cookie Flavoring
    — 1/4 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia
    — 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon oil
    — 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon peppermint oil
    — 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon vanilla-butternut flavor (plus 1 cup chopped pecans)
    — 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon coconut flavoring (plus 1 cup toasted coconut)
    — 1 to 2 teaspoons raspberry flavoring
    — 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon orange oil
    — 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon lemon oil
    — 1 to 2 teaspoons almond extract, or 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon bitter almond oil (plus 1 cup toasted/chopped/sliced almonds)

  • Using a dark pan? Nestle another pan underneath it to create a layer of air, which will minimize dark-bottomed meringues.
  • Eggs are easiest to separate when cold, but the whites should be at room temperature when you beat them so that they'll achieve maximum volume. The easiest way to do this is to separate the eggs straight from the refrigerator, then place the bowl with the egg whites into another bowl filled with warm water. Use a fork to break up the whites. After about 10 minutes, the whites will be warm enough to use.
  • If you want a striped effect, divide the egg white mixture in half, and add the color to one half. Fold the white and colored meringues together, just until stripes form.
  • For naturally-colored, fruit-flavored meringues, combine 3/4 of the recipe's confectioners' sugar and 1/2 cup (15g) lightly crushed freeze-dried peaches in the bowl of a food processor. Process until powdered, then whisk the mixture through a strainer to remove any lumps.

    Stir a tablespoon of water into the mixture, then fold half the whipped meringue into it. Place both meringues into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip, alternating the colors as you fill the bag. Pipe and bake as the recipe directs.