Bake This Sweet Meringue Cookies Recipe for Valentine's Day by Ann Marie Patitucci
Did you know that meringue originated in Switzerland in 1720? I only recently learned this myself. It was invented by a Swiss pastry chef named Gasparini (I should note, though, that some sources say meringue already existed by then and the chef only improved the recipe). Over time, Italian and French chefs have created their own versions, so today you may come across three different types of meringue: Swiss, Italian and French.
Meringue, named for Meiringen, Switzerland, translates to “a crisp cooked mixture of sugar and white of eggs.” Meringue cookies are easy to make, require few ingredients and are easy to customize, too. For instance, because you pipe them onto the baking sheet, you can easily create whatever shape you like. In addition, a little food coloring allows you to get creative with the color(s), too.
No matter the shape or color, you’ll find that meringues are quite different from the average cookie. They are typically on the sweet side and have a crisp texture that instantly melts in your mouth (really!). If you have any left over (doubtful!), you can store meringue cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days (some sources will say up to two weeks but I like to err on the side of caution).
Prep Time: 25 minutes plus time to cool
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: Makes about 2 dozen
- 3 large egg whites
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- red food coloring
Here’s how to make it:
- Place egg whites in a large mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment. Set aside and let them stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Add vanilla and cream of tartar to the mixing bowl with egg whites, then beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Raise speed to high and gradually beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until stiff peaks form. Remove 1/4 cup of the mixture and use red food coloring to tint it pink. Then lightly swirl pink mixture into remaining meringue.
- Fill a pastry bag with the meringue. If you’d like your cookies to be heart shaped, pipe 2-inch heart shapes onto prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. If you’d rather not have hearts, place small drops of meringue onto prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
- Bake meringue until set and dry, about 20 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave cookies in oven until the oven has completely cooled.
Pro Tip: If your cookies are a bit chewy, it’s usually a sign that they’re underbaked. But not to worry! You can try returning the cookies back to the oven on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet at 200 degrees F for 10 minutes to try crisping them up a little.
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