Monday, December 21, 2009

12 Days of Christmas Cookies - Day 7 - Meringues

so, it's getting to the point where i have to double-up cookie days. today i am doing day 7 and 8. whew.
first up are meringues. i have always loved these. they are so light and airy. the only problem with that is i feel like i can eat a bunch of them without realizing it.

these are naturally low in calories because they are made with egg whites. no yolks, no butter, no flour, but there is sugar. and pure sugar is the only thing that will work here. otherwise, they won't harden up like you want them too.

you can make them festive by adding a drop or two of food coloring at the end and just folding it in a bit so it looks swirly. i am out of food coloring so i wasn't able to do that. you can also flavor them differently by using a different extract (lemon perhaps, oooh, or almond - i even have some peppermint oil which may be very tasty) or by adding cocoa powder to make them chocolate. yum!

here's the super easy recipe. the only thing you have to wait on is the egg whites are best at room temperature. i separate the eggs cold, then let them sit for an hour or so. they'll whip up fluffier that way.

(makes 40-45 depending on the size)

3 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

preheat oven to 200 degrees.

separate eggs being very careful not to allow any yolk into the whites. let sit for about an hour while the whites come to room temperature. add whites and cream of tartar to stand mixing bowl. whip at medium-high speed until soft peaks form. then start adding sugar 1 teaspoon at a time. add vanilla and whip until peaks are stiff and shiny.

scoop meringues into pastry bag or ziploc bag. (if using ziploc, snip off very end of one corner.) pipe into small 2" spirals on 2 parchment lined baking sheets (you do not need to leave too much room between meringues as they will not expand).

bake at 200 for 90 minutes until firm. turn off oven and crack door. let cool completely. store in airtight containers.

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