No cookie repertoire is complete without a few meringue cookie recipes.
Many people consider these too difficult to make. Not so.
Once you learn the basic principles of making meringues, you can create your own sweet treats.
Meringue cookie recipes don't vary greatly. It is really just a matter of beating sugar and egg white together.
All you need is a basic meringue recipe and you can create an array of different shapes and flavors.
These are ideal for children's birthday parties. With a little ingenuity and some imagination, you can create little critters that will delight the kids.
Always have the egg whites at room temperature. Cold egg whites incorporate less air than those at room temperature.
Keeping moisture away from your meringue mixture is crucial. Even moisture in your kitchen will affect the outcome of your meringues.
Make sure all cooking utensils are completely dry and grease free. Ideally wash your utensils with hot water and dry completely before you begin.
Beat the egg whites into soft or stiff peaks, as the recipe specifies. The aim is to reach maximum volume without overbeating.
Caster or superfine sugar is preferable as it dissolves faster than the granulated sugar.
The sugar should be added gradually and beaten until just combined.
Once all the sugar has been added, beat until stiff peaks form i.e. the mixture forms peaks that hold their shape when the beaters are lifted out. The mixture should be smooth and glossy and the sugar completely dissolved. Discontinue beating when you have reached this stage.
To test whether the meringue is ready, rub a little of the mixture between your thumb and finger. It should feel smooth and slightly gritty. If overly gritty beat for a little longer.
Meringues are baked in a low oven until they are dried out and then cooled down gradually.
This is a basic meringue recipe and can be used to produce many delectable creations, such as meringue baskets, meringue shells or as a topping for pies.
Preheat the oven to 150°C / 300°F. Line two baking trays with baking or parchment paper.
Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
Gradually add the superfine sugar a little at a time, beating after each addition.
Continue beating until the meringue mixture is thick and glossy and the sugar is dissolved.
Spoon into a piping bag and pipe desired shapes on the baking trays.
Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, or until just crisp. Turn off the oven and leave the meringues in the oven with the door slightly ajar until cooled.
These yummy confections can be made from the basic meringue cookie recipe above.
Prepare the meringue cookie recipe above until the mixture is thick and glossy then add 1 tablespoon sifted cocoa powder. Beat until thoroughly incorporated.
Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a plain round nozzle. Pipe 8 cm / 3 inch lengths onto baking trays lined with parchment paper and bake in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes. When cooled drizzle with melted chocolate or mix together some dark cocoa powder with a little confectioners sugar and dust over the top.
Prepare the meringue recipe above to the stage where it is thick and glossy. Beat in 1 tablespoon custard powder and spoon into a piping bag fitted with a plain round nozzle. Pipe spirals, starting from the middle and working out, onto the prepared trays. Bake as above. Serve dusted with confectioners sugar.
Prepare the basic recipe to the thick and glossy stage. Beat in 2 - 3 teaspoons instant coffee powder. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a small star nozzle and pipe small stars onto the prepared trays. Bake as above.
When cooled, sandwich the kisses together with melted chocolate or a cream filling.
Prepare as above until the mixture is thick and glossy then beat in 2 tablespoons ground hazelnuts. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle. Pipe 8 cm / 3 inch lengths in a zig-zag pattern onto the prepared trays and bake as above.
To serve, dust with a mixture of confectioners sugar and ground cinnamon or drizzle with melted chocolate.
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