The first time I made meringues, I made an epic mess. Filling a pastry bag with sticky, oozy batter was a recipe for disaster, and my piping skills left a lot to be desired. Thankfully, Andy’s never been picky about how food looks, only about how it tastes. And because I’m
stubborn persistent, I didn’t let that first experience slow me down.
I invested in an icing gun and started practicing my piping skills. And then, for the final piece of the puzzle, I bought an ice cream maker. (This is the part of the story where you’re sure that I’m mixing up my metaphors, or at least my recipes, right? Stay with me – I promise I’m going somewhere with this.)
I make a lot of ice cream, and ice cream calls for a lot of egg yolks. Which means that I have a freezer full of egg whites, just waiting for greatness. Some of the egg whites end up in my favorite frosting, but it’s been a while since I’ve made cake. And since I’m on a mission to clear out some space in the freezer, I knew I’d need to do something with these egg whites.
The solution = meringues. They’re relatively easy cookies, and they’re completely hands-off once you get them in the oven. They do take at least 2 hours to bake, and I ended up shutting off the oven and leaving them in the oven overnight.
I made these cookies for a bachelorette party for a friend. Normally, I made cake (or cheesecake) for parties, but I needed the dessert to be both gluten and dairy-free. I used vanilla sugar, vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds for three times the vanilla flavor. I was happy with the way they turned out, and everyone loved them.
Triple Vanilla Meringues
5 egg whites, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups vanilla sugar*
pinch of cream of tartar
seeds from 1 vanilla bean
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 175 degrees.
Place the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in a heat-proof bowl of an electric stand mixer. Set the bowl over a pot of gently simmering water. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sugar dissolves completely and the mixture is warm. (This takes me about 5 minutes.)
Remove the bowl from the pan and place on the mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat the mixture until stiff, glossy peaks form. Be sure to begin on a low speed and gradually increase the mixer speed as you go. Add in the vanilla bean seeds and the vanilla extract.
Transfer the batter to a piping bag (or icing gun!) fitted with a large star tip. Pipe batter into 1 1/2″ swirls about 1/2″ apart on the prepared baking sheets.
Bake until cookies are dry and can be easily lifted from the baking sheets, about 2 hours. Store in a single layer in an airtight container.
*To make vanilla sugar, place a split, scraped vanilla bean pod in an airtight container with granulated sugar. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes – longer is better – I let mine sit all day.
Makes about 60 cookies, depending on how large you pipe them.
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cookies
Click here for a printable version.