The Best Meringue I Ever Invented

I must confess – this is the first and only meringue cookie I’ve ever invented but they turned out so yummy that I’m thinking I might have to experiment some more! I researched a lot of recipes before deciding to venture out on my own.  I decided to go with more of an Italian meringue method. It’s a little more work to get set up but you don’t have to worry about over-beating the whites and having them fall and it’s less likely to weep because the egg whites essentially get cooked by the hot syrup. You’re supposed to use a candy thermometer for the sugar syrup, but I’ve had great success with meringues for my lemon meringue pie using just timing which I find simpler than taking the temperature of boiling sugar. Coming up with the 6 egg whites needed wasn’t a problem because I’ve been making panettone again this year and each batch of dough calls for 3 eggs and 6 egg yolks.  For more on the panettone, see my blog on the subject.  This recipe is a perfect fit into my holiday baking!

They aren’t very pretty, I probably should have taken the time to find my pastry bag and tips and piped them properly instead of just squishing them out of the clipped end of a Ziplock bag.  Maybe since they’re ugly they won’t get eaten so fast – that isn’t working for me – I gobbled 3 just setting up the picture!

DSC_1089Mysterious Meringues

Ingredients
6 egg whites (room temperature)
10 1/2 oz (300g) superfine sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp Chinese five spice powder

 

Place sugar in a small saucepan. Add 1/2 cup of water and bring to a boil.  Keep at a gentle boil for 4 minutes then remove from heat.

Place egg whites in bowl of stand mixer with whisk attachment.  Turn on med-low until they start to get white and foamy.  Add cream of tartar and salt and beat at medium speed until soft peaks start to form.  Then turn mixer to medium-high and carefully pour in the sugar syrup a little at a time with the mixer running.  (I transferred the sugar syrup to a glass measuring cup so I could pour it in very slowly, avoiding the whisk, and having boiling sugar fly around.) Keep beating on high for 6-8 minutes until the white start to cool down and they are stiff and glossy.

Remove bowl from mixer and fold in vanilla and five spice powder.  Transfer meringue to a pastry bag and pipe in 1 1/2 inch drops or drop by using two teaspoons onto parchment lined baking sheets (I filled 4 sheets – it makes a lot of cookies).

Bake at 200° for 2 hours and then let cool on the sheets.

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