The first time I ever made meringues - sweet, crispy cookies made of egg whites - it did not go over well. I was using a recipe from one of my mom's cookbooks, and it was a hot, sticky summer day. Humidity is meringue's worst enemy. To make matters worse, since I was a kid (must have been about 10), I wasn't all that great at following directions. My raw meringues, which should have been very stiff and glossy, were literally puddles. I baked them anyway. Failure.
Since then, I've come a long way. I can now successfully make meringues, like this crispy-chewy version I made a couple of years ago. Well, most of the time. Last week, I decided to use up some extra egg whites I had hanging out in the freezer. I wanted to make a classic crispy meringue cookie, the kind that you can sometimes find in grocery stores in round plastic containers.
I stumbled about The Kitchn's version of meringues and thought it sounded perfect. One problem, though, was that it said to bake the meringues at 300F (the typical temperature for meringues is 200F) and I, ignoring my instincts, followed the directions perfectly. After only half of the recommended baking time had passed, the meringues were burnt. I am telling you, few baking mishaps smell worse than burnt sugary egg whites.
But I still really, really wanted meringues, so the next night, I made the recipe again, this time at 200F. They turned out perfectly! Crispy all the way through, a nice hit of vanilla flavour, and the melt-in-your-mouth texture that I was aiming for.
Click here for the recipe, but remember, do NOT bake these at 300F. Bake them at 200F. In the meringues shown in these pictures, I used 1.5 tsp. of vanilla and none of the recommended flavours mentioned in the Kitchn's post, although meringues do work very will with different flavours added in, and I recommend experimenting.