In the mood for something French? Make sure you have a nice dry day, no rain, no humidity allowed, and whip these up. They make a wonderful dessert with ice cream, with a dollop of fresh fruit compote, or drizzled with dulce de leche. They are also the perfect gift, neatly wrapped in parchment paper and secured with a little baker’s string. These meringues make the world a better place one cookie at a time.
2 egg whites, room temperature
pinch of salt
¾ cup fine granulated sugar
¼ tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp cream of tartar (optional) *this will help the peaks stiffen, but the eggs will take care of that on their own, most traditional French recipes do not use cream of tartar.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Begin by separating out the egg whites, and allow them to come to room temperature. With an electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt (and cream of tartar if using) on medium-high speed, until they begin to thicken. Then slowly add sugar little by little. Add vanilla at the end. Keep whipping until the mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks, and the mixture holds its shape. If you tip the bowl upside down, the mixture should stay in the bowl.
If you want to flavor your meringues, this is where you can add espresso powder, unsweetened cocoa powder, mini chocolate chips, toasted nuts, etc. Gently fold these ingredients in with a spatula, careful not to deflate the mixture. However, I like mine plain with a cup of coffee. Their texture is enough for me, crunchy, light, fluffy, and they burst in your mouth.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Gently spoon meringue mixture into a pastry bag, again careful to not deflate the mixture. Pipe out mixture into little circular peaks, or desired shapes.
Place in oven and bake for approximately 1 ½ hours, or until firm and crisp. Turn off heat and let meringues cool in the oven for one more hour, with oven door slightly ajar.
Cook together, toast to each other, and enjoy!