I love meringues that are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. They remind me of my dehydrated marshmallows. Although they take a while to bake, they’re very easy to make. I took them into work and I was surprised at how many people associated them with fond memories of their mothers and grandmothers.
I made meringue cookies, but you could make meringue nests and top them with fresh fruits, sauce, custard, or whipped cream, etc. You could also add food colouring for themed occasions or add cocoa powder for chocolate meringues (try topping them with a chocolate chip). My co-worker told me that his mom hides a chocolate chip in the centre of her meringue cookies.
adapted from Laura Calder (Note: This makes 16 large meringues or a large batch of small to medium sized meringues.)
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
large pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla or 1/2 tsp almond extract
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
2/3 cup icing sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Preheat the oven to 225 F (110 C). In a small bowl, stir together the cream of tartar and granulated white sugar and set aside. In a stand mixer bowl, whip the egg whites and salt together until you have soft peaks. Then add the vanilla or almond extract and beat until well combined. Then whisk in the sugar and cream of tartar very gradually, a few spoonfuls at a time, until the meringue is stiff and the sugar has dissolved. Sift together the icing sugar and cornstarch into the bowl of meringue and gently fold with a rubber spatula until fully incorporated.
Pipe or spoon the meringues onto a silpat (silicone) mat lined baking sheet in your desired shape and size. Bake until cream-coloured and the tops are firm when tapped. Depending on the size of your meringues, this will take 40 minutes to 1 1/2 hours. The baking time will also depend on whether you like your meringues chewy on the inside (shorter baking time) or crisp all the way through (longer baking time). Allow the meringues to cool completely on the baking sheet. They will crisp up as they cool. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature.