If you’re like me, you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth, especially after dinner. Unfortunately, beach season is right around the corner, which means I’m less inclined to stuff my face with cookies (that’s not to say I don’t slip up when a troop of Girl Scouts is outside the grocery store selling Samoas and Thin Mints…).
What if I told you that I had a sweet snack that was easy to make, only 10 calories apiece, gluten-free, dairy-free, and tastes great? You’d probably tell me I must have lost my mind. Fortunately, I am sane (though I’m sure some would debate this), and this delicious treat does exist – they’re called meringues! They’re made of what you would expect with a name like that – whipped egg whites, sugar, and a few other ingredients.
If you’re interested, check out this great recipe straight from my King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion:
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- dash of salt
- 1/2 cup (3 and 1/2 ounces sugar)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- extra sugar, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large bowl, combine the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt. Beat until soft peaks form, then gradually add the sugar, continuing to beat until the mixture is stiff and glossy. Add the vanilla extract at the end.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil, shiny side up. Drop the meringue by large teaspoonfuls onto the paper and sprinkle each meringue with a bit of sugar. Bake for 1 and 1/2 hours. Turn off the heat and leave the meringues in the oven until they’re completely cool, 3 hours or more. These are good to make in the evening; they can be left in the oven, with the heat turned off, overnight. Store them in an airtight container to keep them crisp.
Looks like another really easy recipe, right? It definitely is! Keep reading to see how I made mine!
My first step was to preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Next, I dumped the egg whites, the cream of tartar, and the salt into the bowl of my Kitchen-Aid mixer.
I beat mixture on medium-high until soft peaks formed (this means when you pull the whisk attachment up, the meringue peaks fall over immediately).
Next, I slowly added the sugar to the meringue until it was stiff (when you pull the whisk attachment up, the peaks stand straight up and don’t fall) and glossy.
Next, I lined a cookie sheet with parchment paper. The recipe called for dropping the meringue onto the paper with a teaspoon, but I decided to try my hand at using a pastry bag. If you’re used to using a pastry bag, you’ll do fine, but I don’t have much practice, so it took a while to get them looking good. (Note for placement: these don’t really expand much, if any, while in the oven. You can put them pretty close to each other on the baking sheet.)
Here’s how they looked on the parchment:
Kinda looks like soft-serve, right? So, I have to admit, here’s the part where you’re supposed to sprinkle a little sugar on the top, but I totally forgot to do so. As it turns out, they really didn’t need the extra sugar – the meringues were wonderfully sweet just like they were.
Next, I popped the sheets (the recipe makes about 3 dozen, so I ended up using two cookie sheets) of meringues into the preheated oven and baked them for 90 minutes. After the bake time was up, I just turned the oven off and left them in there to cool as the oven cooled. I followed the recipe’s time-frame, letting them sit in the cooling oven for 3 hours. After that, I took the pans out and placed the meringues in plastic containers to keep them crisp.
Here’s how they looked after they came out of the oven:
The end result was a sweet, airy treat with a lovely crisp crunch when you bite into them. These would be really great to make if you have any guests over that have gluten or lactose intolerance, are ovo vegetarians, or are health nuts. According to the Baker’s Companion, three meringues are 31 calories, have 8 grams of sugar, 31 milligrams of sodium, and 8 milligrams of potassium.
If you tried this recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know what you thought! Happy baking, everyone!