What do you do when you have left over egg whites from making too much ice cream? I get tired of eating scrambled egg whites for breakfast all the time. So what else can you make with egg whites?? Meringue!! Or meringue cookies!! Now that’s right up my alley 😉 Let me warn you though, I’ve never made meringue before, ever. So this post is a summary (rambling) of my experiment and adventure in making meringue cookies.
Although, it is my first time, I couldn’t well leave it alone and just make plain meringue cookies. I had to make chocolate meringue cookies, cuz chocolate is my friend… So I did my research, read a bunch of different recipes for meringue cookies. Most call for cream of tartar which I don’t have in my spice rack. And since I’m not going to buy it just for one recipe, I looked for a substitution, vinegar will do. See this post for different usage of cream of tartar and substitutions.
Alright, let’s start. I dissolved the sugar in the egg whites by putting it over a simmering pot of water, easy enough. Then beat it! Beat it good, until it’s shiny white and stiff peak forms. Got it on the first try, woah! I didn’t know it was so easy, piece of cake! Then I proceed to stir the cocoa powder into the meringue, using the “stir” speed on my mixer. All of a sudden, everything deflated and I ended up with a mess of a liquidy mixture that looks like it’s starting to separate… What the heck! Not cool, down the drain it goes.
Let’s try it again, repeat all steps until I need to add cocoa powder. This time I fold it in gently, ever so gently. It didn’t deflate this time, phew… Then I proceed to pipe the meringue onto a super nonstick baking sheet. I skipped the parchment paper. Let me tell you something, big mistake! DON’T SKIP THE PARCHMENT PAPER! It will be a pain in the arse to remove them from the cookie sheet. I don’t know why I didn’t use parchment paper, laziness?? Don’t be like me.
We got to the last step now, yay! Baking and drying them in the oven, low and slow everyone said! I baked these at 200°F for 2 hours and left them in the oven to dry overnight. The next day, I’m anticipating delicious chocolate meringue cookies (for breakfast), but what did I get? Squishy, sticky meringue cookies that get stuck to your teeth… Bleh… Now taking in consideration I’ve never made these before, and I’ve never even had meringue cookies before, I had no idea if that’s how they’re supposed to be. But I’d imagine the texture would be more… crunchy? 🙁 I almost threw these out until I told myself to just try and bake them again and see. If it doesn’t work, I would give up meringue forever. So I threw them back in the oven at 250°F for 4 hours. And amazingly, they came out dry and crunchy at last! They melt in your mouth and are very chocolaty too. I like this version much better!
So what’s the moral of the story?? Mmm… your oven temperature may not always be right. A method that works for someone may not always work for you. Don’t take every recipe at face value, try it and figure out what works and does not works for you. Don’t be too quick to criticize someone’s recipe if it doesn’t work for you, there may be many factors affecting it. Think of a recipe as a starting point, and inspiration to create the dish and modify to fit your needs. 🙂
Wow, this must be the longest post I’ve ever written here. If you are still reading, thank you so much for listening to (reading) my rambles! Much love!
- 4 egg white
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon vinegar
- A large pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder (I used Dutch processed)
- Preheat oven to 250°F.
- Add egg whites, sugar and vinegar to a heat proof mixing bowl (I used the stainless steel bowl that comes with my stand mixer). Place this bowl over a pot of simmering water (not boiling, so that you don’t cook your egg) and whisk the egg until sugar dissolves and you can’t feel the sugar granules with your fingers. The mixture should only be slightly warm.
- Remove from heat, transfer the bowl to your stand mixer and beat with the whisk attachment on medium low until foamy.
- Add salt and vanilla, continue whisking on medium until stiff peak. The meringue should now be a shiny white and the tip should stand up when you flip the whisk over.
- Sift cocoa powder over the meringue and gently fold it in with a spatula.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, dot the bottom corners of the parchment with meringue so it doesn’t lift up.
- Transfer meringue to a pastry bag and pipe your desire shape or simple spoon the meringue onto the parchment paper.
- I used an open star tip and got about 3 dozen meringue cookies on the baking sheet, each cookie was about 1” – 1.5” wide and 1” – 1.5” high.
- Bake in the oven for 4 - 5 hours. In the last hour, prop the oven door open with a cork trivet or wooden spoon to allow moisture to escape and to make sure the cookies can be dry completely.
- Check to make sure the cookies are dry to the touch and not squishy. Turn off oven and leave them in the oven to dry throughout the day or overnight.