It has been unusually dry here (and cold!) here this spring, absolutely perfect weather conditions to make meringues. Meringues take time but they are worth it! They cost pennies to make and have zero fat. I turned to the tome of recipe Bon Appetit Desserts for their version of vanilla meringues. Then I added some of my own touches to the recipe.
You begin with two room temperature egg whites. I like to separate my whites and yolks individually with two bowls just in case the yolk breaks. If it breaks and even the smallest amount of yolk gets in there, the eggs will not whip. In a very clean and dry bowl add the egg whites and 1/16 tsp of cream of tartar. Using a stand or a hand mixer, begin beating together.
Beat until firm peaks form. This will take a while but be patient, it is worth it!
Now according to the recipe you are supposed to add 7 tbsp of superfine sugar 1 tbsp at a time. I personally do not have superfine sugar so I used icing sugar instead. Icing sugar contains a little cornstarch which I wanted in my meringues. Cornstarch makes meringues crispy and melty when you eat them, without cornstarch they can get hard as a rock. I added an additional pinch of cornstarch after adding the icing sugar, just to be sure there was enough.
Following the recipe I added the 1/4 tsp of vanilla but I also added some maple extract to the meringues.
You beat everything together including a pinch of salt. See the texture and form in this photo? That is what you are looking for. The meringues need structure.
I love the combination of maple and pecans so I folded some roughly chopped pecans into the egg whites.
The book says to either drop level tablespoonfuls of meringue on a parchment-lined baking sheet with space in between them or use a piping bag to make 1 1/2″ diameter round meringues. Me? I used on ice cream scoop. Yes, they look a little weird but who cares? Bake in a preheated 200F oven for three hours. Cool completely on sheet for 30 minutes and then lift off parchment.
These were gorgeous! So delicious and fabulous! Made my way, they tasted like a campfire-kissed marshmallows with pecan crunch. They even get a beautiful toasted colour to them! Reg did not like the addition of the pecans but I did. I enjoyed that little bit of crunch. You could always substitute the pecans with Skor bits, I bet that would be out of this world.
I give these meringues five out of five wooden spoons. Light as air, beautifully golden and delicious, not super-bad for you… They are the perfect treat.