Lately, nothing excites me more than meringue. It's like magic - watching egg whites grow to multiple times their original size and become stable and glossy with the addition of sugar. There are several different types of meringues and the one we'll use here is a standard version. However there's also Italian meringue, where the sugar is first heated with water to become a simple syrup. There's Swiss meringue, where the egg whites are whipped over a double boiler with sugar. And then there's French meringue, which incorporates the egg yolks as well. These are all cooked meringues, which means they're ready to be used as is. Here, as we plan to bake our meringue cookies, we'll use a standard meringue, which does not precook the egg whites but leaves that dirty business to the oven.
But these cookies! They're light and crispy, like angelic crackers of delicate vanilla sweetness. They crumble on your tongue, perfectly formed and fragile. They're easy to make and great to keep around for a pop of something sweet at only 10 calories apiece.
3 egg whites
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
pinch of salt
2/3 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 250.
Whip egg whites with vanilla, cream of tartar, and salt until frothy. While whipping, slowly add sugar until mixture becomes smooth and glossy and holds stiff peaks. Fill piping bag with meringue and pipe in desired shape on a silpat or parchment-paper lined sheet tray. Bake for 40-40-45 minutes or until dry to the touch. Turn off oven and allow to cool in oven for 1 hour.