By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey
Video editing by Candace Brower
I love a meringue cookie especially for a beginning baker, because they are very forgiving. You can color, shape and flavor them in any way. Basically, you can’t screw them up.
For these Valentine’s Day treats (that my husband LOVES), I chose a heart shape…a certain shade of violet…and a rich vanilla flavor.
Violet Meringue Hearts
(vanilla flavored lilac meringue clouds)
Makes 10 (3-inch) cookies
What you need:
3 large egg whites
1/4 t cream of tartar
3/4 cup extra fine sugar
Purple food coloring (use any color you like)
Silver dragées (optional)
What to do:
Preheat oven to 200ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or use a bowl and a hand mixer) add the eggs and whip until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and whip until the mixture becomes thicker and holds a soft peak. With the mixer running, gradually add the sugar in a slow stream. Beat until the mixture is glossy and thick (The meringue is done when it holds stiff peaks and when you rub a little between your thumb and index finger it does not feel gritty. If it feels gritty the sugar has not fully dissolved so keep beating until it feels smooth between your fingers)
Spoon the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe onto the prepared baking sheet into heart shapes. Sprinkle the tops with dragées or other sprinkles if desired.
Bake for 90 minutes (rotating halfway through). The meringues are done when they are crisp, pale in color and release easily from the parchment paper. Turn the oven off and crack the door. Leave the meringues in the oven to finish drying for several hours or overnight.
Meringues can be stored, covered, for 5 days.
Pro Tip: Before piping the cookies on the baking sheet, place a little of the meringue on the underside of each corner of the parchment paper. This prevents the paper from sliding!