I am a big fan of these little meringue cookies. Meringue cookies are light, and airy... they just melt in your mouth. Add food color and they become a whole different thing... they become party decorations, too! You can use them on trays, on cake pedestals, in paper cones or simply fill pretty bowls with them and completely change the look of your dessert table. Since these little gems only have a couple of ingredients, they are not only pretty and delicious, the are also very affordable. You can even make sandwich cookies out of them with Nutella, almond butter, icing, or any other favorite filling. They are simple to make- but they do require a little time so make them the day or night before your party.
PARTY MERINGUE COOKIES
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place your rack in the center of the oven so the air can circulate easily around the pan. Best to bake one pan at a time. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. "Glue" the parchment to the pan to prevent slipping by using a bit of butter on each corner of the pan.
Makes about 20 cookies, depending on the size
Use a pastry bag, a large plastic zip top bag, or even two large spoons to form the cookies.
6 egg whites
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (use superfine sugar if you have it- it dissolves faster)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or sub your favorite flavor. I like almond equally as well for the white cookies)
OPTIONAL: a very tiny drop of food coloring to make pastel colored cookies
Fit your mixer with the wire whisk attachment. Put the egg whites into the bowl of the mixer and beat on low-medium speed until they are frothy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Turn up the speed on the mixer to medium-high and begin to add the sugar a little at a time, giving each addition a minute to fully incorporate before adding the next bit. Continue to beat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture holds very stiff peaks. You can rub a bit between your fingers to check to see if it is gritty-- if it is, it needs more time. Keep beating the egg whites until you can no longer feel the sugar. Beat in the vanilla.
Use a spatula to transfer the meringue to a plastic bag. Easily work the meringue into the corner of the plastic bag and snip the corner of the bag. Pipe 2- 2 1/2" rounds, leaving a little room between each one. If you mess up on the piping, just scrape it off and put it back in the bag and try again. (It usually takes me a couple of tries before I get it going the way I want them to look.)
Bake for 1 1/2-2 hours. Make sure to turn the pan halfway through so that the cookies bake evenly. They are done when they are pale and crisp. Turn off the oven at this point and leave the cookies in the oven overnight to dry out completely.
These can be stored in airtight plastic containers at room temperature for up to a week.