I have a very serious disorder. In law school we called it PTSBD, pre-test stress baking disorder. Basically there were always a few of us who stress baked and the law school around finals time turned into a free bakery. What, we weren’t going to eat all that ourselves, we’d be 300 pounds 🙂
Now I have a modified version of PTSBD. I call it PRSBD, post-rejection stress baking disorder. After I get a no from a magazine for a fiction submission or I lose a writing contest, I want to bake. So tonight, I bake 🙂 I love meringue cookies and it took me awhile to Frankenstein (It is so a verb!) some different recipes together to make one that worked, so those cookies are my go to. I may try something else tonight on top of those.
I’ll post pics and other recipes later. For now, here’s Amie’s Meringue Cookie Recipe:
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.
2 Baking Sheets, Electric Beater (trust me, you don’t want to use a whisk for half an hour) and Aluminum Foil
4 Egg Whites, at room temperature (The eggs separate better when they’re warmer and you can’t have even a drop of yolk in the mix because it’ll ruin your meringue.)
1/2 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
1 cup Caster Sugar, also called Baker’s Sugar or Super Fine Sugar (so yeah, get the sugar you want to take out to dinner and call pretty, basically 🙂
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
Separate the eggs and put the egg yolks in the fridge to use later or just toss them out.
Beat egg whites in large bowl with mixer on medium until they are all frothy.
Add cream of tartar and keep beating until soft peaks form (If you’re not sure, you need to beat more because you’ll know when you have peaks.)
Increase speed to medium-high. Add sugar, 1 spoonful at a time, beating until sugar is dissolved and then add the next spoonful. This is going to take some time. You have to make sure the sugar dissolves. (Basically, beat it like a redheaded stepchild. No, I don’t know where that expression came from either.)
When you’re about halfway through the sugar, add the extract.
Preheat oven to 225°F (I do it at this point because the mixing takes so long you may as well wait on preheating unless your oven takes half an hour to warm.)
Then go back to adding the sugar.
When it’s forming stiff peaks and running up the bowl trying to get away from you because it’s had enough, it’s done. You may not have added all the sugar, that’s okay, don’t force it. When it’s all still, sticking up and (yes, it really does this) running away from you, it’s ready.
Put the foil on the baking sheets.
Take a spoon and scoop out a big spoonful and drop the meringue onto the foil covered baking sheet.
Drop the spoonfuls about 1 inch apart.
Bake the meringues for 45 minutes. Do not open the oven while they’re cooking.
At 45 minutes, turn the oven off. Leave the meringues there for at least an hour, overnight if you can.
Then check on them. They’ll probably still be semi-sticky, at least they are in a high humidity area. If they’re at all sticky (check the bottoms because they’ll sometimes still be soft inside and at the bottom) put them in the oven at 225°F for another 30 minutes.
Take them out and let them cool. They should be crispy inside and out once cool. If they are, they’re ready to go. Serve them or keep them covered until served.
If they get a little squishy and chewy again (from sucking up humidity as they sit out) pop them in the oven at 225°F for another 10 to 30 minutes to dry them out again.