in the kitchen

in the kitchen

Friday, December 4, 2009

Meringue Cookies

Holiday Forgotten Kisses

4 egg whites, room temperature is best
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cream of tarter
1 ½ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
¾ cup chopped red and green candied cherries

Turn oven to 350 degrees. Beat egg whites to soft peaks. Continue to beat while adding salt and cream of tarter. Then slowly pour in sugar and continue to beat until glossy and stiff peaks form. Beat in extracts. Fold in chopped cherries and mix well. Drop spoonfuls of batter onto greased cookie sheets. Place cookies in oven and immediately turn off oven. Leave oven door closed for at least 2 hours (or overnight). Remove from pan and store covered loosely with plastic wrap. Makes approx. 4 dozen.

Hints: Room temperature egg whites will allow the sugar to dissolve a bit better but cold whites will work. Be sure to grease the sheets well so that the cookies will just slide off. The insides of the cookies should be chewy. I like the almond flavoring best but they are good with all vanilla. Fruit flavorings or peppermint will work as well. Try different stir-ins--like mini M&Ms or shaved chocolate, dried apricots, chopped pistachios, etc. Just make sure they don't add moisture to the meringue. Anything heavy you stir in will have a tendency to sink, so be sure to scoop through the bottom when spooning the batter onto the baking sheet if you have chosen a heavy item.

My mother used to make meringue cookies and put a Hershey's kiss in the center. As a child I couldn't understand why she would ruin a kiss like that! I really like the texture and taste of the meringue now, but I still take my Hershey's kisses straight.

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