My family has very strange rules about things sometimes. I think every family does. Things that you don’t realize are actually strange rules until someone who’s not one of the family points them out.
Obviously they start for one logical reason or another, but then as a kid you just kind of accept that that’s just how things are. Most of them had a reason at the beginning, but over time they become almost tradition, and no one knows how they got started.
Strange rules at our house:
- Only eat one banana.
- Don’t turn the burner on the stove up to high.
But most importantly: only make Grandma’s meringue cookies on a sunny day.
Only make them on a sunny day. It sounds a bit like witchcraft, doesn’t it? You half expect the next part of the recipe to be: ‘whip the eggs by the light of the full moon and fold in the morning dew’.
While it’s not witchcraft, there is a certain amount of magic to meringue cookies. The way they are soft and fluffy, the centre slightly chewy, the way they turn to powder in your mouth.
Or as Mr. Nomato (the wordsmith) put it: “it’s like meringue was a cookie!”
He is not wrong.
These are sadly not my Italian grandmother’s classic recipe, which I completely tore apart my mother’s filing system looking for with no luck (sorry, Mum!), so these you can make when it’s cloudy. They’re adapted from the good ol’ classic: the Joy of Cooking. I’m going easy on you. Just wait until I find that recipe though! Then you’d better be on your best meringue game. (Meringame?)
Obviously a good meringue always starts with good eggs whites. I’m sure there are fancy ways to separate them, but I just crack them and toss the yolk back and forth between the shell, old school style. Then put the egg yolk to the side to save for zabaglione later!
Add your cream of tartar and salt, then whip on a high speed until it’s light and foamy.
Mmm, look at that peak! Slowly pour in your sugar while the beater is going, making sure it gets completely incorporated before you add the vanilla and almond extracts.
Keep going until the meringue is glossy and sticky and gorgeous!
Heat your white chocolate and cream either on the stove, or in 20 second increments in the microwave just until it’s melted. You do NOT want it to be hot! If anything, it should be room temperature at the hottest. I got over-eager and added some too soon, and the cookies flattened.
Now gently pour it over the top of the meringue. Don’t mix it in!
You can either just dollop it on a parchment-covered baking sheet, or you can get fancy and use a piping tip and bag to make some beautiful shapes.
Keep them about one inch apart. They won’t expand very much at all in the oven, so don’t worry about that.
Put them in the oven and wait.
And rotate the pans inside the oven.
And then turn the oven off and leave them in there to cool off, gently bringing the temperature down. If you pull them out too soon, there’s a chance they’ll crack or deflate.
At last, you get to eat them! YUM!
They’re so pretty it’s almost a shame to eat them. Since when has that stopped us!
These make a perfect topper for cakes (hint… I might or might not have a cake recipe coming up that features these beauties!)
Meringue cookies seem so fragile…
So light and airy… I’m sure there’s some sort of metaphor there.
And with white chocolate swirled in, they’re taken to a whole new level of delicious. Almond, a little white chocolate, vanilla…
What about you? What weird ‘rules’ does your family have?
- 3 large egg whites
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/8 th teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 3/4 tsp vanilla
- OPTIONAL: 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 2 Tbsp cream
- 5 oz . white chocolate (~140 grams)
Preheat the oven to 225°F.
Melt and mix the white chocolate and cream in a pot on the stove set to low, or in the microwave in 20 second increments. You want the mixture to be just hot enough to melt. If it's too hot it will flatten your cookies! Set it aside to cool further.
In a bowl, beat your egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until light and foamy. (I used the whisk attachment for my mixer).
Continue to beat, and slowly add the sugar, making sure it's completely incorporated.
Set to low and add the vanilla and almond extract. Beat until it's glossy and stiff.
Pour your room temperature white chocolate and cream mixture over the meringue. DO NOT MIX IT IN.
You can either just use a spoon and dollop the meringue and chocolate on a parchment covered baking sheet, or you can use a piping bag and tip to make some beautiful patterns!
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, switching the baking sheets at around 25 minutes.
Turn the oven off, and let the cookies cool inside the oven for another 30 minutes. If you pull them out too soon, they'll crack and/or deflate, no good!
And for an AWESOME BONUS! It’s time for Holiday Fun with Our Bloggy Friends! Winter and Christmas Edition! I absolutely adore these bloggers and I know you’ll love all the wonderful things they’ve cooked up for the holidays!