What do you do with left over egg whites? You make meringue of course, and I am not talking about lemon meringue pie, I am talking about meringue “cookies”. It sometimes happen that I have egg whites left over, for example during Christmas baking, or Easter baking. One of my Easter recipes, which I still haven’t shared, uses 9 egg yolks. NINE! Sure, you can just toss out the egg whites but what a waste that would be.
You could also use your egg whites for Royal Icing as well if you like. But of course making meringue “cookie” is a great option as well. In Germany you can buy them at the bakery to eat them on the go. I love the soft shell and the melting feeling when eat them. I think this one is a childhood favourite though we didn’t get them too often. But once in a while we were lucky and my mother gave in and bought us one. However, I can not recall that she ever made it at home. It might be because of the drying time of several hours and that she rather needed the oven for other things. Next time I talk to her I should ask about that.
Making meringue is fairly simple but it still can go wrong. Fear not, if you stick to the instructions it should go well. In case it goes wrong, I am sorry in advance for that.
– 4 egg whites
– 250g sugar
– a bit of lemon juice
Tip 1: Make sure you bowl and whisk are clean and grease free. If it’s not it can cause trouble, that’s what every book says but I am not really sure what trouble. I think the eggs won’t whip very well or something.
Tip 2: Although this recipe can be easily doubled you should try to split it up if you can, e.g. have 4 and 4 egg whites. It will be easier to whip and work with.
I didn’t think of tip 2 when I made my last meringue and while the first batch I bake looked nice, the second batch wasn’t so nice anymore. I should have whipped it again before using but I was either too busy or too lazy or both. So, separating a large amount of egg whites would resolve that issue.
How to: Whip the eggs until foamy then add some of the sugar while whipping and continue until all sugar has been used. Whip the egg-sugar mix until you have reached a stiff consistency, e.g. it forms peaks. Add some lemon juice for flavour and transfer the mass into a big piping bag with a star tip. Then make pretty swirls anyway you like on a cookie sheet lined with baking paper but keep in mind that meringue after it’s try is very touchy.
Tip 3: Before you transfer it to a piping bag you can tint the mixture with food colours (or whatever you use to tint your baking). Colourful meringue is much more fun, especially for the kids (or your inner child).
Bake at 120°C for about 1.5 hours or until dry and slightly brown. Keep the oven door slightly open by putting in a wooden spoon or so. Also make sure that the bottom is not too close too the heat source, otherwise you will have dark/burned meringue bottoms.
Tip 4: Meringue needs to dry slowly and it shouldn’t be too hot. Otherwise you centre will be gooey and the rest is dry and brittle. To have the oven door slightly open will help to vent some of the hot air. If your meringue is brown it’s over baked.
Let them cool off completely and store them in an air tight container. You can either serve them as they are or you can decorate with them. If you make little drop like shapes you can put them on a cake or add them to dessert bowls. Try to keep meringue away from moisture, it won’t do well with it.