Monday, December 06, 2010

Angel Snacks

Pavlova, Bizet, Suspiros (meaning "sighs" in English), Schaum tortes, Resurrection Cookies... no matter what you call them, these meringue cookies are crispy and sweet bites that some have said, are what the saints eat in heaven. I had egg whites left over after making Sweet Corn Sformato for Thanksgiving. I wanted to try something I had never done before and went searching. This is very close to a dessert my mom made during Christmas, called Divinity. I wanted to make a meringue recipe that was versatile, so you can change the flavor to your whim. It seems like it would be harder than it actually is. The trick is to prepping. Have all your ingredients ready and then just go for it. You won't be sorry you made these!

from top to bottom: Chocolate Toffee,
Butter Pecan and Plain

Heaven Sighs


1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar OR 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup (6 ounces, about 6) large egg whites, preferably room temperature
Pinch salt

Optional Topping:
2 pints fresh or frozen berries
1/4 cup sugar
Whipped Cream for topping


1 Place rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 275°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour the vanilla and vinegar (if using) into a small cup. Stir the cornstarch into the sugar in a small bowl.
2 In a large bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, fitted with whisk attachment, whip egg whites, cream of tartar (if using) and salt, starting on low, increasing incrementally to medium speed until soft peaks/trails start to become visible, and the egg white bubbles are very small and uniform, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.
3 Increase speed to medium-high, slowly and gradually sprinkling in the sugar-cornstarch mixture. A few minutes after these dry ingredients are added, slowly pour in the vanilla and vinegar (if you didn't use cream of tartar.) Increase speed a bit and whip until meringue is glossy, and stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 4 to 5 minutes.
4 Pipe or spoon the meringue into 8-10 large round mounds that are 3 inches wide on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon liner. With the back of a spoon, create an indentation in the middle of the mound for holding the filling once meringue is baked.
5 Place baking sheet in the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 250°F. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the meringues are crisp, dry to the touch on the outside, and white -- not tan-colored or cracked. The interiors should have a marshmallow-like consistency. Check on meringues at least once during the baking time. If they appear to be taking on color or cracking, reduce temperature 25 degrees, and turn pan around.
6 Gently lift from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack. Will keep in a tightly sealed container at room temperature, or individually wrapped, for up to a week if your house is not humid.
7 Served topped with your favorite filling - lemon curd, raspberry or blueberry sauce, and freshly whipped cream.

Sauce or Filling Directions

If you want to make a berry sauce, heat a couple pints of fresh or frozen berries in a medium saucepan with about a quarter cup of sugar. Heat on medium heat, stirring once or twice, for about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how much the berries are falling apart. Remove from heat and let cool.

  • add a whole pecan to the top of each meringue before baking
  • 1/2 C. each finely chopped pecans and chopped chocolate (folded in after step 3), after baking time is up, turn off oven and leave overnight. This version is called "Forgotten Cookies".
  • sift 2 Tbsp cocoa powder over meringue, and fold until barely any streaks remain (after step 3)
  • 1/2 C. finely chopped heath bar folded in (after step 3)
  • different flavorings can be substituted for the vanilla or added. Try adding 1 tsp butter flavoring with the vanilla and pecans, or replace the vanilla for peppermint with the chocolate version.

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