These melt-in-your-mouth cookies are light as air and taste like perfectly spun sugar. I tested three different methods for making meringue cookies in my quest to create that perfect texture, and discovered a few tricks along the way to help you make these darling delights in your own kitchen.
These meringue kisses are deceptively simple to make, requiring just 5 basic ingredients and and a little technical know-how. My meringues have a crispy shell encasing a center that is even lighter than a marshmallow. They look almost too pretty to eat, but don’t let that stop you from making them – my easy recipe is practically foolproof.
I use two types of sugar to create that signature texture: superfine (also called caster sugar) and powdered. Superfine sugar has smaller crystals than granulated white sugar, which helps it to dissolve better into the meringue. Don’t waste good money buying superfine sugar – you can make your own at home by blitzing regular white sugar in a food processor for about 30 seconds.
I start by combining four egg whites with cream of tartar (to stabilize the meringue), and then slowly add in the superfine sugar. Once the meringue has achieved stiff peaks, I add a bit of pure vanilla extract for flavor, and you could use any extract you like, citrus zest or even liqueur.
Next, I gently fold in the powdered sugar in three stages until combined, so as not to deflate the meringue. At this stage, you can add food coloring gel or melted chocolate, either folded in completely or just a few times to create a swirl effect.
To create the kisses. use a piping bag with a half-inch round or open star tip, or a plastic zip bag with one corner snipped off, to pipe the cookies onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Hold the tip slightly above the parchment and gently squeeze, then release before pulling up. You could also simply drop them onto the parchment using either a scoop or two spoons.
Low, slow and dry are key when it comes to a good meringue. My meringue kisses are baked at 200 degrees for one hour and then I turn the oven off and leave the cookies in the oven for at least two hours or even overnight. Humidity can affect the quality of the meringue, and leaving the cookies in the cooling oven helps to ensure that they are as dry as possible.
The meringue kisses can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for several months.
I would love to hear from you if you make these sweet confections, so please shoot me a comment or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about the recipe. And, don’t forget – if you just don’t feel like baking, these Meringue Kisses are available on my SarahBakes Valentine’s menu, along with a host of other sweet treats, and I would love to bake something special for you.
Melt-In-Your-Mouth Meringue Kisses
4 large or extra-large egg whites, room temperature
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ cup superfine sugar (blitz granulated sugar in food processor for 30 seconds)
1 cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
Make sure your mixing bowl and whisk or beater attachments are completely clean, as any grease or residue can prevent the egg whites from whipping properly.
Add the egg whites to your mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. Add the cream of tartar and beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 1 ½ to 2 minutes.
With the mixer on medium-high speed, slowly add the superfine sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until the meringue is stiff and glossy and most of the sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes.
Rub a little meringue between your fingers; if it is still gritty, continue to mix on medium-low speed until there is barely any sugar grain when you test it. Add the vanilla extract and mix on medium-low for 10 seconds.
Use a rubber spatula to fold in the powdered sugar, adding it in three stages so that the meringue doesn’t deflate. Gently fold the sugar into the meringue until fully incorporated.
If using food coloring or melted chocolate, fold in just 3 to 4 times lightly for a swirled effect, or fold in completely for a solid effect.
To pipe the kisses, transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a round or open star tip. Hold the tip straight above the parchment, squeeze gently and then release just before pulling up. Add candy sprinkles or chopped nuts now, if desired.
Place both baking sheets in the oven (top third and bottom third) and bake for 2 hours then remove cookies and let cool completely on baking sheet. Or bake for 1 hour, turn off oven and let cookies dry in oven overnight.
Once cooled, transfer the cookies to an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for several months.
- To keep the parchment paper from lifting up as you pipe, place a small dab of meringue under each corner of the parchment paper so that it will adhere to the baking sheet.