My kitchen always gets an extra touch of pink this time of year, and these Meringue Cookies are no exception. They’re perfect for Valentine’s Day and are melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
I’m writing to you under my heated blanket, my second home during the winter. I don’t handle the cold well. Getting out from under it’s warm hug each morning is by far my least favorite part of the day. I’ve looked into getting a heated jacket. Yes, those exist. They’re expensive, but if I ever move back up north, it may be worth the investment. Until then, I love making meringue cookies on a cold, lazy day. Their long stay in the oven warms up the house, and the low-maintenance recipe means I can stay under the glow of my heated blanket and blissfully watch the final season of Mad Men.
For my meringue cookies, I like to make an Italian meringue. All this means is that I cook my sugar to 335-340°F before adding it to the whipped eggs. Cooking sugar sounds much more intimidating than it is. Make sure you have a candy thermometer, and it’ll do most of the work. While the sugar cooks, whip egg whites to soft peak. Once your sugar is ready, pour it in a slow, steady stream near the side of the mixing bowl while is whips on medium speed. You want to aim halfway between the mixing bowl and whip attachment. If you dump it straight down the side of the cold metal metal bowl, the sugar could cool before it mixes in, and you’ll be left with a clump of hard sugar. If you hit the whip attachment too much, it’ll fling sugar around the bowl, and you’ll end up with spun sugar. Aim in between, and you’ll have a shiny and incredibly stable meringue.
For a Valentine’s Day vibe, I added some pink food coloring to get a pretty swirl effect. I sprinkled a few drops of pink around the meringue. Then I dipped a butter knife into the center of the coloring and gently dragged out the color in streaks. The meringue quickly goes from pink swirls to colored entirely pink so be gentle and remember less is definitely more.
Once pink and piped, these meringue cookies stay in the oven either cooking or drying for 4 hours. Grab your heated blanket, your Netflix login in, and relax. Your light and crisp meringue cookies will be ready after a few episodes of Mad Men.
Valentine Meringue Cookies
- 3 large egg whites room temperature
- 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 Tbs. water
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3-4 drops pink or red food coloring
Preheat oven to 200°F. Line a sheet pan with a silpat or parchment. Set aside.
In a medium size pot, stir sugar and water together over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves and begins to boil. Cook sugar to 335-340°F.
While the sugar cooks, whip egg whites on medium low speed until foamy. Sprinkle in cream of tartar. Whip whites on medium speed, bring to soft peaks. (If your eggs are ready before your sugar, don't fret! Turn off the mixer until the sugar catches up.)
When the sugar is at ready, whip the eggs on medium speed and slowly pour the sugar in between the bowl and the whip.
Gradually increase to high speed. Add vanilla. Whip until the meringue becomes shiny, and reaches stiff peaks. Occasionally scrap the bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing.
Sprinkle 3-4 drops of food coloring into batter. Gently swirl in. Less is more is you want just a touch of color.
Using a piping bag, pipe cookies into desired shape. Bake for two hours. Turn off oven and leave the cookies in the oven for an additional two hours or until completely dry. Store in a air-tight container.