When I was growing up, my mom often made merengue cookies, "beze" in Russian (although it sounds a bit French). I remember she used lined school paper to line the cookie sheet so that the cookies would not stick. They were like fluffy clouds when they came out of the oven. Once you bite into the cookies, you feel the crispy sweet outside and the soft, melt-in-your-mouth inside. Delicious!
A few months ago when Anna was visiting, we were making Paige's famous key lime pies and had some egg whites left over and decided to make merengue cookies. They were horrendous! Sweet, but super gooey and not worth the calories: the cookies ended up in the trash.
As I mentioned before, I work part time in Sur La Table's culinary program, and one of the biggest benefits is meeting professional chefs, who are full of culinary knowledge. One such chef is Sheilah Kaufman. During her Thursday class, I was preparing ingredients for a savory bread pudding and there were a few egg whites left over. She suggested I made merengue cookies. Feeling brave and adventurous, I decided to follow Sheilah's recipe and give the merengue cookies another try.
3 egg whites at room temperature (this is really important!)
3/4 cup of sugar
1) preheat the oven to 400F with a cookie sheet inside
to add sugar
4) beat the eggs with sugar until glossy and shiny peaks are formed
5) take the cookie sheet out of the oven, line with parchment paper and
spoon the egg white/sugar mixture on the cookie sheet
6) place the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the heat off (that's right!)
7) leave the cookies in the oven over night without opening the door
This was such a success! I ate half of them in one day! Sweet, crisp and not gooey at all.
* You can't make this recipe when it rains or is humid
* Top picture: before "baking", bottom picture: after "baking" and after I ate half of them!
* You can add up to a cup of nuts or chocolate right before spooning out the cookies
* The cookies don't spread out much while cooking, so don't feel afraid to put them pretty close together
* Do not put one cookie sheet on top of another: this will not allow the cookies to bake properly