Recently I was tasked with making a big batch of French Vanilla ice cream, and since I was doubling the recipe I used fourteen egg yolks. The ice cream turned out fine, by the way, but I was stuck with fourteen egg whites.When life hands you egg whites make meringue. And if you don’t feel like making a meringue that very day you can always freeze the whites for use at a later time.
The best way to do that is to pour your egg white into ice cube trays, and when they are frozen, pop them out. The frozen egg white will stick a little in the ice cube tray, but don’t sweat it. Set the trays in your kitchen sink and fill with about an inch of hot water. This will loosen the egg white cubes and after a few seconds they will pop out easily. Repackage them in a re-sealable freezer bag.
A meringue recipe will often call for a certain number of egg whites, so when using frozen egg white cubes use a measuring cup. A large egg white is 1 fluid ounce so 2 egg whites would be ¼ cup et cetera. Fill your measuring cup to the required level and add an extra cube to make up for the space between cubes if you’re worried about shortchanging yourself. Let the egg whites totally thaw before using, This might take an hour or so, so plan ahead. Do not heat the cubes up to speed up the process-they might start to cook!
There are many great recipes for meringue, Pavlova and Eton Mess come to mind, but when it comes to simplicity and visual appeal, it’s hard to beat the adorable, brightly coloured and subtly flavoured meringue cookie. Most meringues call for caster or superfine sugar, which is a finer grind than granulated sugar, but not as fine as icing sugar. The reasoning here is it will dissolve faster and totally during the whipping process; you don’t want grainy cookies. To make your granulated sugar superfine, just pulse it in the food processor or blender for about 10 seconds.
The beauty of meringue cookies is you can add food colouring and flavourings to vary your batch. Maybe you want a little variety! For the following recipe we used half a cup of frozen egg white cubes and after whipping them, split the whites into 3 bowls. Each bowl yielded 12 good-sized cookies with an average weight of 7 grams. In one bowl we mixed a tablespoon of lemon juice, a tablespoon of lemon zest and a few drops of yellow food colouring. In another bowl we used lime juice and lime zest and green colouring, and the third bowl we used a teaspoon of pomegranate molasses and red food colouring. Of course you could make almost any flavor and colour cookie; almond extract and shaved almond to garnish, sounds good, or blood orange with chocolate or raspberry….
If you want to get all fancy you can use a piping bag and swirl out delicate designs, but we just used a spoon and plopped them onto parchment lined baking sheets. Crispy on the outside, and slightly chewy inside, they are cute and pretty without being precious. And hey, they happen to be gluten free, bonus for the gluten intolerant!
Makes 36 cookies
1/2 cup egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups superfine/caster sugar
optional colouring and flavouring
Preheat oven to 275 F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Put egg whites, cream of tartar and salt in a bowl and beat with electric beater on high until soft peaks form. Very slowly pour in sugar while continuing to beat until stiff peaks form and meringue takes on a glossy look. Remove beaters and add colouring and flavouring.
Spoon meringues onto baking sheet, leaving space between as the cookies will enlarge about 75%. Bake for 35-40 minutes depending on size of cookie. Remove from oven. Let cool a minute or two then gently move to a cooling rack. When cool, store in a container with a lid.