Sunday morning, Sarah and I were watching an episode of 5 Ingredient Fix where the host had a pastry chef guest. Among other things, they made meringues. I’ve never liked meringues. I always felt like they left a waxy feeling in your mouth. And I was always confused about why they didn’t taste more cookie-ish. But Sarah loves meringue, so I added the ingredients we would need for meringues to the week’s grocery list.
1. The hardest part about this recipe was figuring out the right ratio of egg white to sugar. On the 5 Ingredient Fix dessert bar episode, I recalled that the guest said that it was just equal parts sugar to egg whites (or something like that). That seemed simple enough, except for that I don’t have a food scale. So how much sugar weighs the same as 1 egg white? I had no idea. So, I searched around for several recipes until I could reach a semi-consensus answer of about 1/4C sugar to 1 egg white.
2. Introduce all the sugar to the egg whites: This is different than all the other recipes that I read, but it looked simple enough, based on what I saw on TV. Instead of the traditional way, you just set up your egg whites in a double boiler. Then, you add all the sugar and slowly wisk until the egg whites no longer feel gritty when you rub it between your fingers. The entire time, however, it will look like you are playing with dinosaur snot.
3. Beat the egg-sugar into stiff, stiff peaks: Once the sugar is fully dissolved into the egg whites, remove from the double boiler and start whisking hard. Sarah put the hand mixer to this mixture until the peaks were super stiff, glossy, and tacky like marshmellow cream. This took a couple minutes.
4. Pipe out cookies: Get the mixture into a plastic bag and cut out a corner. We bought a pastry tip at the grocery store, but I think it was meant for frosting and not something as voluminous as what we wanted for the meringues. So, instead of the familiar meringue shape, ours had to be swirled onto the parchment lined sheet tray like soft serve ice cream or a milky white pile of novelty dog poo. This was the first time Sarah or I had ever piped anything before. It was an entertaining experience.
5. bake: 200 degrees for 2 hours and then check on the every 15 minutes. Ours took 2 and a half hours total. When they are done, they will be firm and release cleanly off the parchment paper with only a little bit of resistance. This is hard to believe, given how frustratingly sticky everything was before it got baked. But the cookies to release once there has been enough low heat to dry out the batter.
The whole time we were making these, I was firmly convinced that these were going to turn out terribly. So, when they came out and actually tasted like meringue cookies, I was astonished. I mean, given the ingredients, shouldn’t it taste like an omelet? And why is it crispy? None of it makes sense.