In my post a week and a half ago from November Culinary Night I mentioned making Meringue cookies. Oddly.. I don’t really LIKE soft meringue, and actually think that a lot of meringue cookies are too sweet… but lately I’ve been totally into making these. I don’t know why. When I had four egg whites leftover from the medieval-style egg nog… I figured I’d make meringue cookies for Culinary Night too.
I first got started on this kick while remembering the delicious (and huge) light meringue cookies I had while in Finland and Iceland. They were crispy on the outside, and just a little chewy (and almost sticky…) on the inside. I wanted that…
I started out with a recipe from Liv for Cake. The recipe is as follows:
1 cup raspberries frozen
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 cup egg whites approx. 3 large
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
Place frozen raspberries and 1 Tbsp sugar into a small saucepan and cook over med-high, stirring often, until raspberries are broken down and syrupy (crush with a wooden spoon as you stir). Strain out seeds and cool completely. You should have approximately 1/4 cup of sauce.
Preheat oven to 300F and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat mat.
Place egg whites and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk until combined.
Place bowl over a hot water bath on the stove and whisk constantly until the mixture is no longer grainy to the touch (approx. 3mins).
Place bowl on your stand mixer and whisk on med-high until the meringue is stiff and cooled (the bowl is no longer warm to the touch).
Sift cornstarch over meringue and whip until combined.
Reserve 1Tbsp of raspberry sauce and drizzle the rest over the meringue. Gently fold a few times to incorporate slightly. You want there to be steaks of raspberry.
Dollop onto prepared baking sheet, ensuring meringues are roughly the same size. I did all 8 on one sheet.
Drizzle remaining 1 Tbsp of raspberry sauce over meringues and swirl with a toothpick.
Bake for 25mins, turn oven off and leave meringues in there for 2 hours.
The changes I made the first time around – well.. with the raspberry sauce I had a heck of a time trying to strain the syrup… I ended up with far less than what the recipe called for, and then ended up putting in the leftovers as well just to give it that taste. I also used stevia instead of sugar.
I found that they were not as light and fluffy as I wanted, and I felt like I could taste the cornstarch – and I didn’t like that. Both my housemate and I agreed that they were also WAY too sweet – she suggested the stevia was to blame.
Version two – Anise flavoured
For this version, I totally skipped the raspberry sauce, added in a little anise flavouring, and instead of whipping the meringue until stiff peaks formed, I put the batter on the tray when soft peaks formed. I also used real sugar for these.
These turned out FAR better – they were much lighter, and had a great chewiness to them. When I took a cookies out of the oven after only an hour of sitting – it were still a bit too soft (and almost like they weren’t entirely cooked) inside, and the anise flavour seemed inconsistent between bites. When I took the remainder out after the full 2 hours of sitting, they were pretty much perfect, with well-blended flavours.
Version three – rosewater flavoured
For culinary night I opted to flavour the cookies with rosewater instead – since rosewater is a common ingredient in a lot of dishes we enjoy in the SCA. Like the Anise ones, I opted to skip the cornstarch, and only whip the mix until soft peaks formed. Luckily they were timed JUST right so they came out of the cooling oven to get packed up for the potluck just as the two hours of sitting passed.
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Of the the three flavour variations – I like the anise ones best… though now I’m tempted to try chocolate, almond, and other flavours too…. if I don’t get sick of all the sweet! I think I’d also like to try Stevia again… though perhaps less Stevia than I’d use sugar?
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