Recipe corner: Meringue Shells

meringues

We all know that meringue goes on top of lemon pie, but some of you may not know that it makes a nice, light treat. Meringues are firm, baked  in the oven, and are a dessert. I guess you could classify Meringue Shells as a cookie, but they aren’t really. There is no flour, no baking powder. Whatever you want to classify them as, they are good and a nice summer treat. This is another great recipe from my mama – Mama Margaret.

 Meringue Shells

3 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
dash salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
¾ cup sugar

In a small mixer bowl combine egg whites, vanilla, cream of tartar, and salt. Beat at medium speed with electric mixer until soft peaks form (tips curl over). This is about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar beating at high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight) and sugar is dissolved. Cover baking sheet with ungreased plain brown paper. (My mom used to use the inside of paper lunch bags or grocery bags. It saved money I guess. Nothing wrong with how the meringues turned out. Parchment paper is fine, too.) Using the bottom of a 3 ½ inch drinking glass as a guide, draw 8 circles on the paper. Spread each with about ½ cup of meringue mixture. Using back of spoon, shape into shells. Bake in 275 degree oven for 1 hour. Turn off the heat and let dry in the oven with the door closed, at least two hours.

When ready for dessert, add some chopped fresh fruit that has had a little sugar added to create some juice and serve.

Other times Mama Margaret would put 12 small circles on the paper and drop a large dollop of the meringue mixture on the circles. No smashing. It needs to look like a tiny white mountain with a tip. Bake at the same temperature and when you see very light tan coloring on the bottom, turn off the oven and again let them sit. Sweet and light “cookies” are the result.

Mmm. I can almost taste them now.

PS – I don’t file them under the cookie section of my recipe box. They are under “M” for meringues.

Bon Appétit!

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