How to Make Perfect Meringues
Um, how cute are these mini meringue kisses?!
If you've been following me on Instagram for a little while, you already know that I'm obsessed with mini things. Because these past few months, I've been posting photo after photo of miniature baked goods. Because that's all I've been making lately. Miniature cookies. GAH! They're so cute! Just look at these mini chocolate chip cookies. And these mini double chocolate cookies. And these mini cookie cups. I CAN'T.
And now, MINI MERINGUE KISSES! *heart flutters*
Of course, this guide to making the most perfect meringues is not limited to miniature meringues. You can follow the instructions under each photo and produce any size meringue you want. But it was a given that I was going to opt for mini ones for this tutorial. Because mini. Duh.
I also chose to make my meringues chewy instead of the traditional crunchy and dry texture. Why? Because chewy. Just like "because mini." I'm so good at explaining things.
The type of meringues I show you how to make below are Swiss meringues. The same type I used to top my lemon meringue pie here. For a regular (French) meringue, you whip the egg whites until frothy and then gradually add in the sugar. For a Swiss meringue, you whisk the egg whites and sugar together over a double boiler till the mixture is warm before whipping it in your machine.
A Swiss meringue is my favorite type of meringue to make for so many reasons. Here are some of them:
1 - You don't have to bother with making sure your egg whites are at room temperature, which is a requirement for regular meringues, because you are anyway placing the eggs over a flame and warming them.
2 - You don't have the issue of not knowing when to add the sugar into your frothed egg whites. Rather, you just whip the two together from the start.
3 - You don't have to use superfine sugar. Regular granulated sugar is just as good because the sugar gets dissolved when you whisk it over the double boiler anyway.
4 - Swiss meringues make for glossier, stiffer meringues. They just do.
5 - If you use the meringue to top a pie, the meringue is much less likely to start weeping (when part of the meringue turns into liquid and starts seeping into the pie). Also, since you don't bake the meringues you pipe on top of some pies, a Swiss meringue is a much better choice because 1- the egg whites are not completely raw anymore (remember the double boiler?) and 2 - an un-baked Swiss meringue will keep its shape a lot better than a regular raw meringue.
Overall, you're much safer with a Swiss meringue than with a regular French meringue. Your meringues will come out glossier, stiffer, hold their shape better, AND it only takes an extra 2 minutes when you use the Swiss process.
Always make sure your egg whites are completely free of any yolk (or any type of fat). Use a clean, dry bowl to whisk the meringue in. And eat the extra meringue that doesn't fit in your piping bag by the spoonful. But if you get salmonella, I never said that. This conversation never happened. Clear?
You want your meringues to look like the ones below? Proceed to the photo tutorial right under these photos. And see my lemon meringue pie video tutorial here (skip to 2:44 to get straight to the meringue part).
Okay, Let's begin:
STEP 1. YOU HAVE TWO OPTIONS FOR MEASURING THE INGREDIENTS: 1 - ALWAYS USE A RATIO OF 1 CUP SUGAR TO 4 LARGE EGG WHITES (OR 1/4 CUP SUGAR FOR EVERY EGG WHITE) OR 2 - USE A SCALE AND WEIGH OUT DOUBLE THE AMOUNT OF SUGAR TO EGG WHITES ( EXAMPLE: 10 OZ. SUGAR FOR 5 OZ. EGG WHITES)
STEP 2. POUR THE EGG WHITES AND SUGAR INTO THE BOWL OF YOUR STAND MIXER AND WHISK THEM TOGETHER THOROUGHLY. PLACE THE BOWL OVER A POT OF SIMMERING WATER, CREATING A DOUBLE BOILER. WHISK MIXTURE CONSTANTLY OVER A MEDIUM FLAME UNTIL THE SUGAR IS DISSOLVED AND THE MIXTURE IS WARM TO THE TOUCH.
STEP 4. YOUR MERINGUE MIXTURE SHOULD LOOK LIKE THE PHOTOS ABOVE AFTER IT IS WHIPPED PROPERLY.
STEP 6. LINE TWO BAKNG SHEETS WITH PARCHMENT PAPER AND PIPE THE MERINGUES BY SIMPLY SQUEEZING, STOPPING, AND LIFTING. I MADE MINI KISSES HERE. YOU CAN PIPE ANY SIZE YOU DESIRE. THE MERINGUES DON'T SPREAD SO FEEL FREE TO PIPE THEM CLOSE TOGETHER AS SHOWN.
STEP 7. BAKE THE MERNIGUES ON 275 F FOR ABOUT 20 MINUTES. THIS WILL GIVE YOU CHEWY MERINGUES. YOU CAN BAKE THE MERINGUES FOR LONGER ON A LOWER TEMPERATURE FOR DRYER, MORE CRUNCHY MERINGUES (200 F FOR ABOUT 1.5 HOURS).
STEP 8. THE MERINGUES ARE READY WHEN YOU'RE ABLE TO EASILY AND NEATLY LIFT A MERINGUE OFF THE BAKNG SHEET AND THE BOTTOMS ARE SMOOTH.
And that's it. That's how you make some mini, adorable, perfect meringues.
Mini Meringue Kisses
Yield: 2 baking sheets full of mini meringues
4 large egg whites (ensure there's not a speck of yolk)
1 cup granulated sugar
Optional: 1 teaspoon extract of choice (vanilla, almond, mint etc.)
Weigh out double the amount of sugar to egg whites (4 oz. egg whites, 8 oz. sugar)
Preheat oven to 275 F*. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place the egg whites and sugar into the clean, dry bowl of your electric stand mixer (or any metal bowl) and place over a pot of simmering water, creating a double boiler.
Whisk mixture constantly over a low flame for a few minutes until the sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch (110 F).
Transfer bowl to machine fitted with a wire whip attachment and whip on high speed for about 6-10 minutes, or until you have a glossy meringue with stiff peaks.
Fill a piping bag fitted with a french star tip with the meringue. Pipe meringue "kisses" by squeezing for a second, stopping to squeeze, and lifting up your hand quickly to create a peak.
Bake for 20 minutes or until you can neatly lift a meringue off the sheet and the bottom is smooth. This will produce chewy meringues.
*For dry, crunchy meringues, bake on 200 F for about 1 1/2 hours, or until meringues are dry, crisp, and sound hollow when tapped on bottom.
Store in an airtight container.
On a completely unrelated note, it's hard to even talk about it: