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MERINGUE JEWELS

Homemade meringue 'jewels.' (Jean Lachat/Sun-Times)

Homemade meringue "jewels." (Jean Lachat/Sun-Times)

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Updated: December 21, 2010 2:12PM



MAKES ABOUT 4 DOZEN(11/2-INCH) TREATS

3 large egg whites, at room temperature

1 teaspoon flavored extract (vanilla, orange, rose petal or coffee)

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

Pinch salt

3/4 cup superfine granulated sugar

¼ cup jam (flavor to match extract chosen), optional

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Position racks in upper, middle and lower thirds of oven. Line 2 or 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Beat egg whites with extract, cream of tartar and salt using an electric mixer at medium-high speed until it just holds soft peaks. Add superfine sugar, a little at a time, while mixing, then increase speed to high and beat until meringue holds stiff, glossy peaks.

Transfer meringue to pastry bag fitted with ½-inch star tip. Pipe 1-inch-wide stars (about 1-inch tall), spacing about 1/2-inch apart. With a tiny spoon, press small amount of jelly, if using, into center of each star, or leave them plain.

Bake until dry, crisp and firm, 11/2 to 2 hours, switching position of upper and lower sheets halfway through baking. (Meringues are done when they release from parchment.)

Turn oven off and leave meringues in oven at least 2 hours with door propped open about 1/2 inch (use handle of a wooden spoon to prop). Cool completely before packaging.

Meringues keep, layered between sheets of parchment or wax paper, in an airtight container at cool room temperature for 1 week.

Note: Superfine sugar is available at supermarkets, or simply grind regular sugar in blender to a very fine powder.

Adapted from WorththeWhisk.com

Nutrition facts per meringue: 18 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 g carbohydrates, 4 g sugars, 0 g protein, 4 mg sodium, 0 g fiber



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