December 13, 2010 4:34PM
Homemade meringue "jewels." (Jean Lachat/Sun-Times)
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 ¼ cup jam (flavor to match extract chosen), optional
1 teaspoon flavored extract (vanilla, orange, rose petal or coffee)
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
¼ cup jam (flavor to match extract chosen), optional
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