Say you were making something else, like the cheesecake recipe. Or a pudding or custard. And you wind up with egg whites that are ‘leftover’ from the recipe.
There’s an easy solution for that. Make these little confections. You can call them cookies, or candy, but no matter the name, they will be gone before you know it.
Allow the egg whites to warm to room temperature, but don’t leave them out for too long. In a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, put the eggs into a very clean bowl. Any trace of oil in the bowl will hinder the formation of the tiny bubbles you need to make this recipe work. Preheat the oven to 250 or 300 deg F.
Beat briskly. As the bubbles begin to really froth up, slowly add about 1/3 c sugar. You can make it less, but not much more. You can add cream of tartar but you don’t need to. You can add a tablespoonful of baking cocoa for chocolate meringues. You can add a handful of chopped nuts, or mini chocolate chips, or… the varieties are numberless.
When the meringue is at the stiff peak stage, carefully scoop it into a pastry bag (a ziploc with the corner cut off works, too) that has a large star tip on it. You can, if you’re not fancy, just dollop it out in spoonfuls as well. With the pastry bag, squeeze little stars out onto parchment paper or a silicon baking mat. Once you have all the meringue dispensed, quickly slide the cookie sheets into the oven. At this point you have two choices.
You can: turn the oven off. Walk away. Don’t open the oven door for a couple of hours, preferably overnight. This is the forgotten part of these little sweets. They will cook and dry without any additional heat. Or, if like me you like them to be a bit caramelized, you can leave the oven on for 10-15 minutes, then turn it off. Just like the first version that results in perfectly white cookies, walk away and let it cool with the pans undisturbed.
Store in airtight container. Oh, who am I kidding. These never last long enough to worry about them drawing moisture.