Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thimble Gingerbread Spice Meringues

These little treats gave me a lot of trouble, it took me a few tries to get them right, but I learned a lot about meringues! Here's a great link for any questions you might have, even though this site seems to be intended for meringue pie topping.
I learned to add 1/4 cup of sugar per egg white, to add the sugar one tablespoon at a time and to bake the meringues for a long time at a low temperature to get them to dry out properly.

Thimble Gingerbread Spice Meringues
2 room-temperature egg whites
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 heaping tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground cinnamon
A small ziploc bag

Preheat your oven to 200F.
Prepare two cookie sheets by buttering and covering with parchment. Any loose ends may fold over your meringues in the oven and damage them.  Thoroughly clean and dry your egg beaters, a spatula and a glass or metal bowl. Any fat or grease will break down your meringues.
Start whipping the whites in the bowl until foamy and bubbly. Sprinkle the cream of tartar and continue to blend until you have reached the soft peak stage. Start adding the sugar one tablespoon at a time. Add the spices with the last few tablespoons of sugar. Whip until you have stiff peaks.
Carefully scrape the meringue into the ziploc. Seal the bag and cut a small hole in the corner. Pipe small, thimble-sized meringues onto the parchment. You don't need to leave much space between them because they don't expand much, so you can really fit a lot on each sheet.

You can fit a lot of meringues on each pan!
Bake for at least one hour. You can check on them periodically, but don't jostle them. They are ready when they feel like they have a kind of firm skin on them. If you want to test them for doneness, you can pull one off of the pan and it should instantly cool and become crispy. The edges and tips may also be a light golden brown. Be careful not to burn them or take them out too early! Take them out and let them cool. They should cool quickly and it will become clear almost at once if they dried enough, because they will be crisp and hard. I realized from my failed batches that the smaller they are, the quicker they dry so these thimble-sized meringues should be an easy first experience with meringues. I know they were much easier for me!
Enjoy! <3

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