Lee's favorite cookie is the Meringue and he asked me, very nicely, if I would make him some the next time I wanted to bake some cookies. Well, today it was the first rainy day of the Fall season and of course I wanted to bake! However, meringues need a dry environment to set up well and I didn't think I would have a good result today - but alas and alack I was wrong! These turned out just fine and Lee is a happy camper. My work here is done.
?There are only 4 ingredients, and they are not really difficult to make, just time consuming. So, don't try to make these on a day you're rushed!!
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment (or you can butter and flour the sheet instead). You can form the cookies with a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 plain tip, but I just spooned the meringue and did a little swirl on top.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on low-medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat the whites until they hold soft peaks. Add the sugar, a little at a time, and continue to beat, on medium-high, until the meringue holds very stiff peaks. Beat in the vanilla extract.
TIP: The meringue is done when it holds stiff peaks and when you rub a little between your fingers it does not feel gritty. If it is gritty, just keep beating!
Pipe or spoon meringue onto baking sheet. Bake for approximately 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours, rotating the sheet about halfway through the baking time. The meringues are done when pale in color and fairly crisp. They should remove easily from parchment paper. Turn off the oven and crack the door open. Leave the meringues in the oven to finish drying for several hours or overnight. The meringues can be covered and stored at room temperature for several days.