In my experience we all tend to fill up during the savory part of the holiday meal, leaving the sweet meal-enders barely touched. In an effort to cope with this dessert neglect I purpose offering a cookie plate at the end of your Christmas meal.
Cookies have a much longer shelf life then most pies and cakes and can be enjoyed pretty much anytime, whether it's during late-night clean-up or for a sweet Christmas morning breakfast.
These Meringue Kisses from America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book are light enough to be enjoyed right after a big meal but can be enjoyed for several days after if stored in an airtight container.
They are a breeze to make and can be flavored with virtually any ingredient you have in your pantry. Bittersweet chocolate can be folded in as well as almond or orange extracts, even instant espresso mixed into the sugar and cornstrach mixture, for coffee meringues. The only piece of kitchen equipment you'll need is an electric or stand mixer (unless you are interested in working out your biceps with an intense whipping session).
Win America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book to give away this week.
- Yield:about 4 dozen small cookies
- 3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 4 large egg whites
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Adjust the oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 225°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a small bowl.
Whip the egg whites, vanilla, and cream of tartar together with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and whip the whites to soft, billowy mounds, about 1 minute. Gradually whip in the sugar mixture, about 1 minute. Continue to whip the whites until they are glossy and form stiff peaks, 1 to 3 minutes.
Use a spoon or a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip to make 1 1/4-inch wide meringue kisses on the prepared baking sheets, spaced about 1 inch apart.
Bake the meringues for 1 hour, switching and rotating the baking sheets halfway through baking. Turn off the oven and allow the meringues to cool in the oven, about 1 hour (or 2 hours in humid or rainy weather). Remove the cookies from the oven and let cool to room temperature before serving, about 10 minutes.