Meringue cookies – Habcsók

Though I’m not a big fan of meringue cookies, they are a good way to use leftover egg whites. Whipping egg whites and sugar into a light dessert such as meringues (habcsók) sounds easy, however, there’s a lot of opportunities for things to go wrong. I had tried several recipes with little success before I found one that worked for me.

Sugar and egg whites are technically the only ingredients you need, but acid and starch may improve your meringue’s quality significantly. Whether it be vinegar, lemon juice, or a combination, an acid will greatly improve the structure of meringue by keeping it stable. Cornstarch prevents meringue from weeping by soaking up any liquid left in the mixture. Starch is especially helpful in hot, humid weather when meringue is most likely to absorb extra moisture.

Meringue cookies are generally baked at 100°C / 212°F for about 2 hours, they slowly dry out in a low oven without gaining much or any color. As I don’t like dried-out meringues, I looked for a recipe, that results in cookies that are crispy and chewy at the same time. Therefore, my meringues were baked at 130°C / 266°F for only 30 minutes.

Meringue cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 200 g (~1 1/2 cups) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 130°C / 266°F. Line a baking sheet with a non-stick liner.

In a mixing bowl beat the egg whites at medium speed until they reach soft peaks.

Now turn up the speed and start to add the powdered sugar, a tablespoonful at a time. Sugar needs to be mixed in utterly before adding the next spoonful. When all of the sugar is fully incorporated and the mixture is thick and glossy, and very stiff peaks form, add cornstarch and lemon juice, and beat for further one minute.

With a tablespoon spoon meringues about 1 inch apart onto the lined baking sheet. Bake them at 130°C / 266°F for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven once the baking time has passed, open the oven door a crack and let the meringue cookies cool completely in the oven. Store them in an airtight container.

Note 1: After 30 minutes of baking at 130°C / 266°F the cookies will be crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside. If you want them to be fully dried out, bake them longer at a lower temperature, at 100°C / 212°F for about 2-2,5 hours

Note 2: With the above baking technique the meringues will crack for sure. If you want to avoid that, try this: after turning off the oven leave the oven door closed and let the cookies cool in the oven for an hour. Then remove and let them cool completely on the baking sheet.

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