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When I was in Elementary school, a girl in my class brought in meringues her mother had made. They were white on the outside, but when you bit into them, you found M&Ms hidden inside. My nine-year-old self could not believe how amazing they were.

I made my chocolate meringue kisses ages ago to be like those M&M meringues, but these white ones are a simpler version. They’re just about as simple as you can get, but the possibilities are endless. You can mix in candies, pipe them into different shapes, swirl in colors, or flavors . . . you can do just about anything.

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We made this simple version when my kids were hounding me to make Eton Mess, a favorite dessert of ours that requires crumbled meringues, which you can find here. To make them, all you need are a few egg whites, some sugar, cream of tartar, and a little bit of vanilla.

vanilla meringues

I used a large pastry bag and a star tip (Wilton 1M) to make these into rosette shapes, but if you don’t have either of those things, you can simply spoon them out onto the parchment paper.

3 egg whites at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar (superfine sugar would be ideal)
pinch of cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In the bowl of an electric mixer* fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until frothy. With the mixer on medium-high, add in sugar, a tablespoon at a time. When all the sugar is added, whisk in the cream of tartar.

2. Raise the speed to high, and beat until all the sugar is dissolved (You can test if the sugar is dissolved by either tasting it or rubbing a small amount of the meringue mixture between your fingers. If you can still feel little granules of sugar, continue to beat it.) and the meringue forms stiff peaks. Whisk in vanilla.

3. Spoon by heaping tablespoons onto the parchment paper lined baking sheets, or place mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe into rosettes onto the parchment lined baking sheets. (With the bag straight up and down, start in the center, and pipe the meringue mixture into tight spiral until it is a circle about 3 inches in diameter.)

4. Leave meringues on the counter to dry for about an hour 9this will help them hold their shape). Preheat the oven to the lowest setting (180-200ºF). Place in the warm oven on the two center racks, and bake for 45 minutes. Pull out the baking sheets and rotate them front to back and also swap them, placing the one from the lower rack onto the higher rack and vice versa. Continue baking for 45 minutes. Turn off the oven, and prop the oven door open until the oven and baking sheets are cool, or overnight. (But double check the oven is OFF before you go to bed!!) When they are done, carefully remove the meringues from the parchment paper, and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

*Make sure to whip the meringue in a metal or glass bowl that is perfectly clean, with no trace of grease or fat in it (a plastic bowl can hold onto grease)—AND, that no bits of yolk are in your egg whites (if some egg yolk slips in, you can use the shell of the egg you just cracked to gently scoop up the traces of yolk that seep into the whites).

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