This is a recipe Rosie Beaucoup introduced me to many years ago. I believe the original came from an ancient Canadian Living magazine, but I’ve altered the notes and method considerably. Growing up, I ate many a meringue made with this method, and even requested them as a part of my prom night dinner (which Rosie catered). I wore a shiny gold dress and had a fresh perm, so yes, I LOOKED SPECTACULAR.
I call these faux meringues, as unlike their true meringue cousins, this recipe only requires one egg white. In addition, when making traditional meringues, you would normally whip multiple egg whites for a bit and then slowly add the sugar. Not with these babies! You’re basically going to throw everything into a bowl and hope for the best. (Not unlike the chaperones at a prom.)
Some of you might not think these meringues are as pretty as their authentic cousin as they sometimes grow feet – at least on the small kisses. (I gathered some footed friends for the photo below). And like all meringues, they’ll sometimes crack. Still, I’m devoted to them. I’m more than happy to live with meringue pedestals and blemishes when the results are so darn tasty.
This is a small batch recipe, which makes these meringue kisses perfect for using as embellishments on a dessert. Because there is only egg white – you will not get the same quality of meringue that you would from a traditional recipe. You’ll find the meringue doesn’t get as silky as you might expect during whipping. This is due in part to the absence of all those egg whites, and as a result it’s next to impossible to get the meringue perfectly smooth and grit-free. If you run the sugar through a food processor or blender (after measuring), it helps in this department, but I’m extremely lazy, rarely do so, and still enjoy them immensely.
Now, some of my description above might sound negative, but don’t for a moment get me wrong. I love these meringues! Crunchy, sweet, and melt-in-your mouthy. They are more cost effective than a traditional recipe, and don’t leave you with copious quantities of egg yolks to use up. They take no time to throw together, and they’re perfect for snacking upon. Yes, pastry snobs will turn their noses up at you and your faux meringues, but WHO NEEDS ‘EM?! (You’ve got me.) (And meringues.)
- on top of ice cream or berries – whole kisses or crushed – with whipped cream (think Eton Mess)
- in a bowl with whipped cream and chocolate sauce – this is my most favourite dessert on the planet
- as is, and by the handful
If you plan to crush these meringues over a dessert, you might not want to pipe them. Simply use a couple of spoons to drop small mounds onto the parchment paper and bake that way. They’ll probably be larger than the kisses, so you’ll need to adjust your baking time accordingly. Like, bake them longer. You understood that, right?
So, if you need a perfect, blemish-free meringue, I’d recommend using a traditional recipe. But if you’ve got one stupid egg white leftover from a recipe? Give it purpose! If you’re looking for something to plop on top of an otherwise healthy dessert? These kisses will suit. Need a bite-sized pick-me-up? This one’s for you! Long for a cheap, easy-to-throw-together meringue? Go forth, Meringue Rebel! Wishing I’d stop this ridiculous series of questions and answers? Done.
. . .
Yields about 40 meringue kisses, 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter.
- 1 large egg white, room temperature
- 3/4 cup super-fine sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons boiling water
Mise en place – get organized. Read through the entire recipe before beginning. Measure out all of your ingredients. Running the sugar (after measuring) through a food processor or blender will help to eliminate some of the potential grit in these meringues. Meringues whip best in metal or glass bowls, which are clean and grease-free.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 225°F.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, on low speed, mix the egg white, sugar, cornstarch, vinegar and vanilla extract for about 10 seconds. With the mixer still running (be sure it’s at low speed to avoid splash-back), add the 2 tablespoons boiling water and mix for about 20-30 seconds. Increase speed to medium, and beat for about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until stiff, shiny peaks form and the mixture feels less gritty, about 15 minutes. If using a hand-held mixer, this might take a little longer.
Pipe or spoon the meringue into small mounds on prepared baking sheet. I use a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 6B tip – a large French tip. Each piped kiss has about a tablespoon of meringue, and is about 1 inch in diameter.
Bake for about 1 hour if making small meringue kisses, and longer if meringues are larger. Check your meringues for doneness after about 45 minutes of baking time – it’s best if you don’t open the oven door before this. Test for doneness by breaking one open – meringues should be firm and crisp. Turn off oven and leave meringues inside until crisp, dry and completely cool – about 1 hour.
Remove from oven and carefully remove from parchment paper.