This week I rediscovered meringue cookies, this time made with honey or maple syrup as a sweetener! I made fall and winter themed flavors: peppermint and pumpkin spice. I like the peppermint ones better, but I’ve always been a HUGE peppermint fan!
These cookies are fairly straightforward to make, but they do take a long time to cook. But the result is worth it! They are light and fluffy and not too many calories. They are sweet, almost like candy, and have a great texture in your mouth.
The recipes are quite similar, so below pictures of the cookies I’ll post both recipes together.
First let’s talk about how to cook these meringues. I get much better success cooking them in my dehydrator. The texture and color are both much better. They are also less sticky in the dehydrator. The oven makes the cookies browner, which is more important in the peppermint meringues. I can’t fit a full recipe with 4 egg whites in my dehydrator or oven, so I end up doing a combination of both cooking methods.
I cook these in my dehydrator at 150 F for 4 hours, then I let them cool 30 min in the dehydrator before removing from parchment paper.
For the oven, I’ve found 170 F for 3 hours works OK. If your oven doesn’t go down that low, you can do 200 F for 2 hours, though that for me leads to some leakage of the sweetener and less puffy cookies.
First step: Making the meringue
4 egg whites
1 cup natural sweetener (I used honey for peppermint meringues and maple syrup for pumpkin spice meringues)
As a quick note, 4 egg whites makes a lot of cookies. More than two large cookie trays full of cookies. If you don’t have both a dehydrator and an oven, or three racks in your oven, you may wish to halve the recipe. Or you can just make the recipe as is and toss out about 10 cookies worth of meringue. The cooking requirements make putting multiple batches in to cook pretty difficult.
Put an inch of water in a pot and place a heat-safe bowl over top of it so the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.
Place the egg whites and honey or maple syrup in the bowl, and bring the water to a boil.
Whisk the egg whites and sweetener for about 3 minutes over the boiling water. It should turn frothy.
Transfer the mixture to the mixer bowl of your stand mixer (or if you’re using a hand mixer just whip in that bowl) and mix on medium-high with a wire whisk attachment for 6-8 minutes.
Whip until the mixture turns glossy and stiff peaks form.
Reduce speed to low and add flavorings, then return speed to medium to combine.
1/4 tsp ice cold water
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
1/4 tsp lemon juice
Pumpkin spice flavoring:
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
Getting the meringue onto sheets:
Prepare your dehydrator trays or cookie sheets by putting down some parchment paper.
If looks are important to you and you want nice smooth repeatable cookies, you’ll want to use a bag to pipe your meringues. Take a gallon ziptop bag and fill it with the meringue. Cut off a corner and gently squeeze out the meringue onto the parchment paper. I find this method fiddly and it wastes some of the meringue, so I prefer the second method.
If you want to maximize the meringue you’ve made and want a less messy and easier method but don’t care about how your cookies look, use two spoons to scoop out cookies and place them onto the sheet.
Put in the dehydrator at 150 F for 4 hours to overnight or put in the oven at 170 F for 3 hours. When the time is done, turn off the dehydrator or oven and let the cookies cool in there without disturbing them. You must let the cookies cool fully before removing them from the parchment paper.
Store the cookies in an airtight container. If they are left open to the air, they will get too moist and sticky. If this happens, you can pop them in the oven again at 170 for 10-15 min.