A few weeks ago, I crossed one more thing off of my culinary bucket list: homemade pastry cream. I made some Boston cream pie cupcakes for a coworker’s birthday, and I was surprised at how easy it actually was to make pastry cream from scratch.
After it was all said and done, I was left with four egg whites sitting in a bowl on my kitchen counter. I had an internal conversation with myself regarding what to do with them: tossing them down the drain was out of the question. Maybe an egg white scramble for breakfast? Orrrrr…. I could make meringue cookies.
Yes! Meringue cookies. Now the big question: what kind of meringue cookies? Since Memorial Day is around the corner and summer is soon approaching, how about something that screams “summer”? That’s when I remembered that little bottle of root beer extract I bought last year, tucked all the way in the back of my “extracts” bin (yes, I have a bin just for extracts).
ROOT BEER MERINGUE COOKIES, you guys!
…Sorry, I’m yelling. But seriously, it can’t be any fancier and cooler than that, can it?
You know how there are certain things and smells that remind you of something? Well, as these babies were baking in the oven, my entire house smelled like root beer, which totally reminded me of sipping on an ice cold glass of root beer on a hot summer day and how much I wish it was 85 degrees and sunny outside at the time.
If you’re not familiar with making meringue cookies, I have a few tips that I’ve learned based on past personal experiences that I talk about here. And in case you’re not familiar with meringue cookies, they’re not the kind of “cookie” that comes to mind; instead, they’re light, slightly crunchy, and melt right in your mouth as soon as you bite into it. Think of it like a fancy cookie that fancy people eat, except it’s not at all difficult to make whatsoever.
Make these for your family and friends to impress them – each batch easily makes at least 60-80 of these cookies so there will be plenty to pass around, plus I swear you can never just eat one!
- 4 egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons root beer extract
- Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt starting on medium speed for a few seconds, then gradually increasing the speed to medium high. Beat for 1-2 minutes or until soft peaks form*.
- Turn your mixer to high and add in the granulated sugar into the egg white mixture, one spoonful at a time (about 1 tablespoon) until gone. Beat the mixture for 5 minutes until stiff peaks form**. Add in the root beer extract and beat until combined.
- Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag with a large open star. Pipe meringues about 1" apart and bake for 60 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the meringues stand in the closed oven overnight. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 5 days.
- *Soft peaks = tips curl when you lift the whisk straight up
- **Stiff peaks = tips stand straight up when you lift the whisk straight up