Sorry for the late post, but here's the recipe for the meringue cookies I made for my neighbor, whose sister was turning 50.
I had actually never had a meringue cookie before, let alone make them. So when she asked me to make them, I was excited at making something new. These are pretty simple. It's essentially just egg whites, sugar and air. They sweet, but light and airy. I actually went to the grocery store to buy some (only available at specialty stores!) just so I can taste them and see/feel the consistency so I know how mine were supposed to turn out. Research!! I looked through different recipes, and they're all pretty basic, except with different variations, like peppermint, chocolate chips, cocoa meringues. I ended up making vanilla ones, and tinted them yellow to match the theme of the party.
-3 large egg whites (3 ounces or 90 grams)
-1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
-3/4 cup (150 grams) superfine or caster sugar (if you don't have superfine sugar simply take granulated white sugar and process it for about 30-60 seconds in a food processor)
-1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. You can form the cookies with a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) plain tip, or I watched a few U-Tube videos that show some people just using two spoons to scoop and drop them onto the parchment to make the cookies. I used the 1M top to make round cookies. Piping is just so much easier for me!
In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on low-medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat the whites until they hold soft peaks. Add the sugar, a little at a time, and continue to beat, on medium-high speed, until the meringue holds very stiff peaks. Beat in the vanilla extract.
Note: The meringue is done when it holds stiff peaks and when you rub a little between your thumb and index finger it does not feel gritty. If it feels gritty the sugar has not fully dissolved so keep beating until it feels smooth between your fingers.
Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) tip. Pipe 2 1/2 inch (6 cm) rounds of meringue in rows on the prepared baking sheet.
Or, alternatively, spoon mounds of meringue, using two spoons, onto the prepared sheets.
Bake the meringues for approximately 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours, rotating the baking sheet from front to back (about half way through) to ensure even baking. The meringues are done when they are pale in color and fairly crisp. (The meringues will release easily from the parchment paper.) Turn off the oven, open the door a crack, and leave the meringues in the oven to finish drying several hours or overnight. The meringues can be covered and stored at room temperature for several days.
Makes about 10 - 2 1/2 inch (6 cm) meringues. Or, if you want to make smaller meringues to yield more cookies, adjust your baking time to less.
*I ended up making fairly large cookies (about 2 inches) as I piped them and didn't realize that it would take so much longer to bake them (over 2 hours!). The first batch I took out too early, and instead of a smooth surface, it became spotty and shriveled. When I broke into it, it was very chewy and sugary, and stuck to my teeth when I took a bite. Indications that it was underbaked. It's supposed to be light and airy, and when you bite into them, it's supposed to melt into your mouth, no chewing necessary. It's also supposed to be glossy and smooth on the surface. A great simple dessert that look elegant as well!!