Adorable and delicious meringue cookies made into the shape of a bird's nest.
Preheat oven to 200F. Separate the egg whites from the egg yolks into a separate bowl one at a time. This helps prevent any unwanted yolks or egg shells accidentally making it into the bowl of the stand mixer.
Transfer the egg whites to the bowl of your stand mixer.
Add the cream or tartar and salt to the bowl then begin mixing on low and gradually increase the speed to high.
Once the egg whites have frothed up, slowly add in the sugar. This step makes a big difference in your final meringue cookies, so take your time and add the sugar in gradually. You can add the sugar in a teaspoon at a time or just sprinkle it in slowly.
After the sugar has been added…add in the vanilla.
The meringue is ready once it has a thick marshmallow like texture and it can hold a nice peak. Do not let the prepared meringue sit for too long before piping…it can lose it’s consistency and not pipe as well if it sits for too long.
If you plan to add color to your meringue cookies: add a tiny amount of coloring in with a toothpick or a wooden skewer into the meringue then whip it in with the the whisk attachment to distribute the color.
Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large star attachment or with just the tip snipped off.
Pipe the meringue cookies out allowing at least an inch of space between each cookie for better airflow around each cookie. Squeeze the piping bag while it’s about 1/2 an inch from the paper, lift as you squeeze then stop squeezing but continue to lift to finish the meringue. Pipe out the meringue into a nest shape to be filled after baking.
Place the baking sheet onto the center rack in your oven to bake at 200F for one hour then turn the oven off and keep the door closed for an additional 1-2 hours. The meringue cookies are done when they are dried throughout. When they are ready they will not stick to the parchment paper…they will feel light and dry.
* Separate the egg whites from the egg yolks into a small bowl before adding to the mixer, this prevents any chance of yolks accidentally ending up into the egg whites…which can ruin the whole batch.
* Add the sugar in slowly while the mixer whips the egg whites. You can add in a teaspoon at a time or just really slowly. It makes a big difference in the quality of your meringue.
* Pipe the meringue cookies as soon as it's finished whipping. Meringue can lose it’s consistency if it sits out too long before baking.
* Place in the center rack for best baking.
* Leave the cookies in the oven for at least an hour without opening the oven, the cookies need a warm dry place to dry out after baking.
* Meringue cookies can be made with an electric hand mixer instead of a stand mixer, it can take a little longer.