Help: Cookie Hints and Tips, Toasting Nuts and Seeds, Making Meringue
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- 4 large egg whites
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/16 teaspoon (pinch) salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups broken walnuts, lightly toasted. Tip: Break the walnuts into pieces by hand for a clean break because chopping with a knife causes too many crumbly bits of nut. And then lightly toast the walnuts, do not overbrown.
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
- Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Prepare 2 large baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Tip: To hold the parchment paper in place, dab the corners of the baking sheets lightly with butter or shortening and then line them with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl of an electric stand mixer combine egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt; place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Using a wire whisk, whisk constantly by hand until the mixture is hot, about 3 to 5 minutes. Tip: the mixture should reach about 130 degrees F. using a candy or instant read thermometer to gauge the temperature, or feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips. Remove from heat and dry the bottom of the bowl.
- Attach the bowl to the electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium high speed for 5 to 6 minutes or until the mixture forms a thick fluffy meringue. Add the vanilla and continue beating another 1 to 2 minutes or until the meringue is thick, fluffy, and cool. Tip: Touch the meringue and make sure it has cooled to room temperature. Also the outside of the bowl should feel cool to the touch.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a large rubber spatula or large wire whisk, gently fold the walnuts and orange zest into the batter.
- Bake: Drop meringue by heaping teaspoonfuls about 1½ inches apart onto the baking sheets. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the meringues feel crisp and dry and release easily from the parchment paper. They should not show signs of browning. Tip: Test releasing the meringues by sliding a thin metal spatula underneath to loosen them from the paper.
- At the end of the baking time, turn off the heat and leave the meringues in the oven for several hours or overnight to cool and finish drying out.