It has taken me a while to come around to meringue, particularly because the French macaron is certainly stunning, but so finicky to make. Also because I don’t like meringue cookies that are all the way dried-out– they just always remind me of chalk. This one is different, however. Simple to make, it stays crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside, it’s filled with pistachios(!), and I have modified the recipe to use just one egg white– perfect for the smallest batch.
Preheat the oven to 325°F. After five minutes of baking, you will reduce the oven temp to 225°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat, or with parchment paper.
Begin your cookies by finely chopping 1/4 cup of pistachios. I like to use salted nuts, but you can use what you prefer. Set the chopped nuts aside. Next, beat the egg white to soft peaks. To do this, pour the egg white into a clean medium-sized bowl and use a hand-held electric mixer. The bowl and the beaters need to be clean and free of grease. If you’re not sure about their grease-free status, pour a little lemon juice on a paper towel and give the bowl and beaters a good wipe-down. Beat until your egg white looks like soft white ocean waves when you lift the beaters, but is not yet stiff, about 1-2 minutes on low speed. The egg white will look like this when you lift the beaters:
Add the sugar, and continue beating until the mixture is stiff and glossy, about 5 minutes on the highest beater setting. It should look about like this:
Now beat in the lemon juice, cornstarch, vanilla, and drop of green food coloring. Gently mix the chopped nuts in using a spoon. Dollop the batter by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheet, making 4 or 5 equally-sized mounds.
Bake at 325°F for five minutes. Then, leaving the cookies in the oven, reduce the heat to 225°F. Bake for 50 minutes. At that point, turn off the oven and prop open the oven door. Leave the cookies sitting there in the open oven for one more hour. This is where you test your patience, and also where the meringue magic happens: the inside stays chewy while the outside cools slowly and perfects its shatter-crunch. Delightful!
If you need to store these, seal them in an air-tight container. Meringues don’t like to be left out. This recipe is adapted from Food & Wine.
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