Mini Brown Sugar Pecan Meringues, a dessert as light as air

08/06/2013 12:00 AM

08/06/2013 1:56 PM

The online bulletin board Pinterest offers 415 photos and recipes for meringues, a confection with 6,448 followers.

Supermarkets often sell meringues in see-through plastic tubs. Specialty bakeries often offer two-bite kisses in a pastel rainbow of colors and flavors.

Meringues are the perfect treat for those watching their waistline because they are fat-free and low in calories.

The Star’s

Brown Sugar Pecan Meringues

offer a soft crunch that then melts away in your mouth like cotton candy.

Baking tips:

Avoid making meringues on a humid day.

Use a glass, copper or metal bowl to mix the egg whites; plastic bowls can have a film of unseen grease that will prevent the egg whites from forming stiff peaks.

For the meringues to set up properly, they must be baked for a long time at a very low temperature. Prepare late in the day and allow cookies to cool overnight in the oven. Transfer to an airtight container so that cookies will remain crisp. Serve within 3 days.

Toasting pecans intensifies the flavor. To toast the pecans, spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted.

Brown Sugar Pecan Meringues Makes 36 cookies (each about 11/2 inches in diameter) 3 egg whites Pinch of salt 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 3 tablespoons toasted, chopped pecans 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Gradually add brown sugar and continue beating on high speed until stiff peaks form. Beat in vanilla. Fold in chopped pecans.

Using a teaspoon, dollop the meringue into 11/2-inch rounds onto parchment paper-lined pans. Bake 1 hour. Turn oven off and allow meringues to cool completely in oven.

Optional drizzle:

Place semisweet chocolate chips in a 1-cup glass, microwave-safe measuring cup. Microwave on high power 30 seconds. Stir and continue to microwave in 15-second intervals until chocolate is melted. Place melted chocolate in a sandwich bag. Clip a small piece off one corner and drizzle chocolate over cookies.

Per cookie: 22 calories (41 percent from fat), 1 gram total fat (no saturated fat), no cholesterol, 3 grams carbohydrates, trace protein, 9 milligrams sodium, trace dietary fiber.

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