Have you checked out America’s Test Kitchen: Cooking School cookbook? If you haven’t, you really should. I am not really one for cookbooks (especially since you pretty much find anything you would ever want on the internet), but I really like this one. It literally teaches you everything you need to know about cooking. It gives tips so that you can master any recipe.
Speaking of mastering recipes, have you ever tried making merengue cookies, only to end up with deflated puddles of egg-whites? Well, I have the perfect recipe for you. Merengue cookies can seem very intimidating, especially since each step must be done perfectly, for them to turn out.
This recipe will erase all of your apprehensions in making merengues. Using Caster sugar (super fine sugar) is one of the keys to perfect merengue cookies. The other key is to use room temperature egg whites. The best part about this recipe is that you simply throw them in the oven, turn it off (yes, I said turn the oven off), and leave them undisturbed for 24 hours. It really can’t get much easier than that. Just be careful not to overwhip your eggs (or allow any oil anywhere near your eggs), and you should end up with perfect merengue cookies. Have fun!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line two baking sheets with parchment
paper. (This will prevent the bottoms from getting too brown.)
In a stand mixer (with the whisk attachment), whip egg whites on medium speed
until they are foamy.
Add cream of tartar, and mix on medium speed until soft peaks form.
Gradually add half of the sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Blend well (to let the sugar dissolve) after each addition. Once half of the sugar is added, blend in the flavoring and food coloring. Finally, add the remaining sugar, one tablespoon at a time. blend until stiff peaks are formed. One way to tell if you merengue is ready is by rubbing a tiny bit of it between two fingers. If it feels gritty or grainy, it needs to be blended a little longer.
Fill a piping bag with the merengue (with an extra large star tip), and pipe small cookies (one inch apart) on the lined baking sheets. Top them with sprinkles if desired. place them immediately in the preheated oven (otherwise they will deflate), and turn it off. Do not open the door at all for at least 2 hours. This is essential for getting them to turn out.
After 24 hours, pull the cookies out of the oven. If they easily off the parchment
paper, then they are done! Enjoy.