Jorge: A merenguito or meringue is just a mixture of beaten egg whites whipped with sugar.
Raul: So why do they taste so good?
Glenn: That, Raul, will forever remain a mystery. People in Miami eat thousands of these little white morsels every day.
You see them displayed at the checkout line in every supermarket.
Jorge: Never try to make merenguitos on a rainy day.
Glenn: Just a bit of humidity in the air can really make a mess of the whole project.
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon anise extract (optional)
Baking parchment, sprayed lightly with cooking spray
1. With an electric mixer, beat egg whites at high speed in a large bowl with the cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Stop beating.
2. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. With a candy thermometer, bring the liquid to the soft ball stage: 238 degrees F.
3. Set mixer on medium speed and pour the hot syrup into the egg whites in a slow, steady stream. Beat until mixture is completely cool and shiny-about 6 to 8 minutes. OPTION: add anise extract to the mixture about halfway through the beating.
4. Spoon out by tablespoons onto your baking parchment. Add an artful swirl or other design. Be creative! Leave plenty of space between the meringues.
5. Bake meringues at 180 degrees F to 200 degrees F for approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours. (Oven temperatures may vary, so start with the lower setting if possible.) The meringues should be dry and crispy, but not brown.
NOTE: Whenever you work with eggs there is a risk, no matter how slight, of salmonella contamination. You may want to use pasteurized eggs in this recipe to reduce this risk.
Serves: Makes about a 12 merenguitos