Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas, Almost


As I prepare to write my letter to leave Santa, I feel like there's something else I should write down.
And that would be the recipe for the new cookie I tried this week: pistachio meringues!

I wasn't planning on making meringues, but this morning, I suddenly realized it was Christmas Eve and I still hadn't finished my cookie tins to deliver to the neighbors. I never bought pistachios or dried cranberries to make Pistachio Cranberry Icebox Cookies. The tassies and grasshopper squares looked lonely by themselves, and even though I made ginger crackles last week, they look out of place with the other cookies.

I looked up and noticed I had Delicious Living open to a hazelnut meringue recipe. Well, I didn't have any hazelnuts around, but I did have some ground up pistachios from when I made Pistachio White Chocolate Cookies. And meringues aren't that hard to make... my mind was set. As the last batch of tassies was cooling, I set out on these cookies, and awed my grandmother, though they were a little too sweet for her tastes.

Pistachio Meringues
based on this recipe
Makes about 30 small meringues

2 large egg whites
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup ground pistachios

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and preheat oven to 275ºF.

Bring water to a simmer in a pot that a metal bowl will fit over. Whisk together egg whites in sugar in bowl over the simmering water until the sugar is dissolved, about three minutes. Remove from heat. With an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar, with cream of tartar, until still glossy peaks form, about 5 minutes.

With a spatula fold in vanilla extract and pistachios. Spoon onto prepared baking sheet, or transfer to pastry bag fitted with plain round tip and form 1" circles on baking mat. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until meringues are firm and dry to the touch and almost entirely dry on inside. Let cool on sheets for five minutes, then remove and let cool completely.

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