Strawberry and Blueberry Meringue Cookies

'Tis the season for holiday cookie baking! I made these cookies to participate in a cookie swap with a group of lovely and talented bloggers. Super impressed with the variety of cookie recipes shared in this swap - check out the link at the bottom of my post!

Meringue is a classic treat that I love to make around the Christmas holidays -when you basically have a free pass to indulge in desserts and food! My cookies are a sweet, crunchy, two-bite delight.

The strawberry version is traditional and the blueberry one an updated, contemporary version of the meringue. The blueberry centre, once baked is sweet and chewy - similar in taste and texture to fruit thumbprint cookies.

Quick tip: Meringue is made of egg and sugar, which means it absorbs moisture easily. Pick a cool fall or winter day to make these where there is very little humidity in the air so that the fresh, crispy meringues remains brittle and airy the next day.

Makes 20 cookies

3 egg whites, set to room temperature
1/4 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

For the centre:

1/2 cup blueberries, pureed
a pinch of icing sugar
3/4 cup small strawberries, sliced finely
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Heat the oven to 250F.

In a small food processor, add the blueberries and pinch of icing sugar and puree for 1 min. Set aside.

Beat the egg whites for 30 sec and add the lemon juice. Continue to beat the egg, adding the vanilla and sugars slowly to the bowl, to ensure the egg doesn't "deflate". Beat the mixture for 2 min or so until it forms stiff peaks.

Using a silver soup spoon, scoop the egg onto a non-stick baking sheet, making a round shape. Create a small "crater" in the centre to place the fruit.

For the blueberry topping, place a half teaspoon in the centre of the egg. Use a chopstick or a couple of toothpicks to pull some of the blueberry puree around to create a swirl through the cookie.

For the strawberry topping, place a half teaspoon in the centre.  You can either leave them as is for a bright red topping, or add some egg to cover the strawberry and to create a perfect meringue with a swirl on top.

I like making a combination of these - the purple and red colours are complementary and present very well at a party.

Bake at 250F for 90 min. Turn off the heat and leave the meringue in the oven for 2+ hours, if you can.
These cookies are best eaten the day of and if you do, there is no need to keep them in the oven beyond the bake time. If you decide to keep them for 1-2 days, store them in an airtight container, separating each cookie with parchment paper, in a cool place (do not refrigerate). 
If they do soften the next day, reheat in the oven at 200F for 15-20min.


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