Cotton Candy Meringues

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These sweet confections are light and airy, with a delightful chewy texture. Made with egg whites and sugar, and without flour, they are the perfect treats for gluten-free friends. I like to tint these cookies in pastel shades to match our cupcakes.

Ingredients

  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Liquid gel food coloring (optional)

Special Equipment

  • One 3-inch round cookie cutter

Method

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 250°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter as a guide, trace 12 circles at least 1 inch apart on the parchment, then turn the parchment over to use these circles as your guide.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), whip the egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed until the whites form soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar and cornstarch, then whip until the meringue forms stiff, shiny peaks.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in the vinegar and vanilla. Fold in a few drops of food coloring, if using.

Using a large spoon, gently scoop mounds of meringue, about 2 inches high, into the traced circles on the prepared baking sheet. Smooth the sides with a butter knife.

Bake the meringues for 1¼ to 1½ hours, until they are set to the touch. Turn the oven off and let the meringues cool in the oven for 1½ hours.

The meringues can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.