• 4 large egg whites
• 1/8 tsp salt
• 1/8 tsp fresh lemon juice
• 1 cup sugar
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or hazelnuts
1. Bring all ingredients to room temperature – 68-70 F.
Preheat oven to 250 F.
Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a standing mixer or in a metal bowl with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites, salt, and lemon juice on low speed until foamy.
Once combined, increase speed to high and continue to beat until the egg whites are frothy and beginning to form soft peaks, 3-5 minutes. Gradually add sugar and beat until well combined, stopping and scraping down sides of bowl if necessary.
Reduce speed to low and add vanilla extract; beat until well combined.
3. Turn speed to high once again and continue to whip until mixture is glossy and stands in stiff peaks, approximately 5 minutes.
If using a standing mixer, remove workbowl from mixer; switch to a spatula and gently fold in nuts until just combined.
4. Drop batter in heaping teaspoonfuls onto parchment-lined sheets approx. 1 1/2 inches apart.
Bake the two sheets for 18 minutes. Rotate the trays and switch racks; bake for 18 more minutes.
Turn off the oven; let the cookies rest in the cooling oven for 30 minutes to fully set.
5. Remove trays from oven.
Slide parchment (with cookies still attached) off sheets and onto counter or cooling rack.
Allow to finish cooling completely.
Peel cookies off parchment.
NOTES: When making a recipe that calls for egg yolks only, separate and save the whites – pour them into an ice tray (one yolk is approx. one ice cube) and freeze.
Once they are completely frozen, remove them from the tray and place in a zip-top bag for long-term storage, then place back in the freezer.
When getting ready to make this recipe, remove 4 egg white cubes, and allow them to melt and come to room temperature on their own.
You will need to make this recipe on a low humidity day, otherwise the meringues will not set up properly.
Be sure to use a metal bowl and the whisk attachment on your standing mixer.
Plastic or wood kitchen tools may still have traces of oil on them, and can interfere with the egg whites properly whipping.
If you’ve never whipped egg whites before, it's not difficult – they look similar to whipping cream.
Don’t be afraid to stop the mixer to check the consistency, the whites won't deflate on you. But be sure to fold in the nuts, rather than stir them – stirring will deflate the whites.
Alternately, you may place the completed mixture into a piping bag and pipe them onto the parchment-lined trays for a more finished appearance.
These cook in a low oven, so they will remain completely white, with just a touch of browning on the bottom.
The parchment acts as a barrier to prevent further browning.
Also, if you only have one rack in your oven, you can hold the second tray on the counter while the first tray bakes, with no loss of quality.
As changeups, you can swap out the pecans or hazelnuts for finely chopped almonds, and add a 1/2 tsp of almond extract along with the vanilla.
Or you can finely zest a lemon and make lemon sugar (process the sugar and the zest in a food processor using 5 to 10 1-second pulses) and use that for a citrus meringue.
Pairs Well With
An excellent way to use up leftover egg whites. These cookies are delicate but extremely flavorful and have a nice, bright appearance. If you've never worked with whipped egg whites before, please see the notes below for some pointers.