Today, which for our neighbors to the north--is Happy Canada Day, I made big, pillowy clouds of meringues and topped then with toasted almond bits, but easily I could have made "Kisses" and put two together with a lemon curd filling to add another dimension. Both almond and lemon were two of my mother's favorite flavors, chocolate being the other, and honoring her today for all the memories of our picnics was my intention.
A few basic ingredients and techniques and you have perfect Meringues that can be served alone or with a berry compote for your picnic treats.
Toasted Almond Meringues
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. almond flavoring
1/2 to 3/4 cup toasted sliced almonds, chopped
Preheat oven to 350F-degrees and spread the almonds on a small baking pan. Toast for 5 to 7 minutes until a golden brown.
Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, rotating the pans half way through the baking time. Turn off the oven and let the meringues set for 1 hour (2 hours if you are experiencing a high humidity day.)
Cool the meringues completely to room temperature before storing them in an airtight container.
If you don't like almond, there are so many substitutions you can make.
1. Sprinkle some of the strawberry powder from the freeze-dried strawberries into the meringue before baking.
2. Add 1 tsp. Vanilla extract and 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped instead of the almond extract.
3. Espresso powder or cocoa powder can be added--probably 1 tsp. espresso, 2 to 3 T cocoa.
These little meringues are perfect for your dessert table--crunchy shell with a fluffy middle!