Whip up cookies as light as a cloud with a little culinary assistance from chef, baker and cookbook author Joanne Chang. The mathematician-turned-pastry-queen has airy meringue treats down to a science and the recipe will make an appearance in the upcoming Myers + Chang cookbook (her fourth!). Follow the instructions below for heavenly holiday sweets.
- 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
- 1 cup egg whites (about 8 large whites)
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Heat the oven to 175°F and place a rack in the center of the oven. Place the coconut on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until light golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or with an electric hand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes. (The whites will start to froth and turn into bubbles and eventually the yellowy viscous part of the whites will disappear. Keep whipping until you can see the tines of your whisk leaving a slight trail in the whites. Test for soft peak stage by stopping the mixer and removing the whisk from the whites and lifting it up; the whites should peak and then droop.)
- With the mixer on medium speed, add the white sugar in three increments, mixing for 1 minute between additions. Meanwhile sift the confectioners’ sugar and salt together. Once you’ve beaten all of the sugar into the egg whites, increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat for about 30 more seconds.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the confectioners’ sugar and salt. Fold in the toasted coconut, reserving a few tablespoons to garnish the tops of the meringues.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a large spoon to scoop out baseball-sized, billowing mounds of meringue onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. You should get about 8 meringue clouds. Sprinkle the reserved coconut on top of the meringues.
- Bake for about 3 hours, until the meringues are firm to the touch and you can remove them easily from the baking sheet without having them fall apart. For meringues with a soft, chewy center, remove them from oven at this point and let them cool. For fully-crisped meringues, turn off the oven and leave the meringues in for at least 6 and up to 12 hours. The meringues may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.