Meringue turtledoves. When I was a little girl, I loved these delicate cookies. However, I could never quite get the hang of them. Making the meringue–what was a stiff vs. soft peak? How to fill the piping bag without getting air in it and ruining the piping? I also baked them too long too, and wound up with brown, blobby little birds. I’ve made a few adjustments to the original recipe, and now I can make these without worry.
You will need:
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (however, I prefer to use a combination of vanilla and almond, I use 1/4 teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract)
2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
Piping bag with round tip or gallon-size Ziploc bag
Mini chocolate chips or rainbow chip sprinkles
In a large bowl, beat egg whites, extract, and cream of tartar until you reach the soft peak stage (when you pull up your beater, a small peak will stand up and sort of flop over). Still beating, begin to add small amounts of sugar until all had been added and, when pulling up the beater, the peak stands up straight and does not flop over.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Take a piping bag and attach a 1/2 inch round open nozzle (I used Wilton 1A). If you do not have a piping bag or a round tip, snip off the end of a gallon-sized Ziploc bag to create a 1/2 inch opening. Fill up the bag 2/3 full with meringue.
1. Place the piping nozzle just above the parchment paper and, squeezing the bag, build up the meringue.
2. Making a backwards “S” shape, move your hand while continuing to squeeze the bag.
3. Bring the bag upwards and, overlapping slightly, make a quick swirl with the flick of your wrist.
4. Add tiny chocolate chips for a beak and eye. If you have colored chips, you can make your beak yellow or orange.
Put cookie sheets in oven and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the cookies in there for up to 30 minutes. Be careful not to let them get overdone.
And then–hurray! Cute little meringue birds.