Saturday, May 14, 2011

Grown Folks Bakesale & Lemon Meringue Cookies

I've just returned from traveling some more and with mixer in hand(s) I was ready to start preparing my treat for today's Food Blogger Bakesale, raising money for the amazing organization Share Our Strength that dedicates itself to ending childhood hunger.  SOS does amazing work, and I encourage you to either add them to your yearly donation list or volunteer to help in any way you can.

One of their fundraisers, the Great American Bakesale, translated last year to a local Food Blogger Bakesale in Los Angeles with others all over the country.  Hopefully lots of hungry people will join us today, May 14th at 11:30a-2p at BLD restaurant (7450 Beverly Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90036.)

Last year I made some almost allergy-free apple muffins.  They were delicious, but not a big seller compared to the delicious dripping goodies.  It's hard to compete at a bakesale with a healthy product that scares some non-allergics.  I thought I would try to appeal a little more to the masses this year by going in a completely different direction: Lemon Meringue Cookies.

Meringues happen to be one of my specialties (probably because they're not so hard) and I think they're a nice fat free palate cleansing opportunity next to the brownies.  Fingers crossed people like them!  Will you like them enough to make them at home?  I would.  The bright lemon flavor really meshes well with the sugary goodness of a meringue and adds a subtle back bite.  And really, what's a better marriage than lemon & meringue?

I started with my basic recipe and went from there.  Remember meringues are easy, but they are for the patient!  Read my previous post before embarking so you can see why drying is an important step.

Lemon Meringue Cookies

Makes loads of cookies, half if desired

4 large egg whites
1 tbs of fresh squeezed lemon juice
splash of vanilla (or 1 tsp if you're measuring)
a dash of salt (or about 1/4 tsp if you're measuring)
1 1/3 cups evaporated cane sugar (fairtrade if you can)
the zest of 1 medium sized lemon

Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a large bowl, beat the first 4 ingredients together using an electric mixer on low-medium speed, until you reach a foamy, barely soft peak form.
Pour sugar in slowly while beating the mixture until the sugar is incorporated.
Beat carefully on medium-high until you get stiff peaks (if you remove the beater from the mixture you'll notice a peak that can stand on it's own).  Go slower than faster.  If you over-beat, the meringue will not come together.
Fold in lemon zest.
Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Either put meringue in pastry bag and pipe a million cookies OR use a tsp dropping cookies.  Note: the smaller your cookies the less time they take to dry, and this becomes easier & faster for you.
Place cookies in oven on low and middle racks and immediately switch oven temperature to 200 F for 1 hour.
To make sure your oven is at an average temperature (and not a higher heat oven) watch your cookies (10, 15, 25 minute marks) and the second you see any golden goodness appearing or if you touch them and the cookies feel like they're firming, turn the oven back up to a high temperature for a moment, close the oven door, then SHUT OFF the oven.
If you've piped small cookies, dry for 1 hour with the oven door shut and test.
If it's ready take them out, if not, turn oven on to 250 for about 5 minutes (watching the cookies) and then shut oven off and dry for another hour.
Repeat drying as many hours as needed.

Meringues really are a delicious treat and they keep well so use leftover to decorate desserts or pack in bagged lunches.


  1. These look super yummy. I love meringue and I love anything lemon, so I'm sure these are delicious. If i make it over to the bake sale today, I'll definitely pick up a couple.

  2. Lemon meringues? Yum! Sounds great!

  3. Sounds Yummy! I love anything with lemons :) Those cookies look fantastic :)