Wednesday 11 February 2015

Circus Meringue Cookies {With 1/2 the Sugar!}



Where the meringues are CRUNCHY AIRY AND FULL OF DELICIOUSNESS but still low in calories and FAT FREE!

That will be five tokens, sir. Madam. Sir and Madam. Child. Boy. Cat? WHOEVER YOU ARE!

Meringues have long eluded me. With their million different flavour possibilities and glossy peaks. When I first started to go about the journey I had a few questions that go against the gold-standard grain of meringue making:

1. Do I have to use fresh eggs? What if I don't want to waste the yolk?  Solution: Yes. Carton egg whites work. YES. 

2. Do they have to be at room temperature? What if I am too lazy or need to make them and forgot to warm the egg whites (re: I am lazy) Solution: YES. I USED COLD EGG WHITES FROM A CARTON. THE BLASPHEMY. 

3. Do I really have to use all the sugar? Will it ruin them? (re: I got the ratios wrong and used half the sugar by accident)  OOPS. Half the sugar??? Meaning each cookie is only THREE FREAKING CALORIES?!??!?!? YOU CAN EAT ALL 40 COOKIES FOR ONLY 120 CALORIES....WAIT.... WHAT?!


And it worked out PERFECTLY. Yes these take some time. About 2 hours in the oven at a lowwww temperature. Why? Because we are essentially dehydrating the cookies. And if you have ever dehydrated something it takes a long time at a low temperature.

The bonus? The cookies look as beautiful coming out of the oven as they do going in. Not a darn thing changes!

Some tips:

  • DON'T expect the same texture as with a high sugar meringue. These were not glossy and silky like they normally are. They are more foamy. 
  • DO wash everything REALLY WELL. Any residue of oil or butter and your meringue won't whip
  • DO mix the colour at the beginning with the egg whites OR  gently afterward. Or stripe your bag, like I did
  • DON'T over whip. The meringue will deflate and that's no bueno -- you want all that beautiful air in there
  • DON'T take them out too early. After 90 minutes check to see if they are done. They should be firm to the touch -- if they aren't or if they stick to the parchment they are not ready!
  • DO let them sit for a few minutes to cool -- this will help them come off easier
  • DON'T let the batter sit out too long. Make. Pipe. Bake. Quick times.
  • DON'T get these wet! Keep them away from humidity in general. Just like circus cotton candy these will melt and become sticky yucky messes. Keep in an airtight container when you aren't serving them!

Circus Meringue Cookies {With 1/2 the Sugar!}

Yields 40-45 Small 1-inch diameter Meringue Cookies

Gluten Free, Lower Sugar, Fat Free


  • 120 grams egg whites (cold, from a carton or at room temperature)*
  • 60 grams castor sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or oil-free extract of choice)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Optional: sprinkles, oil-free food colouring, etc as garnish

*Conventional meringue wisdom says use fresh egg whites and make sure they are warm. I used cold carton egg whites instead for convenience' sake but you can use either method!* 

Baker's Note: If you don't have a food scale -- just use 2 parts egg whites to 1 part sugar. So if you are using 1/2 cup of egg whites that's 1/4 cup of sugar which is very similar measurements to what I used in my recipe!


  1. Preheat oven to 200 F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
  2. Prepare large piping bag fitted with tip of choice (or no tip at all!) and stripe with food colouring if desired 
  3. In a large clean bowl (or stand mixer fitted with a large paddle attachment) add egg whites and cream of tartar
  4. Beat egg whites on a medium speed until it begins to form some air bubbles -- increase the speed to high until your egg whites double in volume 
  5. At this point add your sugar, one spoon at a time while the mixer is on high 
  6. Drizzle vanilla slowly, mixing on high still
  7. Continue mixing until egg whites are very stiff and don't fall off of your beaters and feel smooth when you rub the mixture between your fingers -- you want all the sugar to be dissolved. The texture is called stiff peaks. 
  8. Scoop into piping bag and pipe rosettes or round cookies of equal size onto your cookie sheets
  9. Top with sprinkles if desired while they are wet
  10. Place both cookie sheets on the medium rack of an oven for 75-90 minutes or until cookies are firm to the touch and slide off of cookie sheet easily
  11. Let dry on a wire rack until cool completely -- keep leftovers in an airtight container

These cookies make my heart happy. They are crispy and satisfying and taste like sweet clouds and sunshine and rainbow unicorn ...vomit. Which I am sure is delicious.

I wanted them to be pink and purple. Clearly the coloring I used was not labelled accurately. YOU ARE NOT PINK YOU ARE PURPLE.

These taste like the circus. I love cotton candy and airy sweet delicious desserts -- so this is right up my alley. 

Did I mention they are delicious? Don't be afraid of meringues -- just stick to the rules and you will have fluffy beautiful edible clouds made of magic and fairy dust.

Note: fairy dust is optional but definitely an integral ingredient.

Happy Circus Meringue Making!



  1. Those look great! Such colorful little cookies :)

    1. Thank you so much, June! The colour makes my eyes happy. And hurt. Then happy again! :)

  2. I tried these and they turned out really nice. Couldn make them as colorful as you did but the taste was good. However, the recipe was a bit complicated.