These light and airy cookies literally melt in your mouth. To make sure that your egg whites reach maximum volume make sure that all of your equipment is clean and that no parts of eggshell have made their way into the whites. While traditional meringue does not require the addition of cream of tartar, it mimics the chemical reaction that occurs when using a copper bowl to whisk whites which people believe makes the whites more stable and less likely to deflate. Think of it as adding reinforcements so that you are less likely to screw it up!
2 egg whites, at room temperature
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup chocolate chip cookies (optional)
Preheat the oven to 225°F. In a medium mixing bowl of a stand mixer (or using a handheld mixer), beat the egg whites with cream of tartar on high speed until foamy. Add the sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating consistently until the sugar is completely dissolved and the egg whites are glossy and stand in stiff peaks. If desired, gently fold in chocolate chips.
Drop round spoonfuls of meringue (if added chocolate chips) or pipe through a pastry tube, 1-inch apart on waxed paper on a cookie sheet.
Bake until the meringues are firm and they easily lift off of the waxed paper, about 1 hour. Turn off the oven and let the cookies stand in oven with door closed until cool, dry and crisp, for at least an hour. Do not open the oven or take them out, let them sit so they are not gooey in the middle. Store in an airtight container.
Makes about 24 meringues.