Perhaps because it’s the first day of winter or because the holidays are here, or maybe it was the diminutive show by the diminutive Prince I saw on Monday night, but I have been missing my Minnesota home so much this week. I often tell Kevin that worst case of heartbreak I’ve ever suffered wasn’t caused by a boy, but by a state.
Minnie is not a place for tourists. I mean, why would you? But that just makes it all the better for its residents. I could write a book about all the things I love about Minnesota (Chapter 1: The Sound Of Ice, Chapter 2: Nighttime at Nye’s, Chapter 3: The Medicinal Qualities of Jagermeister Chapter 4: The Halloween Blizzard and so on) but what I love most is snow.
When I moved here, our friend Pete, also a Minnesotan, who had pioneered Seattle for us and claim it habitable, told me, “You can drive to snow anytime.” Not the same. I miss the silence of snow, and skating on a frozen lake. I miss the heft of snow in the shovel, and shovelling your neighbor’s walk just because. I miss doing donuts in the Masonic Lodge’s parking lot and rocking my car back and forth before parking it for easier escapes after snowstorms.
When the holidays are here and it’s the darkest night of the year. I like to make a little snow in the form of a meringue. I know a thing or two about meringues: it really does help to have the egg whites at room temperature and add the sugar one tablespoon at a time, and once the cookies are done, turn the oven off and leave them in there over night. Oh, and don’t make them on a rainy day in Seattle.
This year’s version is a Cherry Pecan Meringue.
To make cookies uniform in size, scoop rounded measuring tablespoons of meringue mixture onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Use your fingers to get all the meringue out of the spoon (it is quite sticky). Don’t bake on a humid day, or your meringues may not dry.
- Prep Time30 minutes
- Total Time2 hours, 30 minutes
- YieldMakes 36
- 4 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup dried cherries or dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites, cream of tartar, salt, and vanilla until soft peaks form.
- Still beating, very gradually (1 tablespoon at a time) add sugar to egg whites. Continue to beat until sugar has dissolved and stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Gently fold in chopped dried cherries and chopped pecans.
- Drop meringue mixture by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets, spacing about 1 inch apart. Bake, switching baking sheets halfway through, until meringues are dry, about 2 hours. Cool completely on baking sheets.