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Meringue Kisses

Baci di Meringhe

Makes about 6 dozen

Ingredients

4 large egg whites

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon almond extract

1 teaspoon white vinegar

2 tablespoons cranberry juice or beet juice (for coloring)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 250F

Use a stand mixer to beat the whites on medium speed until they are foamy; add salt and cream of tartar; increase the speed to high, and slowly pour in the sugar while beating, along with the extract and vinegar. Beat until the whites are very stiff and shiny.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a pastry bag fitted with a star tip.Fill the bag halful with the meringue and pipe out 1-inch size drops, spacing them a little apart. Or use two teaspoons to drop about a ablespoon-size amount onto the baking sheets.

Bake the meringues for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not open the oven while they are baking. Turn off the oven and allow them to remain in the oven for 1 hour. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and allow the meringues to cool on them before transfering them to a cooling rack.

Variation: fold nuts,chocolate, dried fruits, toffee, crushed peppermint candy or other favorites into the meringue after they are beaten to stiff peaks.

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