Meringues are one of my favorite sweets. In Paris the bakery windows will have huge piles of enormous, cloud looking meringues in all different colors and flavors. They are so light and crispy, with some slight chewiness in the center and lots of sweet flavor. This variety includes a tiny bit of coconut extract and toasted coconut, but they really could go in many different directions with the addition of chocolate chips, vanilla, or fresh raspberry puree.
4 egg whites, at room temperature
2-1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp coconut extract
1 cup lightly toasted unsweetened flaked coconut
Preheat the oven to 185 degrees. Cover a sheet pan in parchment paper.
You will need either an upright electric mixer, or a handheld mixer, and either a glass or stainless steel bowl.
Start by beating the egg whites and coconut extract on high speed until they are foamy. Then begin to sprinkle the sugar in, and continue to beat on high speed. Beat the egg whites and sugar until they become stiff, white and very shiny. This can take anywhere from 15-20 minutes. When they are finished, gently fold in the lightly toasted coconut. Spoon heaps of the meringue mixture onto the parchment paper, don’t worry about how they look, I like them in irregular, sloppy mounds!
Cook them for about 2 hours or until they are dry and crispy, but not browned. Let them cool completely before storing them in an airtight container.