I love all types of meringues, but these Caramel Cashew Meringue Cookies really knocked it out of the park. Along with having the ethereally light, crispy, chewy, texture you expect from a good meringue, they have an amazing flavor combo of buttery cashews and vanilla caramel.
The cashews are in the cookiea and the caramel is melted and drizzled over the cookies. They look really pretty and freeze quite nicely, and my only regret is that it took me so long to try this recipe! The original version is on allrecipes.com, but I found another version credited to Better Homes and Gardens that uses fewer eggs (4 instead of 5) and calls for caramel. My version is a combination of the two.
Tip: Makes sure your cream of tartar is super fresh. After a few weeks in the pantry it may start to absorb other smells or just develop a weird off smell that can ruin the flavor of the cookie.
Update: I still like this recipe, but over the years I keep halving it, so I'm rewriting it as I usually make it -- the halved version. I also like using a bit more cashews. If you need a huge batch, go with one of the originals.
Caramel Cashew Meringue Cookies
- 2 large egg whites room temperature, 80 to 90 grams**
- ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¾ teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups sifted powdered sugar sift before measuring (½ pound/230 grams)
- 1 ⅓ cups cashews salted, can use lightly if preferred
- 12 vanilla caramels
- 2 ½ teaspoon milk whole, but 2% works too
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a deep metal bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks just start to form. Beat in cornstarch, then gradually add powdered sugar, about ¼ cup at a time, beating on medium speed until batter forms stiff peaks. Beat in a splash of vanilla, then fold in the cashews with a rubber scraper. Batter should be stiff enough so that you can plop it onto the baking sheet, but it will be slightly looser than meringue and might run a tad.
- Drop by rounded teaspoons (or larger) about 2" apart onto prepared cookie sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until edges are very lightly browned. For larger cookies, bake for about 20 minutes. transfer to a wire rack to cool. When cookies are completely cool, peel them off the parchment. If you like a crispier crust and less chew, turn the oven off after your 15 or 20 minutes and keep the cookies in the hot oven for another 10 minutes, then let cool completely.
- To make the drizzle, combine the caramels and milk in a microwave-safe measuring cup and microwave on 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds.
- Drizzle caramel mixture over cookies. This is tricky because it's kind of thick. If you want, you can transfer it to a snipped freezer bag or decorating bag, or you can just quickly spoon it on using the very tip of the spoon. If it starts solidify too quickly, you can microwave it again for 5 to 10 seconds to get it back to drizzling consistency.
- Let stand until caramel mixture is set.