When I'm stuck at home, without much to do, I tend to bake things. Most recently, I had a stash of egg whites in the freezer and some walnuts that needed using up. So I came up with these lovely little cookies, spiced with cloves and nutmeg and studded with bits of toasted walnut. I brought these into work to share, and our office manager said, "You could sell these, they're so good!" I like my meringues a little on the squishy side inside, so I didn't bake these all the way through; if you want them crispier, leave them in the oven a bit longer. —ieatthepeach
- Makes about 1 1/2 dozen
(about 1 cup) raw walnut halves
large egg whites, at room temperature
superfine (caster) sugar
Pinch of ground or finely grated nutmeg
- Place a medium skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Add walnuts in a single layer and toast, stirring frequently, until the nuts are fragrant and starting to brown. Remove from the heat and transfer to a cutting board. Let the nuts cool, then finely chop them--you should end up with a mix of textures, from small chunks to pebbles to dust. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 300º F, and position a rack in the middle. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Slowly beat in sugar, about 1 tbsp at a time. Continue beating until the meringue is glossy and holds stiff peaks. Fold in walnuts, cloves, and nutmeg.
- Drop teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto the lined baking sheets. (I find it easiest to use two spoons--one to scoop and one to push.) Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until the meringues are firm on top and a pale ivory color all over. Turn off the oven, open the door, and let the meringues cool in the open oven for 1-2 hours (or overnight), until completely cooled.
- Once the meringues are cooled, transfer to an airtight container. They will keep in a cool, dry place for up to a week.