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1. Let egg whites stand in a medium bowl at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
2. Add almond extract, cream of tartar, and salt to egg whites. Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). In a small bowl, combine sugar and cornstarch. Gradually add the sugar mixture to the egg white mixture, about 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight).
3. Transfer egg white mixture to a disposable piping bag fitted with a large closed star tip. Pipe 1-1/2-inch "kisses" on prepared cookie sheets, leaving 1 inch between kisses.
4. Place cookie sheets on separate oven racks; bake for 12 minutes. Turn off oven; let cookies dry in oven with door closed for 1 hour. Carefully lift cookies off parchment paper. Transfer to wire racks; cool completely.**
5. If desired, use a new paintbrush or a paintbrush used only for food to lightly paint luster dust atop cookies and/or sprinkle with cocoa powder.