Cherry-Almond Meringue Cookies
- Place egg whites in a large bowl. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or foil; set aside.
- In a food processor, combine almonds and the 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Cover and process until almonds are finely ground. (Or if you have a coffee grinder or nut grinder, work in small batches to grind the nuts with the sugar.)
- Add almond extract and salt to egg whites. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add the 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed until stiff peaks from (tips stand straight). Fold in almond mixture.
- Transfer meringue to a decorating bag fitted with a small open star tip or a large round tip. Pipe 1-1/2-inch circles 1 inch apart onto the prepared cookie sheets, building up sides to form shells. If the tip gets clogged, use a toothpick to unclog. Bake all of the meringue cookies at the same time on separate oven racks for 20 minutes. Turn off oven; let cookies dry in oven with door closed for 1 hour. Lift cookies off paper or foil. Transfer to a wire rack; cool completely.
- Before serving, spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of the cherry preserves into the center of each meringue cookie. If desired, sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar. Makes about 48 meringue cookies.
From the Test Kitchen
Prepare and bake meringue cookies as directed. Layer unfilled cookies between waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months. To serve, thaw cookies if frozen. Fill as directed in step 5.