I am so excited to share this recipe! It is my farewell to 2013. I have been working on it for a couple of weeks, tweaking here and there to get it just right - of course it took visiting my mom to finally work out some of the cooking issues I was having but isn’t that always the case!
These are the perfect cookies for New Year’s. In my family New Year’s is usually celebrated with a batch of my great-great-grandmother’s Egg Nog and these cookies are best enjoyed with a nice glass of bourbon-spiked nog (preferably fresh off the stove.) As many of us are preparing to recommit to our diets, our workouts, and our health in the New Year (more on this in Thursday’s post) this is a great way to celebrate the end of 2013. And get that last hit of sugar.
I generally try to avoid sugar and I worked really hard to take as much out as I could. I’m also using brown sugar instead of white because it has a (slightly) higher mineral content, takes less processing and tastes awesome.
If you’ve never made meringues, let me warn you that the outside humidity can affect the cookies. If it is really damp outside you will have a hard time fully cooking them and they will end up very chewy. These are already chewier than normal meringues because of the brown sugar and bourbon, so I would suggest making them on a clear day if possible (I have made them on cloudy or rainy days with varying success, but it can be done.)
About the egg whites: after you’ve separated them, let the whites sit on the counter (in a covered bowl if you have prowling kitties) for about 30 minutes so that they can come to room temperature. This helps the whites peak better when beaten.
About the pecans: we LOVE pecans, but if you do not feel such affection for them you can use 1 cup instead of 2, or none at all (but then they’d just be Bourbon Meringues… though that sounds pretty awesome too.)
Egg whites, 4 (room temp)
Light Brown sugar, ¾ cup
Salt, 1/4 teaspoon
Vanilla, ½ teaspoon
Pecans, 1-2 cups chopped (smallish)
Bourbon, 4 tablespoons
Serves: 1-however many people it takes to eat c. 55 cookies
Time – prep and cooking: 2 hours
1. Preheat the oven to 300° and line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper (I used 2 large sheets and 1 small.)
2. Beat egg whites in a large bowl with electric mixer on high speed until foamy.
3. Beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time; continue beating until stiff and glossy (if you can turn the bowl upside down without the meringue moving, you’re good. See the photo below)
4. Using a spatula fold/stir in salt, vanilla, bourbon and pecans.
5. Drop the mixture by teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto the cookie sheets.
6. Bake for 15 minutes at 300° until light brown then lower the oven temp to 200° and continue cooking for 1.5 hrs.
7. Cool for 5 minutes; carefully remove from the cookie sheets to a wire rack. They may stick a little to the parchment paper, but that’s fine, they’ll still taste fantastic. If you are generous, share them, but you might not want to.
Note: The photos are from a batch I did with Dark Brown sugar, so the mix and cookies are a bit darker than yours will be. I ultimately didn’t use Dark Brown sugar because it is just a little too moist for this recipe.
How do you ring in the New Year? Do you have any special foods or traditions?
Other awesome recipes for end of the year festivities:
Mexican Chocolate Pots De Crème (Great recipe for the egg yolks you’ll have leftover after you make this recipe)