Healthy Low-Sugar Meringue Cookies are made with half of the sugar amount that’s usually needed to bake perfectly crispy and crunchy meringues! All-natural and indulgent, the Low-Sugar Meringues are higher in protein and significantly lower in sugar and calories than the traditional recipe!
WHY YOU USUALLY USE A LOT OF SUGAR TO MAKE MERINGUE COOKIES
You may already know that I kind of have this “special love” for all things meringue! Making the meringue (while eating it out of the mixing bowl simultaneously) is just so much FUN! It’s… my perfect way of practicing baking therapy! And my FAVORITE way to chill out after a long day! 🙂 🙂 🙂 So, after having been making such things as these Healthy Marshmallows and this Healthy Meringue Ice Cream lately on repeat, I thought for awhile that the ONLY way to make meringue that is both all-natural and low-sugar would be to use such stabilizing agents as gelatin and agar, like I do in my meringue-based desserts!
And thus, I thought it’d be literally impossible to enjoy the crunchy meringue cookies or anything baked-meringue without having to either use the correct amount of sugar, or sub it for the same amount of sugar substitute (calorie-free, but not that all-natural)!
Question: Why can’t you just use less sugar than a traditional recipe calls for? (Just for you info the optimal proportion of egg whites to sugar is at least 1:2. Which means that for every 30g of egg whites (1 egg white) you’d have to use at least 60 g of sugar(about 1/3 cup)! )
Answer: The reason for this is that according to foodcrumbles.com “the amount of sugar will impact the crunch and crisp of your meringue. More sugar will give a crispier sturdier meringue. The sugar prevents the moisture from evaporating too quickly (so it won’t collapse that easily) but also because sugar itself, together with the protein, will form a sturdy structure that’s the actual meringue”. And so – the fact is: the more sugar you use the crunchier meringue cookies you will get!
So: if you do not use enough sugar in the recipe (and I TRIED, I honestly tried downsizing on the sugar more than a few times), your meringue cookies will never be white and crispy or hold their shape! Never! Even if you, like I, try baking them at a lower temperature longer than usual.
I know… Tough! 🙂
HOW TO MAKE MERINGUE COOKIES WITH LESS SUGAR
So: for awhile I simply gave up on the idea of making healthy (lower sugar) meringue cookies, and if I really wanted a regular meringue cookie, I’d just get the store-bought! (Because what’s really the point of making them if after you’ve messed around for an hour in the kitchen to make them, you’ll get the same thing that you can get online or in Trader Joe’s for $2?)
But that was until I have read about inulin – an all-natural ingredient that you can actually find in very many store-bought baked goodies (it may also be described as a chicory root fiver or soluble fiber in the ingredients list)!
Now: why do you think do they add the inulin to so many baked goods? It’s because inulin is a fiber which acts as stabilizer that makes baked goodies lighter due to its moisture-absorbing ability!
Moisture absorbing… But isn’t it what we need to achieve a crispy meringue? Isn’t it what we use all that sugar for? To DRY OUT the egg whites? A-ha! So how about if we use this moisture-absorbing fiber and REDUCE the sugar amount then?
This is how this recipe was born! And let me tell you: I DID NOT expect for it to work! I just thought I’d give it a try, just because I HAD to try making the healthier crunchy meringue cookies!
So, here’s what I did: I subbed 1/2 of the sugar with the inulin.
I whipped the whites and added the inulin and the sugar as I would with a regular meringue. I baked the cookies. Just as with the regular meringue cookies. Nice and slow, at a very low temperature.
And… when the meringues were baked they were… sticky, but WHITE! Hm… I ate a few. They tasted good. But they were not crunchy!
So, I left the rest in the oven. Hoping that maybe they will dry out just… a bit…. Maybe?
But here’s what happen next! I opened the oven next morning (because I baked them at night, when the house is finally quiet, like I always do). And…
THE MERINGUES WERE HARD AND CRISPY! AND WHITE, AND PERFECTLY DRIED OUT!
I could not believe it! But it worked out!
And so… here’s the recipe, my friends!
Oh, and I am SOOOO MAKING these beauties again! Because they both tasted and worked out SO GOOD!
Just hoping that you’ll give them a try and enjoy them as much as I did! With half the sugar calories and literally no guilt from enjoying more than a few of them in mind! 🙂
- 2 egg whites 60 g egg whites
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup inulin
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 220 F. Note: a convection oven will cook your cookies faster and dry them out better. Only if you are using the convection setting, set it for 200 F as convection runs hotter than the regular bake.
Put the egg whites and cream of tartar into a into a clean, dry bowl. Begin whisking with an electric mixer on medium speed, and gradualy increase speed to high. Whip for 2-3 minutes.
Whisk together the inulin and sugar. Decrease the speed to medium and begin adding the sugar mixture to the egg whites, one a spoonful at a time. Once all the sugar mixture is in increase the speed to high again and whip until the meringue is very stiff and glossy. Add the vanilla and whip for another minute.
You can either fill the meringue into a piping bag and pipe the cookies onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper, or, to make things easier, use the cookie scoop (like I did here), or a regular spoon to drop the dollops of merngue onto the sheet! (See notes about the size)*
Put the cookies in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 195F for the regular oven and 190F for the convection oven and bake for 1 hour in the regular oven and for 50 minutes in the convection oven.
This is important: turn off the oven and leave the meringues inside for at least one-two hours until they cool completely and dry out. If the meringues aren't crunchy just yet (which happens to bigger size cookies), bake for another 5-10 minutes at 180F for regular bake and 170F for convection and keep them in the oven overnight.
*The bigger the cookies the longer they need to be cooked. The recipe is for the medium-size meringues (about 1 inch in diameter). If yours are smaller and piped out of a star-shaped tip, they will bake much faster. Bake those for about 45 minutes on the regular bake, then shut the oven down and let them crisp up. Bake the bigger cookies for an additional 10-15 minutes just to ensure their crispiness!
*To make them keto, substitute the powdered sugar for the erythritol-monk fruit blend (which is just as sweet as the the sugar).