Caramel Swirl Meringues – Freshly whipped meringues are swirled with caramel sauce and then baked until perfectly crisp on the outside and light on the inside.
Meringue cookies don’t get enough love nowadays. When done right, they are perfectly chewy on the inside and crisp on the outside. And you can even add additional flavors to them to make them extra-special.
That’s exactly what I did with these Caramel Swirl Meringues. I had no idea how easy it was to swirl in flavors into meringue. But this recipe from Bake from Scratch opened my eyes. Now, I can’t wait to swirl in some other flavors, like chocolate!
But before we start thinking about additional recipes, let’s focus on this one. Whipping up meringue can be temperamental. However, once you know the tricks for making sure they turn out right, you’ll easily escape any issues. Also, in this recipe, I made my own caramel, but you can certainly use your own recipe or buy a jar of caramel to use, instead.
Before we go any further into the recipe, let’s take a closer look at the Caramel Swirl Meringues.
Making these meringues
Meringues are a cookie made with few ingredients. Just egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. However, these ingredients can be a little finicky when baked together. But don’t worry, we’ll handle them just right to make sure they cooperate.
Cooking the sugar and egg whites
Before we whip the egg whites and sugar together, we cook them slightly to melt the sugar. If the sugar is gritty when whipped in the egg whites, it will melt out of the meringue when baked. So melting it ensures it becomes mixed into the whites well and stays there.
Whipping the egg whites
Once the sugar is melted into the egg whites, it’s time to whip them up. Eggs need stabilization to whip well so we don’t want to immediately turn the speed to high – we’ll slowly increase it over a minute or so. The same goes for when we decrease the speed when the egg whites are whipped – do it slowly!
You’ll know the egg whites are whipped perfectly when they are glossy and stiff. They should not spread when dolloped on the baking sheet. If they do, they need more air.
Swirling in the caramel
Once the egg whites are whipped, they’re dolloped on a prepared baking sheet. Caramel is spooned in the center and then swirled in a circle with the meringue. Careful not to swirl all the way to the edge of the egg white. Otherwise, the caramel will melt out.
Baking the meringues
In order to keep the meringues pristinely white, they need to cook at a low temperature. Therefore, the oven temperature is kept at 200 degrees. The meringues will need about 1 hour 15 minutes to cook in a low oven. Once the time expires, turn off the oven and keep them in there for another 1 hour. This will ensure the meringues come to room temperature slowly and don’t crack.
Tips & Tricks
- Stand mixer is a must. Because the egg whites take time to whip up, a stand mixer is super helpful. You can use a hand mixer, but be prepared to hold it for about 8 minutes without moving.
- Clean bowl. The bowl of the stand mixer must be super clean to ensure the whites whip up well. Also, you’ll want to make sure the yolk is completely separated from the white. Any remnants of yolk will keep the whites from whipping, as well.
Caramel Swirl Meringues
For the meringues
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 cup sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup caramel sauce recipe below
For the caramel sauce:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter salted, sliced
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For the meringues:
- Preheat oven to 200 degree. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Fill a medium sauce pan with about 2 inches of water and set over medium-low heat. Place heat-proof bowl over the top. Add sugar, egg whites, salt and cream of tartar. Mix together with a spatula. Continue to stir until sugar dissolves and mixture reaches between 150-160 degrees.
- Remove mixture from heat and pour into bowl of a stand mixer. Add vanilla extract. Using the beater attachment, whisk egg whites over low speed for 1 minute. Increase speed to medium for 30 seconds and then keep increasing the speed slowly until medium-high. Whip until glossy, stiff peaks form. This should take no more than 8 minutes.
- Spoon 12 even dollops over the baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch between each. Spoon about ½ teaspoon of caramel sauce in the center of the meringue and swirl in a circle.
- Bake in preheat oven for about 1 hour 15 minutes. Turn off oven and let them cool in the oven for about 1 hour. They should be firm to the touch. If not, leave them in there for 30 more minutes. Remove from oven and let them cool completely before eating.
To make caramel sauce:
- Place sugar in medium saucepan and heat to medium. Stir occasionally with a silicone spatula (make sure it can handle high heat temps!). As the caramel begins to liquefy, scrape from the bottom and mix back into the granulated pieces. The sugar will clump but eventually it will melt again and turn a deep amber brown. Make sure you are still stirring so it does not burn.
- Once the sugar is melted, add butter and stir until butter is melted, about 2-3 minutes. Use a whisk to incorporate the butter with the sugar.
- Very, very slowly, add the cream to the sugar mixture while whisking. The mixture will start to bubble violently, but keep stirring and it will calm down. Allow it to boil for 1 minute.
- Remove from heat and stir in the salt. Transfer to storage container (such as a mason jar) and allow it too cool for at least 1 hour before using.