Chocolate Drizzled Pecan Meringue Cookies
For a fun holiday dessert idea, try these prune & pecan meringue cookies! Light and airy meringues, baked into crisp cookies, finished with a chocolate drizzle. I’ll show you how to make meringue cookies without cream of tartar, using just egg whites & sugar—with crunchy pecans & chewy prunes folded in. Easy to customize with your choice of mix-ins!
Try my Mini Baklava Cups for another impressive & festive treat!
What are meringue cookies?
Meringue cookies are light, crisp cookies made from whipped egg whites and sugar. I know, egg white cookies can sound strange…but they taste nothing like an omelet. These homemade meringue cookies are like crunchy, sugary clouds that literally melt in your mouth. Almost like dollops of whipped cream baked to a crisp! And making them is always such a mindful, sensory experience for me. Notice how the egg whites’ texture transforms as they whip, the satisfying crunch of the first bite, the sensation as it melts on your tongue—it’s unlike any other dessert!
Easy Meringue Cookies Ingredients
- Egg Whites. To make the best meringue cookies at home, use fresh egg whites from whole eggs, separated without any yolk left in them. Don’t use a pre-packaged carton of egg whites! Save those for an omelet or other recipes—not for making meringues.
- Superfine Sugar. Also known as caster sugar or baker’s sugar, superfine sugar is just granulated sugar that’s been ground into very fine crystals, so it dissolves more easily. Which means your homemade meringue cookies will turn out lighter & smoother! You could use regular granulated sugar in this recipe, but your whipped mixture won’t turn out as smooth or stable. For a truly melt-in-your-mouth meringue, it’s worth looking for superfine sugar at your grocery store, or you can order it online.
- Mix-Ins. I baked my meringue cookies with pecans and diced prunes folded in, but feel free to substitute with any mix-ins you want—like other nuts, dried fruits, or chocolate chips! Or, you can skip the mix-ins altogether and make classic French meringue cookies by adding just a dash of vanilla.
- Chocolate Drizzle. I love how these light, sweet egg white cookies taste drizzled with some rich, indulgent chocolate! I used chocolate candy melts to make it easy, or you can temper milk or dark chocolate over the stove. If you don’t like the drizzled look, try making chocolate dipped meringue cookies instead, or skip the chocolate altogether.
What happens if you don’t use cream of tartar in meringues?
Typically, meringue recipes use cream of tartar or lemon juice because the acid helps stabilize the whipped egg whites—particularly when making something like a meringue pie. Without cream of tartar, the consistency may turn out flatter, runnier, or less-sturdy overall. But, in a meringue cookies recipe, I’ve found that cream of tartar isn’t 100% necessary. Even without any added acid, these meringues turned out fantastic! However, factors like weather & humidity can affect the texture, so you might consider including cream of tartar on an as-needed basis.
Tips for Making Meringue Cookies without Cream of Tartar
- Use a clean, dry stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Rather than whipping by hand, a stand mixer will whip egg whites more evenly & produce a better texture. Just make sure the bowl & beater are completely clean & dry—any moisture can compromise your meringue cookies.
- Mind the weather. When I made this recipe, it was a cool, dry day with low humidity—which are ideal conditions for making meringue cookies without cream of tartar. If it’s a hot day, and especially if it’s a humid day, consider adding ¼ tsp cream of tartar to help stabilize your meringue mixture.
- Separate fresh egg whites carefully. Instead of cracking your eggs directly into the stand mixer bowl, crack them into a separate bowl while you separate the whites from the yolks. Any small bit of yolk can ruin your meringues! I don’t have any fancy method to separate egg whites—I just use my hands so I can handle the yolk gently.
- Add superfine sugar slowly. Superfine sugar will integrate into your homemade meringue cookies much more easily than regular granulated sugar, so it’s one less variable for you to worry about. Still, be mindful of adding the sugar gradually—one spoonful at a time—so it has time to dissolve before you add more.
- Don’t under-whip or overwhip your egg whites! Keep beating your meringue mixture for at least 5+ minutes, until you have glossy, stiff peaks. But make sure you don’t overbeat your batter either—stop as soon as you have stiff peaks!
Stages of Whipped Egg Whites
To avoid under- or overwhipping your meringue cookies, pay attention to the stages the egg whites go through. First, egg whites start out opaque, liquid-y, and foamy. Next, they’ll turn white and form soft peaks that slump. Then, they’ll form firm peaks—which means, when you lift the whisk from your batter, the meringue mixture forms a tall peak that holds its shape and doesn’t fall. This is your sign to stop beating! If you continue past this point, you’ll have overwhipped egg whites: the foam collapses and they become grainy, watery, and flat.
How to Make Meringue Cookies with Nuts & Dried Fruit
- Toast pecans for 7-10 minutes at 350°F (180°C). If you plan to make meringue cookies with nuts of any kind, I recommend toasting them first for the best flavor! If you don’t plan to include nuts, skip this step.
- Turn down the oven temperature to 250°F (120°C) so it has time to cool before baking your meringues. Then, line a baking sheet with parchment.
- Whisk egg whites with superfine sugar. First, add egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on medium-high speed. Next, slowly add superfine sugar one spoonful at a time, letting each spoonful integrate before adding the next. Continue to whisk for 6-10 minutes, until the mixture is glossy and forms stiff peaks.
- Fold in mix-ins. Once stiff peaks form, fold chopped pecans and diced prunes into the batter—or any mix-ins you’d like! Or, for a smoother & easier batch of meringue cookies, skip the mix-ins altogether.
- Pipe meringues onto a baking sheet. To form your homemade meringue cookies, transfer the batter into a piping bag with a large round piping tip. Then, use a gentle swirling motion to pipe each cookie, so they’re around 3-inches in base diameter. (Yields 8-10 meringues of this size.)
- Bake meringue cookies for 2 to 2½ hours. You’ll know they’re done when they’re creamy in color and you can lift them from the parchment without sticking. At this point, turn off your oven, open the oven door, and let them sit for 1-2 hours—until they cool completely.
To see my process for making meringue cookies without cream of tartar, watch my Holiday Finger Food Desserts video!
What is the best temperature to bake meringues at?
Unlike most holiday cookies, these delicate egg white cookies need to be baked at a very low temperature for a longer amount of time—so they have time to dry out and get crispy. But if the temperature is too low, they’ll turn out chewy instead of crunchy. In my experience, the best temperature to bake these pecan meringue cookies at is 250°F (120°C) for around 2 hours. (If you make smaller-sized meringues, they may need to bake for a shorter amount of time.)
For Chocolate Dipped Meringue Cookies
You don’t have to add any chocolate, but I decided to make chocolate drizzled meringues for a tasty twist over the holidays! Or, you can dip your cookies in melted chocolate instead of drizzling. You can use milk or dark chocolate—the chocolate just needs to be tempered first to stabilize it. (Here’s how to temper chocolate for truffles.) But since tempering can be tricky, I prefer to use chocolate candy melts, which I just melt in the microwave.
- Melt chocolate as desired. Once your meringue cookies have cooled, temper chocolate over the stove or heat chocolate candy melts in the microwave.
- Coat meringues in melted chocolate. I used a fork to drizzle melted chocolate over my pecan meringue cookies, or you can hold each cookie by the tip and dip just the bottom in melted chocolate.
- Let chocolate set before enjoying your meringues or storing them!
How to Store Pecan Meringue Cookies
Immediately after cooling (and/or the chocolate coating has set), store homemade meringue cookies in an airtight container in a cool, dark area. If you need to stack them on top of each other, use layers of parchment paper to separate them. Storing baked meringues A.S.A.P. after cooling will help maintain their crispness. And for a bonus storage hack, add a marshmallow into the storage container to absorb moisture and keep them fresh!
Pecan Meringue Cookies with Chocolate Drizzle
- 3 large egg whites, from fresh eggs
- ¾ cup superfine sugar, a.k.a. caster sugar or baker's sugar
- ¼ cup roasted pecans, finely diced
- ¼ cup prunes, finely diced
Optional Chocolate Coating
- ⅓ cup milk or dark chocolate, (or chocolate candy melts)
- large round piping tip
Toasted Nuts (Optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Add pecans to a baking sheet and toast for 7-10 minutes, until fragrant. Remove from oven and allow to cool. (If you don’t plan to use pecans, skip this step.)
Easy Meringue Cookies
- Turn oven temperature down to 250°F (120°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment.
- In a stand mixer (or by hand), whisk egg whites on medium-high speed (level 6 of 10). Slowly add superfine sugar a spoonful at a time, continuing to whisk until the mixture is glossy and forms stiff peaks (around 6-10 minutes).
- Remove whisk and gently fold in diced prunes and pecans.
- Transfer mixture into a piping bag with a large round piping tip.
- Pipe meringues onto prepared baking sheet, making them 3 inches or so in base diameter.
- Bake 2 to 2½ hours, until meringues are creamy in color and can be lifted from the parchment without sticking. Then turn off oven, open the oven door, and let meringues sit until they cool completely (1-2 hours).
- Yields 8-10 meringues (with 3-inch base diameter).
Chocolate Coating (Optional)
- If desired, melt chocolate of choice for chocolate drizzled or chocolate dipped meringues. Either temper chocolate in a double boiler, or melt chocolate candy melts in a microwave.
- Use a fork to drizzle melted chocolate on top of cooled meringues, or hold each cookie by the tip and dip the bottom in chocolate.
- Allow chocolate to set before enjoying or storing.
- As soon as meringues have cooled completely or chocolate has set, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks. Keep them in a cool, dark area like a pantry. If you need to stack the cookies inside the container, separate layers with parchment.
Nutrition Notes:Nutrition for 1 classic meringue cookie, with no mix-ins or chocolate coating: 59 calories | 0g fat | 14.5g carbs | 0g fiber | 14.5g sugar | 1g protein
16mg sodium | 0mg cholesterol Nutrition for 1 prune & pecan meringue cookie (no chocolate coating): 88 calories | 2g fat | 17.3g carbs | 0.6g fiber | 16g sugar | 1.4g protein
16mg sodium | 0mg cholesterol Below nutrition is per 1 chocolate-drizzled pecan meringue cookie.