Salted Caramel Meringue Cookies
Caramel is a curious foe of mine. The sweet, amber-colored dessert has always been a taste I’ve loved (my mom even has a cat named Caramel). But homemade caramel has historically deceived me. Every time I tried to make it in a saucepan, even with a candy thermometer, the bubbling concoction burned or seized.
And I cried caramel tears on the inside because I couldn’t make caramel brownies or caramel frosting or these caramel meringue cookies or basically anything wonderful.
But I calmed down. As they say, keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Caramel and I had a heart to heart. It took two tries in one day and a trip to the grocery store to get more sugar, but we made it. My greatest success. Which seems funny, seeing as how caramel isn’t technically difficult to make. Please don’t let my caramel horror stories deter you from this lovely little cookie recipe.
A clear perk of this recipe is that you get extra caramel to jar for other recipes or sneaky late-night refrigerator raids. I won’t lie to y’all…I did take a spoon to the jar and then top it with a little bit of salt for the most precious little dessert the other day. Plus, let’s be real. When you eat these cookies, you know you want to add some extra sauce on top.
Speaking of the cookies. Meringue cookies are fun. Fickle, but fun. They’re a delicate cookie, but sophisticated if you get it right. You must have patience when waiting for stiff peaks without sugar grit. It will happen. Stand by your mixer.
Normal variations of meringue cookies typically are flavored or have chocolate swirled in them. As previously stated, I’m a fan of the caramel in this. Plus, you still get the chocolate when you dip the cookies in the chocolate.
You’ve probably seen piped meringue cookies before, but I think the sort of disheveled and varying looks of these works with the swirls of caramel. And, as always with meringue cookies, don’t bake them on a humid day. And don’t accidently leave them outside to dry.
Even if you have caramel anxieties like I used to have, these will make those worries disappear. Eating caramel is better than being afraid of caramel. I think we can all agree on that one.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 large egg whites
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup dark melting chocolates
- Place sugar in a medium saucepan, and whisk over medium-high heat until all the sugar melts.
- While the sugar continues to cook, stir it occasionally. Let it reach a red-brown color (you should be able to smell it at this point).
- Add butter and combine until it has completely melted.
- Remove pan from heat and pour cream into caramel, mixing until smooth and incorporated. Add salt and mix again.
- Let cool while you make the meringue.
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with parchment.
- In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites until soft peaks form and hold. Add sugars and vanilla. Increase speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form and you can’t feel the sugar in the meringue.
- Pour enough caramel on top of the meringue to cover it. Spoon out the meringue drops onto the baking sheet. Continue until all the caramel is gone from the first layer. Add more caramel and repeat until all meringue has been used.
- Bake meringues 30-40 minutes, until you can lift the meringues from the parchment or Silpat easily. Turn off oven and let meringues sit 15 more minutes.
- Remove to a wire rack to let cool.
- Melt chocolate and dip bottom of each meringue into chocolate, placing them back on the baking sheet to set for about 15 minutes. Keep in an airtight container or enjoy immediately.