Meringue Swirls

Prep Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs

Food editor Kristina Kurek mixed fresh vanilla bean seeds and citrus zest into a meringue cookie. The result -- a sweet, swirly cloud that tastes as good as it looks.


  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature

  • ¾ cup sugar

  • ½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped

  • Large pinch of salt

  • Large pinch of cream of tartar

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh orange zest

  • Gel-paste food coloring, in orange


  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Combine egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl. Add vanilla bean seeds. Set bowl over a pot of simmering water, and stir until sugar dissolves and mixture is warm, about 3 minutes. Add salt and cream of tartar.

  2. Beat with a mixer on medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form and meringue is mostly cooled, about 7 minutes. Beat in zest.

  3. Using a small paintbrush, paint 3 vertical stripes of food coloring inside a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip (Ateco #805). Fill bag with meringue, and pipe 1 3/4-inch circular shapes (they don't need to be perfect rounds) 2 inches apart on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. As you finish piping each shape, apply less pressure to pastry bag, and swirl the tip off in a circular motion.

  4. Bake meringues until crisp on the outside but still soft inside, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.


Cook's Notes

The orange zest and orange food coloring in these cookies can be swapped out for lemon zest and yellow food coloring. If you want to mix colors, make one batch of each rather than splitting the recipe.


On "Martha Bakes," Martha used one whole vanilla bean and eliminated the orange zest. You may use any color of gel-paste food coloring you like.

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