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Kitchen Basics: Whipped Egg Whites

Susan Pachikara of Cardamom Kitchen demystifies essential cooking skills with step-by-step instructions and her own handsome photos. Whether she's showing us how much brown sugar we're meant to "pack"(or is it cram?) into measuring cups or how to detect when our onions are properly caramelized, Susan is the nonna we never had -- until now. Now, go on and get cozy under her wing.

This week, Susan demonstrates how to whip egg whites.

Whipped egg whites

I use my kitchen to travel the world. When I crave the elegance of Europe, I pull out my egg beaters and thumb through recipes for sponge cake, macaroons, and meringue cookies. These confections all possess a wispy weightlessness that comes from whipped egg whites. I avoided baking them for years, afraid that my eggs would never morph from a pool of glassy liquid to satiny white snow drifts. Pestered by a domineering sweet tooth, I eventually faced my fears. What I learned is that it is easy to whip up egg whites if you follow a few guidelines, and downright exhilarating to watch pointy peaks magically appear.

Guidelines

The tiniest smidge of fat or grease will keep whipped egg whites from fully expanding, so be sure that the bowl and beaters that you use are squeaky clean. Also, when you separate the egg whites from the yolks, be sure that none of the yolk ends up in the bowl. (It's easiest to separate eggs when they are still cold, so that's your best bet.)

Whipped egg whites

Cream of tartar and sugar both help the eggs form a sound structure. Use superfine sugar, which dissolves more easily than granulated sugar. You can purchase it, or grind granulated sugar in a food processor until it is just shy of turning powdery.

Whipped egg whites

How to Whip Egg Whites

Place the egg whites in a bowl. They will expand seven- to eight-fold, so use a large bowl if your recipe calls for a lot of egg whites.

Beat the egg whites on low speed until they become frothy on top. 

Whipped egg whites

Add the cream of tartar and beat the eggs on medium-low speed until they form soft peaks, which curl over.

Whipped egg whites

Whipped egg whites

With the beater running, slowly add the sugar. Increase the speed to high and continue to beat the eggs until they become glossy and form stiff peaks that stand erect.

The sugar should be completely dissolved. If you rub a smidge of egg whites between your fingers, it should feel smooth, not gritty. If you beat the egg whites for too long, they will lose their sheen and clump together.

Whipped egg whites

I’d love to see your tips for whipping egg whites! Share them with your fellow cooks in the comments section below.

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17 comments

Comments

alex says …

hi - my g'ma (RIP) used to make these all the time - what is the ratio of sugar, cream of tartar to the eggs? thank you in advance

Janet says …

I love your suggestion, but how many eggs and cream of tartar, as well as how much sugar must i use ??? I would like to make at least 30 pieces :0) Thank you

danette says …

do you have any good recipes for yummy vegan baked goods..?

nh says …

TIP: Having had too many experiences getting yolk in the bowl of whites, I separate over small bowls THEN add the white to the main bowl :) One can also break it into a slotted spoon to save time and potential snags on jagged shells.

Des says …

Have to make!

nancy says …

I, too, love meringues. I pull recipe after recipe, and all sound easy enough, but I can never get the peaks to form!

Shirlee Miller says …

Super clean bowl, preferable coppe,.room-temperature egg whites, super-fine sugar, cream of tartar.

Fiorella says …

So far so good....now what? What do I do with them?

marc yablon says …

i have type2-diabetes would it be allright to use the baking bend of stevia to make meringues.

Janice Ford says …

looks yummy

Delia A Daza says …

TY! My mom used to make these and now I will make it too.

Francia says …

Why do egg whites that have been beaten to form stiff peaks sometimes separate? I have ended up at times with a bowl in which there is a layer of beaten egg whites on top of sort of an egg white soup. My guess is that I over beat them. Is that correct? Thank you.

babz says …

this is great, I do feel inspired by your helpful explanations

allan graupman says …

well, once the egg whites have peaked, you are ready to form the cookies you want to make. You want to place parchment paper down on a cookie sheet. Then depending how big you want the cookies to be, use two spoons to form them back and forth, and place them on the parchment. Bake at 250 degrees for 10 minutes, then check them for firmness. keep backing and checking until done. let them dry fully. place in air tight container, preferably glass. They will all be done in no time. By the way, a little cinamon or nutmeg using a shaker before or after baking is desireable. Be inventive. Do your own thing.

Melissa says …

Thank you for doing this tip on whipping egg whites. I have done it successfully, but not for years. I sure wish you posted the recipe for the treats you displayed with the tip!

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@DANETTE - We definitely have some vegan dessert options on our recipes page. You can go directly to the search at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/search/vegan%20dessert. Let us know which one is your favorite!

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