Notes on working with egg whites. Eggs are easiest to separate when they are cold, and they fluff up the best in the oven when they start at room temperature. So separate the eggs when you take them out of the fridge, then let the whites sit for a while (30 min or so) to take the chill off before beating them.
Make sure that all bowls, hands, and utensils that might touch the eggs are clean and free from oils.
- 1 cup whole pecans (preferably lightly roasted - 8-10 min at 250°F)
- 3 egg whites
- Pinch salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
1 Preheat oven to 300°F.
2 Break pecans into small pieces: Place pecans in zipper baggie and beat them with a wooden spoon or roll over them with a rolling pin to break them into small pieces. Set aside.
3 Add salt to egg whites and beat to soft peaks: Put egg whites into a spotlessly clean standup mixer bowl. Add salt. Bea on medium speed until soft peaks start to become visible and the egg white bubbles are very small and uniform, about 2 to 3 minutes.
4 While continuing to beat the egg whites, slowly add sugar, then vinegar, and beat to stiff peaks: Increase the speed to medium-high, and slowly add the sugar, a couple tablespoons at a time, to the egg whites. Continue to whip the eggs and sugar for a few minutes.
Then add the vinegar to the bowl. Increase speed to high and whip the egg whites until they fluff up and become glossy, and stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 4-5 minutes.
5 Fold in pecan pieces: Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the pecan pieces.
6 Drop by teaspoons onto a cookie sheets that have been lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
7 Bake: Put the cookies sheet in the 300°F oven, close the door and lower the heat to 250°F. Bake them for 25 minutes at 250°F, then turn the oven OFF. Leave them in the oven for 2 to 3 hours or overnight. When they are ready they'll be crisp on the outside, and light and airy on the inside.
If they are a little marshmallowy or chewy on the inside, just let them dry out for a few more hours.