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Pecan Meringue Cookies

This is a simple 5-ingredient recipe for vanilla pecan meringue cookies filled with chopped pecans. They are sometimes called Nighty-Night Cookies because they can finish overnight in the oven. 

German Bakery’s Pecan Meringue Cookies

This Pecan Meringue Cookie recipe is my rendition of a bakery cookie I had in Texas. We were visiting Fredricksburg on a scorching summer afternoon when we ducked into a bakery to escape the heat for a few minutes. Fredericksburg is located in the Texas Hill Country and was founded by German immigrants in 1846. It has lots of authentic German food, including delicious German bakeries. The bakery we visited, located on Main Street, was called Old German Bakery & Restaurant. We entered hoping for cold water but came out with meringue cookies loaded with chopped pecans. They were so delicious that I worked on a recipe to create a similar flavor and texture.

Pecan Meringue Cookies Made with Egg Whites

Meringue cookies are mainly egg whites with sugar. You can add flavorings and other add-ins, such as pecans. It is important not to let egg yolk get into the egg whites when you separate the two, or the whites might not whip as well. Add a little cream of tartar before starting to help stabilize the egg whites so they will whip up tall and glossy.

The first step is to beat the egg whites until they form soft, foamy peaks. Then add the sugar a little at a time, and continue beating the eggs. When the egg whites are ready, remove the beater and turn it upside down. If the meringue peak on the tip of the beater keeps its shape without bending over, the meringue is ready.

Fold in the Pecans

Add the pecans to the meringue and then fold them in gently to keep the meringue intact. Never whisk in the pecans, or the meringue could deflate.

Use a Silicone Mat or Parchment Paper

Use parchment paper or a silicone baking mat for these cookies to prevent them from sticking to the pan. Both methods work equally well. Use two spoons to place the meringue onto the pan, or pipe these cookies with a piping bag without a tip. Meringue cookies spread very little when they cook, so you can place them fairly close together.

Pecan Meringue Cookies

Baking Pecan Meringue Cookies

Place the cookies into a preheated oven and bake at 300 degrees F (149 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and let them sit for at least two hours or overnight. They should be crunchy through to the middle of the cookies. This recipe makes approximately 46 cookies that are 2 inches in diameter.

Pecan Meringue Cookies

Cookies Known by Other Names

These Pecan Meringue Cookies are also known as Nighty-Night Cookies (or Nitey Night) and Forgotten Cookies. Both cookie names refer to leaving the cookies to harden in the oven overnight. It is a fun cookie-making activity for small children because they enjoy checking the cookies the next day. It also gives the cookies a chance to fully dry out and become crunchy throughout. Enjoy!

Pecan Meringue Cookies

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Pecan Meringue Cookies
Print Recipe
Pecan Meringue Cookies
Five-ingredient cookies made from egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, salt, and pecans.
Votes: 5
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
Ingredients
Cookies
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
Ingredients
Cookies
Votes: 5
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar by tablespoons and continue beating until stiff peaks form (about 6 minutes).
  3. Fold in the pecans until they are distributed throughout the egg white mixture.
  4. Place the silicone mats (or parchment paper) onto the baking sheets. Drop the batter by rounded teaspoons onto the baking mats, spacing the cookies 1-inch apart.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the cookies in the oven for 2 hours (or overnight) to harden.
Recipe Notes

Toasting Nuts

You can toast pecans by placing them into a nonstick pan and heating them on medium-low heat for a few minutes. Stir constantly to keep them from burning. Remove them from the heat as soon as they become fragrant and brown lightly. Nuts can burn quickly, so be sure not to cook them too long.

Soft Peaks versus Hard Peaks

When the egg whites are whipped into soft peaks, they appear foamy and will droop. When they are beaten into stiff peaks, they appear white and glossy. You can perform a test to see if they are ready by removing the beater and leaving the meringue attached to it. Turn the beater to point the meringue peak to the ceiling. If it is at the stiff peak stage, it will stand stiffly and not droop. Be careful not to overbeat the egg whites, or they will collapse and not be usable. It is best to beat them for a few minutes. When they become glossy, perform the stiff peaks test. If the egg whites droop, beat them a little longer and test them again.

Egg White Tips

The egg whites cannot have any yolk mixed in, or they might not beat properly. Be careful when separating the yolks from the whites. The yolks are less likely to break if they are cold, so separate them while they are chilled if you find the yolks break too easily at room temperature. Then leave them sitting out on the countertop to come to room temperature.

Clean Mixing Bowl

The mixing bowl and beater (or beaters) should be clean and dry before beating the egg whites.

Batter Spacing

Space the meringue batter about an inch apart on the baking sheet. This batter spreads very little when baking.

 Nighty-Night Cookies

Make the cookies in the evening and let them stay in the oven overnight. This is a fun cookie-making activity to do with children. 

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