Recipe by Elizebett Rocha Bento Eslinger
My mom grew up on Terceira Island without electricity. So, whenever egg whites needed to be transformed to stiff peaks, she used a wooden spoon to beat the egg whites by hand (!!!).
When I was a kid, my mom didn’t care much for baking. But, she would make suspiros from scratch for my siblings and me (by this point, she was living in the U.S. and used an electric hand mixer, not a wooden spoon!). It was always such a treat, especially on holidays.
In Portuguese, suspiros translates to mean “sighs,” a fitting name for these light and sweet meringue cookies. This recipe makes about 36 cookies, depending on how large you make them.
- 125 g (about 4 large) egg whites
- 200 g (~1 cup) fine granulated sugar
- ⅛ tsp cream of tartar
- 1 pinch of salt
- ¼ tsp almond extract
- ¾ tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Add egg white, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir until blended and set aside for 10 minutes.
- Using the whisk attachment, beat the egg white mixture on high speed until glossy and stiff peaks form, about 5-10 minutes.
- Add almond and vanilla extracts. Beat for about 30-60 seconds until blended.
- Prepare a piping bag or a gallon-size freezer bag. If you like, you can attach a decorative tip to the piping bag to add visual interest to the suspiros. If you don’t have a piping bag, you can also spoon the mixture directly onto the baking sheets.
- Spoon meringue mixture into a piping bag. In a circular motion, pipe the mixture onto the baking sheets. Build as high as you like; I generally pipe heaping tablespoon-sized suspiros.
- Bake for 60 minutes. Without opening the oven door, turn off the oven and allow the meringues to continue to cook and gradually cool for 60 minutes. Prop the door open with a wooden spoon and allow the meringues to continue cooling for another 60 minutes.
- Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature. Serve.
Store suspiros in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Keep out of humid spaces.
Suspiros also make an appearance in my book, Contar Numa Cozinha Portuguesa / Counting in a Portuguese Kitchen. Learn more here.
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