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Are you ready for Day Two of Cookie Week? (If you missed it, I’m sharing a low carb cookie recipe every day this week. Did you see yesterday’s chocolate peanut butter no bake cookies?) Today’s recipe is one of my husband’s favorites: low carb sugar-free lemon meringue cookies!
Low Carb Sugar-Free Meringue Cookies
Vanilla meringue cookies have always been a favorite at our house. So sweet, so crunchy, and still light at the same time! We used to purchase them online or from Trader Joe’s.
We don’t buy store bought French meringues anymore, though. Despite being light on calories and low fat (if you care – I don’t!), they are still packed with sugar. Besides, it’s super easy to make your own homemade sugar-free meringue cookies!
For this recipe, I simply used my favorite powdered sugar-free sweetener instead of sugar. It’s important for it to be powdered, otherwise, the end result will be gritty. It may work to just powder a different sweetener in a food processor, as long as you can get it to a very fine consistency.
In comparison to a regular sugar-filled version, the end result is only slightly different with sugar-free meringue cookies. They are almost indistinguishable. In fact, my husband asked me why I made cookies with sugar in them!
The only difference you may notice is that it’s a little more difficult for the beaten egg whites to hold their stiff peaks. Basically, that means you get less definition in your meringue design when piping. I don’t know about you, but I’ll gladly deal with that so that I can have low carb meringue cookies.
Vanilla vs Lemon Meringue Cookies
I went back and forth on what flavor to make these easy meringue cookies. At first, raspberry and a few others were up for consideration. But, those would require using an extract to make the flavor concentrated enough. I wanted something that could be made with more common ingredients that people have at home.
In the end, it was between vanilla and lemon meringue cookies. Both flavors sounded delicious, and wouldn’t require an extra trip to the store, as long as you have sugar-free sweetener.
I decided on lemon since it’s more unique and interesting. It was easy to add the lemon flavor in a natural way by using lemon juice and lemon zest. Most of the flavor actually comes from the zest.
If you prefer vanilla, you can modify the recipe to make vanilla meringue cookies instead. Simply skip the lemon zest and fold in about 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.
You’ll want to keep the lemon juice as a stabilizer, or you can use cream of tartar instead. Either way, they will not taste lemony without the zest in there.
Let me know if you make one version or the other. Which kind do you think is the best meringue cookie recipe?
How To Make Meringue Cookies without Cream of Tartar
I usually have cream of tartar on hand, since it makes beating egg whites so much faster. It acts as a stabilizer.
That being said, I like making recipes that require as few special ingredients as possible. I know some people might not have it around. That’s why I wanted to show you how to make meringue cookies without cream of tartar.
Yes, it’s true. When you make lemon meringue cookies, you don’t even need the cream of tartar! The lemon juice is acidic, just like cream of tartar. It works the same way when beating the egg whites for this recipe. You only need a small amount, to avoid a watery result and ensure that you can get stiff peaks.
The process for making sugar-free meringue cookies is the same as regular ones. You just need 4 ingredients. The only difference here is the way we use lemon juice instead of cream of tartar, and the sweetener is sugar-free.
To make the cookies, simply beat the egg whites at medium speed until they start to get frothy. Add the lemon juice, which will act as a stabilizer. Increase the speed and continue to beat to stiff peaks. Gradually beat in the powdered sweetener, fold in the lemon zest, and pipe the cookies onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
The hardest part of the whole process is the waiting! You have to bake the sugar-free meringue cookies for 1-2 hours. It takes a long time because the oven temperature has to be low to avoid burning. Afterward, the cookies need to dry some more with the oven off.
The time can vary a lot depending on the size that you pipe your meringues. Smaller ones will be ready more quickly. I’ve even done tiny ones before that were ready in around 45 minutes.
You’ll know they are done when they are firm on top and release easily from the parchment paper. (They will not be crisp at this point, however.)
Check on them occasionally, because they can go from done to browned relatively quickly.
Once the baking part is done, prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon and leave the meringue cookies in there for at least another hour. (It’s fine to leave them for a day or overnight if you have other things to do.)
How To Store Meringue Cookies
If you are wondering how to store sugar-free meringue cookies, there isn’t much to it. Simply place them in an airtight container and keep them in the pantry or cupboard. Room temperature works best for them.
The only caveat is that the cookies can soften by absorbing water vapor from the air. You want to keep them away from heat and moisture.
If they get soft on you anyway, you can crisp them up again. Just place them in the oven at 200 degrees for 10 minutes. Viola!
Easy Sugar-Free Lemon Meringue Cookies Recipe - 4 Ingredients
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Easy Sugar-Free Lemon Meringue Cookies Recipe - 4 Ingredients
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F (93 degrees C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the egg whites into a large bowl. Beat using a hand mixer at medium speed, until the whites get opaque and frothy.
Add the lemon juice. Increase speed to high. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
Gradually add the powdered sweetener, a tablespoon at a time, beating more as you go.
Gently fold in the lemon zest.
Carefully transfer the mixture into a piping bag. Pipe cookies onto the lined baking sheet, about a teaspoon each, spaced about an inch apart.
Bake for 1-2 hours. (Time will vary depending on the size and thickness of your meringues.) The meringues are done when they are firm and release easily from the parchment paper, but before they turn brown. When they are done, turn off the oven and prop the door open with a wooden spoon. Leave the meringues in the oven this way for at least an hour, until dry and crisp.
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Serving size: 2 cookies
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