from The Local Palate Test Kitchen, Charleston, SC
2 egg whites
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
¾ cup superfine graunulated sugar, divided
¼ bittersweet chocolate, melted (optional)
Disposable pastry bag with star tip
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Beat egg whites with vanilla and a pinch each of cream of tartar and salt with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until it just holds soft peaks. Add 2 tablespoons superfine sugar, a little at a time, beating. Then increase speed to high and beat until meringue holds stiff, glossy peaks. Fold in 2 tablespoons superfine sugar gently but thoroughly.
Transfer meringue to a pastry bag fitted with tip. Place a dab of meringue mixture from bowl under corners of parchment paper to make it stick to the pan. Pipe 1-inch-wide stars onto paper about 1 inch apart. Bake until firm, about one to two hours. Remove and let cool on paper.
Optional – Dip cooled cookies into melted chocolate. Let cool until chocolate is firm.