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I make spaghetti carbonara sometimes, so I make meringues sometimes to use up the egg whites. They always turn out as depicted, with a thin flaky crust on the outside over a big void full of air, with a delightful chewy solid part at the bottom. They taste great but they’re messy to eat.

Merengues which have a flaky crust on the outside and a void in the middle

I follow what is (so far as I can tell) the standard method: beat the room-temperature whites with an electric beater; first slowly, then gradually increasing the power until the whites are peaking. Then add the sugar (twice the weight of the eggs) until it’s nice and stiff, without overdoing it. Portion out onto baking paper and then 10-15 minutes or so in an oven preheated to 150ºC, then turn the oven off but leave it closed until the next morning.

What do I do so they’re solid all the way through?

(For bonus points, can I use 2:1 simple syrup instead of granulated sugar, and in what proportion? Caster sugar is unobtanium here in Germany for some reason and normal granulated sugar doesn’t quite dissolve properly…)

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    I don't know exactly what result you are looking for, but the recipe I have for merengue cookies starts with a 225°F (105°C) oven (it also directs me to turn the oven off almost immediately). Given the dark color of your merengues, I wonder if you are starting your oven off too hot. Oct 21, 2023 at 16:17
  • If you have a good process or blender, you can try grinding the granulated sugar into smaller crystals
    – Joe
    Oct 21, 2023 at 17:19
  • @XanderHenderson I want them to be solid and the same density all the way through, like the ones you get from a bakery. Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion says 150ºC for 45 mins, then open the oven a crack so I don’t know what to think. Oct 22, 2023 at 16:58
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    @RobertAtkins : with a regular food processor you need to ‘pulse’ it so it doesn’t just start flowing around the blades. Blenders have non-circular sides to disrupt flow but you might still need to pulse it on/off. Spice grinders (for small amounts) you can shake as you grind. I have no idea if there are tricks for stick blenders, other than maybe sift occasionally and re-grind the large bits
    – Joe
    Oct 22, 2023 at 17:05
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    “Cookies” though? What else is in there aside from egg whites and sugar? Oct 22, 2023 at 18:35

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So, you have the observed situation that if you follow the method you always use, they always turn out this way.

As others have already commented, your way is much hotter than the method I use to get "more solid all the way through" results, so rather than holding up the book you read it in and continuing to do it that way while expecting different results, try turning the heat down. Whether the issue is your oven, Stephanie Alexander's oven, or the old "cookbook editor proofreading error" it's not working as described for you, so you need to change, and temperature is an easy change. Whip up a small batch and stick tem in the oven at 85°C for an hour or two until crisp, and see what you get. It's been a while since I made a batch but that's my current method, as far as I recall (don't seem to have it written down, not following any particular person's recipe at this point, after a variety of horrible results when I started doing meringue decades ago that appeared to be cookbook proofreading errors.)

A more difficult change which might address both your sugar supply and your solid meringue result would be to use an "Italian" meringue technique, (so, cooked sugar syrup, not anything quite so simple as simple syrup without bothering to cook to high temperature/soft ball stage) - it's not what I do, but it is a way to use syrup and it supposedly makes a very stable meringue, so it might be what bakeries do as well before baking theirs. Seems to involve whipping the whites just to foamy, then whipping to stiff while slowly adding the hot (boiled to 113°C) syrup.

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