Daughter found a container of meringue cookies in a local store, and shared them with me, and I shared them with Nugget. We all love them. They are light and dry and crunchy and melt in your mouth. I pointed out that they are easy to make, so Nugget and I made them yesterday.
Not so easy when it's humid, I guess.
The recipe we found online said to bake them for 45 minutes at 250 degrees, then to let them sit in the oven for another hour, without opening the oven door. They should be dry throughout by then.
Well, an hour and 45 minutes later, they were firm and dry on the outsides, but like chewing gum inside. I heated the oven up again, turned it off, and gave them another 2 hours. Still chewy inside. I gave up, turned the oven off, and went to bed, leaving them in the warm oven. Seems like an old recipe I remember using a long time ago said to leave them overnight.
This morning they were no longer dry on the outside! Soft and sticky lumps of gum!
Heated the oven up again to 180, and gave them two hours this morning at 180. They are now almost right, so I stuck them in airtight containers.
I think it's the humidity, and my stupid oven. It's the one installed by the builder, the cheapest GE gas oven. When you use the oven, heat pours out of the vents located under the backsplash at the rear of the stovetop, baking and melting anything you were foolish enough to leave on top of the stove, and heating the kitchen in the summer. I don't know if all gas ovens work this way, or just cheap ones. Anyway, I suspect when you turn the active heat off, cool moist room air enters easily and quickly, defeating the drying part of the recipe.
I hate that stove, but it's not worth replacing it because I don't really use the oven part, except for the occasional cookies with Nugget, or chicken thighs. For myself, my meager meals come out of the microwave or off the stovetop. I've never even used the broiler (which news horrified Daughter).
I loved the stove at the country house. It's a top-of-the-line fancy pro brand I can't remember right now, electric, self-cleaning, with burners you can swap out for a griddle, and a grill, and some other stuff I didn't even know how to use (but Jay did) for fish and other special uses. That stove is now at least 30 years old, one burner no longer works, and some of the small knobs for things like clock and timer setting etc. disappeared (stolen by cats, I think), but I still like it. The only thing I didn't like is that it's stainless steel, and I hate stainless steel. It stains, discolors, scratches, and is impossible to keep clean. The "stainless" part is pure advertising hype. Give me porcelain every time.