Basic Meringues

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup superfine sugar
8 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract, or other flavoring

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or foil.

Mix the sugars and set aside.

In a bowl or electric mixer, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and salt. Continue to beat, adding 1 tablespoon of sugar at a time and beating well after each addition. This will take about 10 minutes.

Add the vanilla and beat at high speed until stiff and glossy.

Using a pastry tube, pipe coils about 4 inches in diameter on parchment paper.

Bake about 1 hour, until cream colored and firm. Leave the meringues in the turned-off oven for several hours or overnight without opening the oven door.

When ready to serve, carefully peel away the paper or foil.

Note: The meringues can be made up to 2 weeks ahead. Seal them in plastic bags and store in an airtight container.