Editor’s note: For 12 days leading up to Christmas, St. George News is featuring staff members’ favorite holiday recipes. Here’s the latest installment.

ST. GEORGE — Get out of your head and into the clouds with these heavenly meringue cookies.

Clouds wait to be eaten, Cedar City, Utah, Dec. 20, 2023 | Photo by Alysha Lundgren, St. George News

I’ve been making meringue cookies, or “clouds,” with my mom and aunts for as long as I can remember. This recipe was eagerly shared across town by the women in the community I grew up in — Caliente, Nevada, just west of Cedar City. But I’ve tweaked it to my liking, and you can too!

These simple cookies are delicious and super versatile, working well with various flavors, including nuts and chocolate — a must-have holiday treat. My family would pile them onto paper plates with chocolates, slices of bread, brownies and other goodies to deliver Christmas cheer to neighbors, friends and family.

If you’re like me and need ideas for what to do with the extra yolks, keep reading to the end for a bonus recipe.



This recipe makes 4-5 dozen cookies, depending on how big you make them.
6 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups crushed pecans (Optional)
Or 3.5 cups chocolate chips and 4 tablespoons cocoa powder (Optional)


Soft peaks form, Cedar City, Utah, Dec. 20, 2023 | Photo by Alysha Lundgren, St. George News

Baker, beware: If it’s about to storm or humidity is high, you could face some challenges when making clouds, as the excess moisture can make them too soft.

Baking on a dry, cool day is preferred.

Preheat your oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit, and place parchment paper on your cookie sheet.

In a large bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form — when they’re just beginning to hold their shape. Gradually add vanilla and sugar and beat on high until stiff peaks form and the sugar completely dissolves. Stiff peaks will hold their shape upright, and the mixture will be smooth and glossy.

Stiff peaks form in meringue mix, Cedar City, Utah, Dec. 20, 2023 | Photo by Alysha Lundgren, St. George News

If using add-ins, gently fold them into your meringue until fully mixed. I love to use about two cups of crushed pecans, but feel free to experiment to find the combination you prefer. It’s also fun to play with food coloring for some festive flare!

Drop heaping tablespoons of meringue onto your prepared cookie sheet, or use a piping bag and tip to create your preferred shape. Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until dry. Remove them from the tray and let them cool on a wire rack.

Store in a cool, dry place, and not in the fridge to prevent them from becoming soggy. Some people place their cookies in the oven overnight to ensure the correct melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Bonus recipe

Now, what do we do with the leftover egg yolks? Make brownies, of course! This recipe makes one 9-by-13-inch pan of brownies:


The brownie batter is ready to cook, Cedar City, Utah, Dec. 20, 2023 | Photo by Alysha Lundgren, St. George News

3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup hot water
2/3 cup powdered cocoa
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 egg yolks
4 1/2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon espresso to enhance the chocolaty flavor (optional)


Clouds and brownies wait to be eaten, Cedar City, Utah, Dec. 20, 2023 | Photo by Alysha Lundgren, St. George News

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a new bowl, mix sugar and flour and set it aside. Reusing the clouds bowl, add the hot water and cocoa together, blending until smooth.

Then, add the remaining ingredients to the cocoa and beat until it is well-mixed. Slowly mix in the flour and sugar.

Once the ingredients are fully combined, pour the batter into a greased 9-by-13-inch pan and bake it for about 30 minutes or until a knife stuck into the middle comes out clean. Cool before eating.

Now, spread some holiday cheer or cozy up at home with a cool glass of milk. Enjoy!

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