Baking911 website on beating egg whites. If you don't have the patience to read through these, I'll give you the few vital basics: when separating the egg whites, don't allow even the teeniest bit of yolk into the mixture. The fat from the yolk will contaminate and impede the fluffing. Further, the egg whites should be at room temperature when beating. And third, start slowly and work your way up in speed. You don't want your arm to fall off, but slowing down after reaching soft peaks may ruin the loft. Save your arm speed for the end and give it a good burst of energy.
Meringues are a tricky thing, and a common tried and true recipe is elusive. For whatever reason, no two recipes are alike. I made these by whisking 4 egg whites with half a cup of plain granulated sugar, a tablespoon of vanilla sugar, and a teaspoon of lemon juice, until stiff peaks were formed.
The trouble is, according the recipe I followed, baking at a low temperature for about an hour, the meringues come out with a grainy texture. Let's just say, that in my opinion, a higher temperature and less time in the oven would have been more desirable. Say, next time, I may try a similar recipe, but leave it in the oven at 180 for 45 minutes. I'll let you know how that works out.
Next time I might be bolder and try macaroons, baked alaska, or chocolate covered meringues. David Lebovitz even made an icecream volcano!