Out Of Piping Bags? You Can Still Make Meringue Cookies

If you're a frequent home baker, chances are you keep piping bags in your pantry. These perfect-for-dessert bags make it all the easier to neatly control the shape and appearance of your baked good in question, whether you're piping precise frosting, filling pastries, or forming perfectly shaped meringues. In the case of meringue cookies — which consist of egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and vanilla — piping bags are certainly helpful ... though they're not essential. In fact, if you've run out of piping bags, you don't have to save your cookie recipe for another day. Rather, you can employ any number of other vehicles for your meringue batter.

Specifically, cookie scoops and spoons work perfectly well as piping bag alternatives. Cookie scoops, as the name clearly suggests, act as an aid across cookie recipes, so they're a no-brainer for meringues. However, meringues are defined by their delicate, swirled texture, so using a cookie scoop may result in a slightly more unkempt appearance than if you'd used a piping bag. The same goes for a spoon. The taste, of course, won't change, and as long as you're not a perfectionist, these alternatives are good to go.

Of course, if you want your meringues to maintain their signature appearance, there's yet one more strategy to consider. Enter, the do-it-yourself piping bag, which is as straightforward as it sounds.

Make your own piping bags out of plastic Ziploc bags

No piping bag? No problem. If you're set on piping your meringue cookies — and neither a cookie scoop nor a spoon will do — you can make your piping tool with a plastic bag from your pantry. 

To design your makeshift pastry bag, open a Ziploc bag. A gallon-size bag should do the job, depending on how many cookies you're making. Generally, you'll want to steer clear of smaller sandwich bags, which may be too small for your meringue batter and are therefore bound to result in a mess. Once you've obtained your bag, simply scoop your batter inside, and, after squeezing out any remaining air, zip or snap the bag shut.

From there, use your hands to move your mixture as far down as you can. Finally, snip a hole in the corner of the bag, and get ready to pipe. While the gallon-sized bag may be less glamorous than a more formal piping tool, it gets the job done in a pinch. Of course, there are all kinds of uses for pastry bags, so it's not a bad idea to pick more up once you've run out — especially if you're a frequent baker. In addition to meringues, both macarons and ravioli fillings can benefit from the help of a piping bag  ... or, if that's not available, a Ziploc one.