Costa Rican Suspiros Cookies (Espumilla)

Suspiros costa rican cookies with traditional costa rican ox cart in the background

free ebook popular costa rican recipes
Costa Rican suspiros are meringue cookies made from just three ingredients- egg whites, granulated sugar and just a touch of lime juice. The perfect cross between a cookie recipe and a candy recipe- and so easy!

bowl of small white meringue cookies

About This Recipe

Costa Rican suspiros are little delicate meringue cookies popular year-round but especially at Christmas and Easter. With just three ingredients, they are easy to make with what you have on hand, and they are super delicious.

Suspiro means “sigh” in Spanish, and I think it’s the perfect word for these little cookies. Really, they are as much a candy as a cookie, since they are super sweet like candy, but baked like cookies.

These cookies are also known as espumilla in Costa Rica- which translates to “little foam”. I think the name comes from the foamy texture of the egg whites when you beat them up to stiff peaks.

The cookies then condense when baking to form a hard shell on the outside and a foamy interior that is delicious. And addicting. You really can’t eat just one. (Well maybe you can, but I can’t.) The lower and longer you cook the merengues, the foamier they are on the inside. 

Suspiros are found at almost every Costa Rican bakery year-round- not many people even make them at home anymore. But I can’t find them here in the States. I can find meringue cookies, but they don’t have that distinctly Costa Rican flavor that comes from the lime juice. 

Meringue is actually a popular cookie all over the world- I saw marbled pink and brown meringues the size of my head in Finland– and teeny tiny neon colored ones in Mexico City. Even my grandma used to make them at Christmas- and she’s French.

Related article: Costa Rican Tres Leches Recipe

Costa Rican Suspiros Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar (16 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice

Kitchen Tools:

  • 1-2 baking sheets with parchment paper, or lightly greased
  • electric mixer
  • piping bag (like for frosting)
  • large star tip for piping bag

Instructions:

Using your electric mixer, beat the egg whites on medium speed in the mixing bowl until soft peaks form. Slowly add the sugar, 1-2 tablespoons at a time, until thoroughly mixed. Add the lime juice and beat thoroughly. (You really can’t overmix this, but you can undermix, making the meringues deflate in the oven).

Fill your piping bag with the meringue and pipe out little flower or rosette shapes onto your baking sheet, about two inches apart. Many Costa Rican recipes call for the meringue just to be spooned out into drops on the baking sheet, which is also more than fine.

Bake the meringues for 1 1/2 to 2 hours at 175 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn off the oven, then open the oven to let out excess heat. Allow the suspiros to cool completely in the oven for another 2-3 hours before carefully removing the meringue from the baking sheet and serving.

Substitutions

The recipes in the Costa Rican recipe books call for granulated sugar, but many meringue recipes use powdered sugar (or caster sugar as some call it) because it is a more traditional meringue ingredient.

You can substitute lemon juice for the lime juice.

Variations

You can add all kinds of different colors to the meringue- just play with fun food colorings. Costa Rican bakers say that the lime is to make the suspiros whiter in color, so it can be omitted when using food coloring. I disagree, however, I think the lime flavor is super distinct to Costa Rican suspiros so I always leave it in.

The other variation is to make flavored espumillas. You can add essences like almond extract or vanilla extract, or play with fun flavors like raspberry, lemon, anise, cherry, strawberry and more. 

Serving Suggestions

I wouldn’t say that there is an exact serving suggestion for these, but they would generally be served at coffee hour or as dessert- most likely after lunch rather than in the evening. 

Sometimes the cookies are sold on the street or at festivals, and ticos will buy a container of cookies and share them with the people they are with.

FAQ

Can I make these ahead? – Nope. The eggs lose their fluff and the entire recipe goes flat.

How do I store Costa Rican suspiros cookies? – I store them in an airtight container at room temperature. They are usually sold in Costa Rica on the shelf in bakeries in clear plastic containers.

Can I double this recipe? – Yes! But not triple.  

Our most popular Costa Rican recipes

Printable Recipe

Yield: 50 cookies

Costa Rican Suspiros Cookies

Bowl of small white meringue cookies.

Costa Rican suspiros are meringue cookies made from just three ingredients- egg whites, granulated sugar and just a touch of lime juice. The perfect cross between a cookie recipe and a candy recipe- and so easy!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar (16 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1-2 baking sheets with parchment paper, or lightly greased
  • electric mixer
  • piping bag (like for frosting)
  • large star tip for piping bag

Instructions

    1. Using your electric mixer, beat the egg whites on medium speed in the mixing bowl until soft peaks form.
    2. Slowly add the sugar, 1-2 tablespoons at a time, until thoroughly mixed. Add the lime juice and beat thoroughly.
    3. (You really can't overmix this, but you can undermix, making the meringues deflate in the oven).
    4. Fill your piping bag with the meringue and pipe out little flower or rosette shapes onto your baking sheet, about two inches apart. Many Costa Rican recipes call for the meringue just to be spooned out into drops on the baking sheet, which is also more than fine.
    5. Bake the meringues for 1 1/2 to 2 hours at 175 degrees Fahrenheit.
    6. Turn off the oven, then open the oven to let out excess heat.
    7. Allow the suspiros to cool completely in the oven for another 2-3 hours before carefully removing the meringue from the baking sheet and serving.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

50

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 17Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 3mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 0gSugar: 4gProtein: 0g

Please double-check this information with your favorite nutrition calculator.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Claudia Lamascolo
    March 29, 2020 at 7:59 am

    wow I love this little treat with hardly any ingredients and they are so easy to make yours are perfect! I just used a teaspoon worked great!