Position two racks in the oven, one in the middle, and one in the bottom, and preheat it to 175°F (80°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large mixing bowl if you're using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Leave to rest while you prepare the maple syrup.
In a saucepan, bring the maple syrup to a boil and cook until a candy thermometer indicates 250°F (120°C), about 10 minutes. The maple syrup will be dark, thick, and very aromatic at this point. Remove from the heat.
Return the mixer to a medium-low speed to stir the egg whites constantly, then slowly start pouring the maple syrup in a very thin stream along the side of the bowl, making sure the syrup never touches the whisk (this would create sugar crystals in the meringue). Once the syrup is fully incorporated, increase the speed and beat the meringue until glossy, stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.
With a pastry bag fitted with a large, plain round tip, shape the mini-meringues on the lined baking sheets: Hold the tip close to the baking sheet, press down on the bag to create an inch-wide (2.5-cm-wide) base, then lift up a little, pressing more lightly, then stop and lift swiftly. This should create the classic “kisses” shape.
Keep on piping the meringues, setting them about 1 inch (2-cm) apart (they will not expand). If desired, sprinkle each meringue with some coarse maple sugar.
Place both baking sheets in the oven and let the meringues dry slowly for about 3 hours, switching the sheets halfway through. Depending on your oven and the temperature (whether it’s humid in your kitchen or not), it may take longer to dry the meringues. To check for doneness, try to lift a meringue from a baking sheet. If it comes off easily, it’s done. If it sticks, even a little, let them dry more. Once the meringues are done, turn the oven off, and leave the meringues in the oven for 1 more hour.
Remove the meringues from the oven and leave to cool completely to room temperature, about 1 hour.
STORAGE: The meringues will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.
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