Preheat oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the lower third. Sift together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt into a medium bowl, and set aside.
In a mixer fitted with the whisk, beat egg whites on medium-low until foamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla and cream of tartar until combined. Raise speed to medium-high, and beat until medium-stiff peaks form. Add remaining 1 cup sugar in a slow, steady stream, and continue beating until stiff (but not dry) peaks form.
Sift 1/3 of reserved flour mixture over egg whites, and gently fold in with a rubber spatula until combined. Repeat twice with remaining flour mixture.
Gently spoon batter into a large pastry bag without a coupler or tip. Pipe about 1 cup batter into each of 12 individual nonstick angel food cake molds.
Bake, rotating molds halfway through, until tops of cakes are just golden brown and springy to the touch, about 15 minutes.
Transfer angel food cake molds to a wire rack, and let cool completely, about 30 minutes. To unmold the cakes, invert molds and sharply rap them on a towel placed on a hard surface; carefully shake cakes out of molds onto work surface.
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