The holidays mean family, friends, love, peace, joy and cookies! Cookies in all shapes, sizes, colors, flavors and origins. These easy peppermint meringues are some of my favorites this time of year and they look and taste like the holidays. While some consider meringues to be a bit finicky, just follow these simple steps and I promise they will be perfection!
4 egg whites, at room temperature
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
Red food coloring (optional)
How to use them:
Preheat the oven to 200ºF. Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper, I prefer the all natural, unbleached variety. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites on medium low speed to “warm” them up. Once a little frothy, approximately 2 minutes, add in the cream of tartar and salt.Turn up the speed to medium high and whisk until soft peaks form, approximately 2 minutes.Then turn the speed down to medium low and gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time.Once all of the sugar is incorporated, whisk on medium high speed until stiff peaks form and all of the sugar has dissolved. One technique to test this is by rubbing a bit of the meringue between your fingers and if it feels gritty, it means that the sugar has not dissolved completely and you will need to keep whisking. This process usually takes about 5 minutes. After 2 minutes the meringue will begin to take shape and you can see a trail that the whisk leaves behind.It will also begin to turn glossy and shiny. At the end of the 5 minutes it will transform into a stiff, perfect meringue and ready to pipe.At this stage, you add in the peppermint extract and whisk on medium high just until it has been incorporated.
Scoop the meringue into a pipping bag or a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag with a large star tip. Setting the piping bag in a cup and rolling the top 1/4 edge down the side of the cup allows for a mess free and easy filling process. Pipe the meringue into star shapes. If you would like the red peppermint stripes, then you simply use a thin food safe brush to brush 3 straight lines in the inside of the pipping bag prior to filling the bag.Then carefully fill the bag with the peppermint meringue.Begin pipping small stars by apply soft pressure and quickly lifting the pastry bag up. You are now ready to bake your stunning creations. Bake at 200° for 1½ hours or until firm and lifts off the parchment paper very easily. Turn off the oven and crack the oven door, allowing the meringues to cool completely in the oven. The meringue cookies may be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.These are stunning as decorations on a gingerbread house or packed up in pretty little jars for family and friends!